Maksim Trankov, Tatyana Volozoshar
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Volosozhar, Trankov retire; both still involved in figure skating

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Sochi Olympic pairs champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov didn’t retire with any fanfare, but chose not to defend their gold medal in PyeongChang. Now, in a new interview with International Figure Skating, the Russian pair said they have “said goodbye to figure skating as competitors.”

They said they didn’t make it big news but it was “obvious to everyone.”

The two-time Sochi gold medalists are still heavily involved in the sport. Last year, they performed as the title characters in choreographer Ilya Averbukh’s “Romeo and Juliet” ice show. They published a book about their career, titled “Two Sides of One Medal,” which they hope inspires fans to take up sport.

Trankov worked as a figure skating commentator in PyeongChang while Volosozhar attended as a fan. But as his reputation grew, Trankov started to take professional classes at the Moscow School of Television and Radio to continue his broadcast career.

Trankov is coaching Russia’s fourth-place finishers in PyeongChang, Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. Once that announcement was made, he said he got calls from other teams, but declined. He wanted to focus on just one team. And when they’re done competing, Trankov said that will conclude his career as a coach.

“I thought after I won the Olympic title that I’ll never have to skate that much again and that would be great, but it turned out that I’m skating even more,” he said in the interview. “So, that’s my life now. I’m on the ice all the time and unfortunately, I almost don’t see my daughter. We miss each other and we see each other only in the morning or during a break. I’m trying to rush home to see her and to play with her.”

Volosozhar and Trankov’s daughter, Anjelika, was born in February 2017. The new parents say of course the toddler will learn to skate, but they have no wishes for her to become a top-level athlete – the Russian ladies’ field is notoriously tough – or even to take up pair skating.

“I never want my daughter to do pairs,” Volosozhar said. “Only if she says it’s working for me and if I see that she likes it, is suited for it and wants to do it, then I’ll help her. But basically, I want to shield her from pairs skating as much as I can because it is a sport with a high risk of injury.”

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MORE: Figure skating season TV schedule on NBC Sports 

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned 4 years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)