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Usain Bolt sets deadline on continuing soccer career

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Usain Bolt said he will decide by the end of November whether to sign with a new soccer team or end his pursuit of the sport altogether.

“I got a lot of offers from different clubs,” Bolt said in a video interview in London on Wednesday. “Now we’re just trying to figure out what. We’ll make a decision before the end of November if I’m going to go to another club, or if I’m just going to call that dream quits.”

Bolt refused to specify where the offers are from in an Associated Press interview.

The eight-time Olympic champion practiced with teams in five countries since retiring from track and field last year but hasn’t signed a professional contract. His latest and most prolonged training stint was with the Central Coast Mariners of Australia’s top league.

Bolt trained and played preseason exhibitions with the club on a tryout deal from August to October.

The Mariners announced on Nov. 2 that they would not sign Bolt after failed negotiations, unable to bridge the financial gap for a player they did “not have the luxury” to play in regular-season matches.

Bolt thanked the Mariners staff, players and fans in a statement.

“For making me feel so welcome during my time there. I wish the club success for the season ahead,” Bolt said two weeks ago.

Bolt said in the summer that he turned down offers from teams in France and Spain, but not in the top division. He preferred Australia, where he didn’t have to learn a language. His long-time dream has been to play for Manchester United.

“I’ve talked to [Premier League stars Paul] Pogba and all these guys, [Raheem] Sterling, all these guys, and they are happy to see that I’m trying, ‘Come on, you can do it,'” Bolt said in a recent Sky Sports interview. “This is not about all about the money. This is a dream, and I want to try and see how good I can be.”

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MORE: Matthew Centrowitz eyes American record after bounce-back years

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four 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)