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Stephanie Gilmore wins seventh surfing world title, ties record

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Australian Stephanie Gilmore tied the female record with her seventh surfing world title, mathematically clinching at the season-ending Maui Pro on Monday.

“Surfing means everything to me. It’s given me everything,” she said. “I’ll never forget being a young girl, surfing all day long. It’s all I could think about. It’s still my first love.”

Gilmore, 30, joined retired countrywoman Layne Beachley with seven championships. Only Kelly Slater, with 11, has more among men and women.

“She could easily win a dozen IMO and I hope she does,” was posted on Slater’s Instagram Story.

Gilmore clinched when American Lakey Peterson was eliminated on the first day of the Maui contest on Monday. Peterson needed to win Maui and have Gilmore fail to reach the semifinals for a chance at her first world title.

“So much for me to learn still,” the 24-year-old Peterson said. “Congrats to Stephanie. What a beautiful surfer. It’s so cool to have her kind of as inspiration, really. … There’s no one more deserving. It hurts, but it’s been a really fun year.”

Gilmore won four straight championships from 2007-10, then again in 2012 and 2014. She is an early medal favorite for the sport’s Olympic debut in 2020, along with countrywoman Tyler Wright (2016, 2017 World champ) and the two or three Americans who will qualify for Tokyo.

Hawaiian Carissa Moore is the lone U.S. woman to win a world title since Lisa Andersen won four straight from 1994-97. Australians Gilmore, Beachley and Wright combined for 16 of last 20 crowns.

MORE: Will Kelly Slater go for Tokyo 2020?

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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)