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Tokyo Olympics to have two cauldrons for Olympic Flame

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For a second straight Summer Olympics, there will be two cauldrons for the Olympic Flame.

The 2020 Tokyo Games will have the traditional cauldron inside the Olympic Stadium and a second in the Japanese capital’s bustling waterfront area, organizers confirmed Monday.

A second cauldron at the Ariake side of the Yume-no-Ohashi Bridge will be added to allow “the wider public to view it and experience the spirit and excitement of the Games.” The Flame will be displayed in one location at a time.

At the last Summer Games, a second cauldron was placed at Candelaria Church in downtown Rio. That decision was made in part because the stadium for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Maracanã, did not hold track and field events and thus would not be used for almost all of the Games. The cauldron lit inside the Maracanã was also not visible from outside the stadium.

The 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Vanderlei de Lima lit the Maracanã cauldron. A former homeless boy, 14-year-old Jorge Gomes, lit the outdoor cauldron, according to the CBC.

In 2010, the Vancouver Winter Games had two cauldrons — one inside in the indoor ceremonies venue (and thus not viewable from the outside) and one outside in the city of Vancouver for the public to view.

Wayne GretzkySteve Nash and Nancy Greene lit the indoor cauldron (joined by Catriona Le May Doan, whose part of the cauldron malfunctioned). Then Gretzky was driven by a police escort to light the outdoor cauldron.

The first Olympics with two cauldrons was Helsinki 1952, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon.

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MORE: IOC: Tokyo most prepared Olympics, but heat a growing concern

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)