MOSCOW (AP) — The head of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency has asked President Vladimir Putin for help in getting key doping data released to World Anti-Doping Agency inspectors.
WADA reinstated the suspended RUSADA in September on the condition Russian authorities hand over lab data, which could help confirm violations uncovered during an investigation that revealed a state-sponsored doping program designed to win medals at the 2014 Olympics and other major events.
WADA officials said this month they left Moscow empty-handed after Russian authorities prevented them from accessing data. Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, however, told local media the WADA team would return.
In an emotionally charged letter released on Thursday, RUSADA chief Yuri Ganus appealed to Putin to reverse the decision and allow the data to be given to WADA inspectors. Ganus warned that refusal to do so would hurt Russia’s efforts to clean up its sports from doping.
“We’re standing on the edge of the abyss, and I’m asking you to protect the present and the future of our clean sports, the current and future generations of athletes,” Ganus said in the letter.
Ganus did not name the specific officials who are standing in the way of the transfer of data but Russian authorities have unexpectedly demanded its equipment be certified under Russian law. WADA said it had not been aware of that demand. The deadline to turn over the data is Dec. 31.
Russian International Olympic Committee member Yelena Isinbayeva earlier on Thursday said the situation with the transfer of data is “close to critical” and called on the officials to comply with the WADA requirements.
Open-water swimmer Jordan Wilimovsky is the first male athlete on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.
Wilimovsky, who placed fourth and fifth in two distance events at the 2016 Rio Games, joined fellow open-water swimmers Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell in qualifying for Tokyo via the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Wilimovsky, 25, placed fifth in the 10km event on Tuesday. Anderson and Twichell were second and sixth in the women’s 10km on Sunday. Top-10 finishers at worlds qualified for Tokyo.
German Florian Wellbrock won by two tenths of a second over French Olympic bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier after 1 hour, 47 minutes in the water. Wilimovsky led with 600 meters left. Olympic 1500m freestyle champion Gregorio Paltrinieri also qualified for Tokyo in the open-water 10km by finishing sixth.
The other American, David Heron, was 25th, missing the Olympic team, but he can try again in the 1500m free in the pool at the Olympic trials next June.
Wilimovsky missed a medal in the Rio Olympic 1500m in the pool by 4.17 seconds, taking fourth. Three days later, he was fifth in the open-water 10km, 1.2 seconds out of bronze.
Wilimovsky, a Malibu native who redshirted at Northwestern to train for Rio, earned gold and silver in the 10km at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.
A U.S. man has never earned an Olympic open-water medal. The event debuted at Beijing 2008.
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Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety is scaling back his race schedule as he enters the final portion of his decorated Alpine skiing career.
Ligety, a 34-year-old who has endured many injuries since his last World Cup win in 2015, said he will race strictly giant slaloms this year. The World Cup season starts in late October.
“So it’ll be a little bit easier schedule on my body,” Ligety said in a KPCW radio interview in his native Park City, Utah. “I’ll be able to be home a little bit more as well, and then we see. I mean, I would like to keep going as long as I feel like I can win races and feel healthy. That’s really the biggest part, and nowadays I have a 2-year-old son, and there’s more factors than there was when I was 25 years old.”
Ligety, nicknamed “Mr. GS” for his giant slalom prowess, has a 2014 Olympic gold medal and three world titles in that event.
He also owns an Olympic combined title from 2006 and world titles in the super-G and combined from 2013, but he hasn’t won a race in one of those disciplines since January 2014. And since then, he has undergone back and knee surgeries and dealt with hip problems.
“There’s a lot of hard miles on my body up to this point, but I’m still enjoying it,” said Ligety, whose 321 World Cup starts are the most among active Olympic medalists now that Lindsey Vonn and Aksel Lund Svindal have retired. “Right now, I feel really healthy and trying to get to a point where I feel I can win races. That’s the goal right now.”
Ligety, a four-time Olympian, has not publicly committed to a 2022 Olympic run.
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