Chinese swimmer Sun Yang’s doping case heads to court

Sun Yang
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) A doping case involving Chinese swimmer Sun Yang is going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and could lead to a ban from competition, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has appealed against a decision by swimming’s governing body to only give the three-time Olympic champion a warning in a case involving the destruction of a doping control sample, the court said Wednesday.

British newspaper the Sunday Times reported incidents involving Sun when a doping control official visited his home in China last September. A vial of Sun’s blood was reportedly smashed with a hammer, and his entourage disputed the official’s credentials.

CAS said it has not set a date for the hearing. It is unclear if the appeal case can be resolved before the swimming world championships in July in Gwangju, South Korea.

Citing the confidential legal process, WADA declined to say if it will seek a fast-track hearing. Sun’s legal team would also have to agree to speed up the process at CAS, which typically takes months to prepare cases.

The 27-year-old Sun served a three-month ban in 2014 for testing positive for a substance then classed as a stimulant. That case was conducted in relative secrecy in China.

Sun would face a more severe sanction for a second violation of doping rules.

The freestyle swimmer won gold at each of the past two Olympics, in the 400 and 1,500 meters at the 2012 London Games and in the 200 at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Sun also won multiple individual gold medals at each of the past four world championships, which were unaffected by his previous ban.

FINA, the governing body of swimming, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In January, FINA responded to the Sunday Times report by stating it was “not authorized to comment the case. Moreover, FINA will not consider further speculation and hearsay on this matter.”

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone appears in ‘This is SportsCenter’ commercial

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Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone appears in an ESPN “This is SportsCenter” commercial that was published Friday and debuts on the network on Saturday night, after she races for the first time this year at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on NBC.

In the commercial, ESPN (and former NBC Sports) anchor Hannah Storm asks McLaughlin-Levrone if she has a minute to catch up.

McLaughlin-Levrone replies by saying she has 51.46 seconds right after lunch, 51.41 seconds later in the afternoon or 50.68 seconds right now. The numbers represent the last three times that McLaughlin-Levrone clocked when breaking the 400m hurdles world record.

McLaughlin-Levrone is scheduled to race the 60m at the New Balance meet in Boston, which airs on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock from 4-6 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The commercial first airs during the North Carolina-Duke men’s basketball game that starts at 6:30 on ESPN.

In the last two years, McLaughlin-Levrone lowered the 400m hurdles world record four times, winning the Tokyo Olympics and last July’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon. She brought the record down from countrywoman Dalilah Muhammad‘s 52.16 from 2019 to 50.68 at July’s worlds.

The 23-year-old said after last season that she wants to expand by adding the flat 400m to the 400m hurdles, but she has not yet publicly committed to racing it at the next major outdoor meet, the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Eugene in July.

For the first time, McLaughlin-Levrone has a bye into the 400m hurdles at the world championships in August, meaning she does not have to race it at USATF Outdoors. That could make the flat 400m more appealing.

Past “This is SportsCenter” spots included Olympians Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Kerri Strug,

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Olympic flame to travel by sea for Paris 2024, welcomed by armada

Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024
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The Olympic flame will travel from Athens to Marseille by ship in spring 2024 to begin the France portion of the torch relay that ends in Paris on July 26, 2024.

The torch relay always begins in the ancient Olympic site of Olympia, Greece, where the sun’s rays light the flame. It will be passed by torch until it reaches Athens.

It will then cross the Mediterranean Sea aboard the Belem, a three-masted ship, “reminiscent of a true Homeric epic,” according to Paris 2024. It will arrive at the Old Port of Marseille, welcomed by an armada of boats.

Marseille is a former Greek colony and the oldest city in France. It will host sailing and some soccer matches during the Paris Olympics.

The full 2024 Olympic torch relay route will be unveiled in May.

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Paris 2024 Olympic Torch Relay Marseille
Paris 2024