Sun Yang
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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang’s doping case heads to court

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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.”

Federica Brignone passes Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup overall lead

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Italian Federica Brignone passed an absent Mikaela Shiffrin for the World Cup overall standings lead by winning a combined in Switzerland on Sunday.

Brignone prevailed by .92 of a second adding times from super-G and slalom runs in Crans-Montana. Full results are here.

Brignone moved 73 points ahead of Shiffrin in the overall through 29 of 40 scheduled races. A race winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through the 30th-place finisher. The season runs through March 22.

Shiffrin, the three-time reigning World Cup overall champion, has not competed since the unexpected death of her father on Feb. 2. She has not announced if or when she will return this season.

Brignone, 29, is having a career season with five wins and 10 podiums across four disciplines.

Brignone’s best previous World Cup overall standings finish was fifth. She earned giant slalom medals at the 2018 Olympics (bronze) and 2011 World Championships (silver).

She could become Italy’s first female World Cup overall champion. The last Italian male winner was Alberto Tomba in 1995.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves to La Thuile, Italy, for a super-G and a combined next Saturday and Sunday.

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Jade Carey on brink of becoming first gymnast to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

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The U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials aren’t until late June, but Jade Carey is in position to qualify for the Tokyo Games in March.

Carey, seeking an individual Olympic gymnastics spot outside of the team competition, earned the maximum points in a World Cup series that is one path to Olympic qualification.

Carey has three wins each on floor exercise and vault with two World Cups left in March. Carey will mathematically clinch an Olympic spot if no other gymnasts earn maximum points on one of the apparatuses to force a tiebreaker.

A gymnast’s top three finishes across the eight-stop series count in Olympic qualifying. If Carey finishes atop the floor or vault standings, she goes to the Olympics.

Carey picked up those third wins on floor and vault at the sixth World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, this weekend.

So far, no other gymnast has two wins on floor. One other gymnast can get to the maximum points on vault with one win between the last two stops (and others with two).

The one downside to qualifying this route: Carey would not be able to compete in the team competition at the Olympics. Those four spots will be determined at and after June’s trials in St. Louis, with Simone Biles likely grabbing one of them.

“I knew I would be giving up being on the team,” Carey said in October of going the World Cup route, “but I think, for me, it made sense to just go for it.”

Carey is a world medalist on vault and floor, but she doesn’t have the all-around credentials of Biles and some other U.S. gymnasts.

Olympic team event roster sizes were cut from five to four for Tokyo, putting a greater onus on all-around prowess given a team must put three gymnasts on each apparatus in the Olympic final.

The U.S. is the deepest country in women’s gymnastics, so the only truly safe pick to make the four-woman Olympic team event roster is Biles.

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