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Russian Olympic champion, top track official faces doping ban

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s second most powerful track official is facing suspension in a doping case, another blow to the country’s hopes of being reinstated in time for the world championships.

The Russian track federation said Wednesday that senior vice president Andrei Silnov, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the high jump, is facing a hearing on Friday for “a possible breach by him of anti-doping rules.”

The federation said Silnov could be suspended from his duties.

Neither Silnov nor the federation has specified what he is suspected of. However, Silnov told Russian state news agencies he had received a notification from the Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases in track, that he was under investigation. He said the nature of the offense was confidential.

Russia has been banned from international track competitions since 2015 for widespread doping, but dozens from the country are allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

That ban was extended Sunday when the IAAF expressed concern about “apparent backsliding” on doping reforms. The governing body expressed concern about banned coaches still working with athletes.

There’s also an ongoing investigation into whether Russian officials filed fake medical documents to give world indoor high jump champion Danil Lysenko an alibi for failing to update drug testers about his whereabouts.

Russia could face a wave of new doping cases later this month after the World Anti-Doping Agency hands over files to the AIU. The information contains years of records from the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, where drug cases were routinely covered up.

MORE: Russia’s top track and field athlete slams ‘never-ending disgrace’

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2026 Winter Olympic host: Milan-Cortina

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Italy will host the 2026 Winter Olympics, with Milan-Cortina winning an IOC vote over a Swedish-Latvian bid centered on Stockholm-Are.

After Winter Games in Vancouver (2010), Sochi (2014), PyeongChang (2018) and Beijing (2022), they return to a traditional European site for the first time since Italy hosted in Torino in 2006.

The two bids were left after five others dropped out for various reasons, all in 2018: Calgary, Canada; Erzurum, Turkey; Sapporo, Japan; Graz, Austria and Sion, Switzerland.

With the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games hosts both decided two years ago (Paris for 2024, Los Angeles for 2028), next up is the 2030 Winter Games. The U.S. has already said that if it bids, it will be with Salt Lake City, which held the 2002 Winter Olympics.

MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic master schedule

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Japan’s gymnastics worlds team: no Kohei Uchimura, Kenzo Shirai

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Not only is Kohei Uchimura going to miss the world championships, but so is 11-time world medalist Kenzo Shirai.

Japan finalized its five-man team for October’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, following a national-level meet this past weekend. Uchimura, arguably the greatest gymnast in history, was already out of the running, sidelined with his latest round of injuries.

Shirai, reportedly slowed by a left ankle injury this season, did compete this weekend. But he finished fifth on floor exercise and third on vault, his two best events, and did not earn one of the last two spots on the world team.

Uchimura, a two-time Olympic all-around champion with six world all-around titles, misses worlds for the first time since 2007. Shirai, a 22-year-old with four world titles between floor and vault, had competed in every worlds since debuting in 2013, just after his 17th birthday.

Without their two stars, Japan sends a relatively inexperienced team. Kazuma Kaya and Wataru Tanigawa, both 22, are the only men who have been to a worlds (and were part of the 2018 silver-medal team). The youngest member is 17-year-old Daiki Hashimoto.

Japan has earned a team medal at every Olympics and world championships since 2003, a streak bettered only by the U.S. women.

MORE: Olympic gymnastics team sizes return to five for Paris 2024

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