AP

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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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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