Dana Vollmer to retire from swimming with five Olympic gold medals

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Dana Vollmer, who came back from childbirth to earn a swimming medal of every color at the Rio Olympics, will compete for the last time at this week’s U.S. Championships.

NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA combine to air nightly finals coverage from Wednesday through Sunday in Palo Alto, Calif. Vollmer’s last race is expected to be her trademark 100m butterfly on Friday.

“Over the years, sport and life fully merged, and the dance between sport experience and life
experience enriched me in ways that I appreciate daily,” Vollmer wrote in a letter.” But days only have so many hours, and other parts of my life are asking for my time and attention. This week I am leaving elite level swimming. The 2019 National Championships will be my last swimming competition.”

Vollmer leaves the sport after a decorated 15-year career at the top international level.

After being the youngest swimmer at the 2000 Olympic trials at age 12, she made the 2004 Athens Olympics as a high school sophomore and finished sixth in the 200m freestyle, earning gold as part of the 4x200m free relay.

Vollmer failed to make the 2008 Olympic team but came back to win the 2012 Olympic 100m fly and break the world record in London.

Vollmer then took time off to have son Arlen in March 2015. She returned to make a third Olympics and took 100m fly bronze in Rio, along with another relay gold and silver. She expressed a desire to have another child and go for another Olympics in 2020.

Vollmer raced at 26 weeks pregnant in April 2017, then she and husband Andy Grant welcomed their second son, Ryker, on July 4 of that year. Vollmer returned to competition in November 2018 but has struggled with injury this year.

“There were times in my career when I struggled with body image, anxiety, depression, handling pressure, and navigating my own extreme expectations for myself,” Vollmer wrote. “I’ve torn my ACL, underwent heart surgery, had shoulder tendonitis, herniated a disc in my lower back, and sprained both my AC joints. There were plenty of times I could have walked away from the sport. I’m proud that I did not!”

MORE: Most experienced Olympian in history retires at 72

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World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

AP
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A world champion canoeist won a doping case Monday after persuading a tribunal that her positive test was caused by bodily fluid contamination from her boyfriend.

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) ended its investigation into 11-time world champion Laurence Vincent Lapointe, who tested positive for a steroid-like substance in July. She faced a four-year ban and could have missed her event’s Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games.

The Canadian canoe sprint racer and her lawyer detailed in a news program that laboratory analysis of hair from her then-boyfriend showed he was likely responsible for a tiny presence of ligandrol in her doping sample.

“The ICF has accepted Ms. Vincent Lapointe’s evidence which supports that she was the victim of third-party contamination,” the governing body said in a statement, clearing her to return to competition.

The legal debate is similar to tennis player Richard Gasquet’s 2009 acquittal in the “cocaine kiss” case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport accepted Gasquet’s defense that kissing a woman who had taken cocaine in a Miami nightclub, after he had withdrawn injured from a tournament, caused his positive test.

The 27-year-old Vincent Lapointe was provisionally suspended for almost six months and missed the 2019 World Championships, which was a key qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics. American 17-year-old Nevin Harrison won the 200m world title in her absence.

She can still qualify for the Olympic debut of women’s canoe sprint events with victory at a World Cup event in May in Germany.

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U.S. women’s soccer team begins Olympic qualifying, which should rest on one match

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The U.S. women’s soccer team has never been in danger in Olympic qualifying, but that doesn’t change this fact: It must win on Feb. 7 to reach the Tokyo Games.

The CONCACAF tournament begins Tuesday in Houston, where the world champion Americans face world No. 72 Haiti. The last two group games are against No. 68 Panama on Friday and No. 37 Costa Rica on Feb. 3. The top two nations from the group advance to Feb. 7 semifinals.

The U.S. roster, with 18 of its 20 players coming from the 2019 World Cup team, is here.

Since CONCACAF qualifies two nations to the Olympics, the semifinals are the deciding games.

Should the U.S. win its group, it would face the runner-up from the other group in a winner-goes-to-Tokyo match. The other group (world ranking):

Canada (8)
Mexico (37)
Jamaica (53)
St. Kitts and Nevis (127)

Chaos could result in the unlikely event that either the U.S. or Canada finishes second in its group, and the two North American powers play a semifinal.

The U.S. is undefeated in Olympic qualifying history, since the tournament format began in 2004 — 15-0 with a goal differential of 88-1. The lone goal allowed came in a group-stage match in 2008, when the U.S. was already assured a spot in the semifinals.

Still, the U.S. knows the feeling of one poor outing in an important match. In 2010, it lost to Mexico in a winner-to-the-World Cup match. The U.S. was forced to win a last-chance, home-and-home playoff against a UEFA team — Italy — for the last spot in the World Cup.

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