Christian Coleman could face ban

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Christian Coleman’s Olympic sprint prospects might be in jeopardy after three missed drug tests, two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press.

The “whereabouts failures” are said to have happened over 12 months, which can be treated as a positive test and doping violation.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because cases are considered confidential.

Coleman, 23, is the U.S. 100m champion. In 2017, he finished second to Justin Gatlin at the world championships — and one spot ahead of Usain Bolt.

The 2019 Worlds are next month in Qatar, and Coleman has the world’s leading time in the 100m the past three years. He also qualified for worlds in the 200m.

Athletes are required to provide authorities with their whereabouts so they can be tested for drugs without notice. Failing to provide the information, or not being present when a tester shows up, is considered a violation.

Three missed tests trigger the equivalent of a doping violation. Most who get hit for a first doping violation receive two-year bans, but exceptions are often made for different circumstances.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which deals with cases involving American athletes, does not discuss specific cases.

With the track world looking for someone to fill the massive vacuum Bolt left in the sport when he retired in 2017, Coleman signed a reported seven-figure deal with Nike when he turned pro the same year.

His main rival in the 100m at figures to be Gatlin, who, like Coleman, attended the University of Tennessee.

The 200m was setting up to be one of the featured events at the worlds in a showdown between Coleman and Noah Lyles. This rivalry will be one to watch heading into the Tokyo Games — assuming Coleman is eligible.

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World champion wins doping case citing bodily fluids from boyfriend

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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 (not counting matches played once they’ve already clinched qualification). 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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