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IOC pledges $10 million to help World Anti-Doping Agency

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KATOWICE, Poland (AP) — The incoming leader of the World Anti-Doping Agency asked for more money. The International Olympic Committee said “Yes.”

IOC president Thomas Bach pledged $10 million to fight doping in sports, half of which would go toward storing samples from pre-Olympics testing for 10 years and the other half toward investigations and research.

It was a fitting entrée for Witold Banka, the incoming president of WADA who, after taking the stage following Bach’s presentation at a world anti-doping conference Tuesday, promised he would not tolerate cheating or manipulations.

“The new future of anti-doping starts today,” Banka said.

Then, he called upon sports leaders, governments and private companies to contribute to a cause he portrayed as massively underfunded.

“It is ridiculous that an organization with the status of a global regulator has a budget of less than $40 million,” Banka said. “An average football club has a bigger budget.”

“We need to convince our biggest partners that if you’re a sponsor of sport, you should be a sponsor of clean sport.”

Half of WADA’s budget of about $40 million a year comes from the Olympic movement, and the IOC’s injection of another $10 million contribution is significant.

It has already reanalyzed hundreds of samples from the Beijing and London Olympics that have resulted in at least 123 positive tests. Bach said it will cost about $5 million to build similar storage for pre-test samples.

“This would greatly add to the deterrence factor, in particular combined with” new testing methods that have been developed over the past few years, Bach said.

Banka will formally be elected to replace Craig Reedie later this week at WADA’s board meeting.

He’ll be under the microscope, as WADA deals with a continuing case involving Russian cheating.

Russia is currently answering questions about manipulation of the data from its Moscow laboratory that is being used to prosecute dozens of doping cases. A decision on the fate of the country’s anti-doping agency is expected next month.

“We can’t keep our athletes in this situation for such a long period of time,” said Yuri Ganus, the head of Russia’s anti-doping agency. “We’ve been in this crisis for five years now, and that crisis is unfortunately becoming even worse and deeper now.”

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John Isner leaning toward skipping Olympics again

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John Isner, the highest-ranked U.S. male singles tennis player, is considering skipping the Olympics for a second straight time.

“I haven’t put a ton of thought into it, but as of right now, I think I’m leaning towards not playing,” the 19th-ranked player said at the Australian Open on Tuesday. “It’s about scheduling. I know the Olympics, it’s a fantastic honor. There’s no doubt about that. … Right now, at this stage in my career, it’s not a huge priority for me. So that’s probably the main reason I won’t be going. I certainly love playing in the summer in America, and I’m going to focus on that.”

The Tokyo Games take place the same week as a lower-level ATP Tour event in Atlanta that Isner, a former University of Georgia star, has won five times.

Other notable male players already said they will pass on Tokyo, including Sam Querrey, the top American in Olympic qualifying standings.

Austrian Dominic Thiem, a two-time French Open finalist, is prioritizing an ATP event in Kitzbühel the week of the Olympics. The U.S. doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan are not planning to play the Olympics in their final season before retirement, their manager said in November.

“The Olympics is very tough on the schedule … especially with Davis Cup,” Isner said in 2016, according to USA Today. “I think the fact that they have no [ATP ranking] points [at the Olympics], to be honest, was a pretty big factor as well. Obviously the Olympics is not about the money, but no points I think hindered me a bit.”

Isner, who turns 35 on April 26, is likely giving up his last chance to play Olympic singles. In his only Olympic participation, he reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Games, plus lost an opening-round doubles match there with Andy Roddick.

The top four U.S. men qualify for Tokyo, assuming they are among the top 60 overall qualifiers (maximum four per country) after this spring’s French Open.

Taylor FritzReilly Opelka, Steve Johnson and Tommy Paul are the U.S. men currently in Olympic qualifying position if excluding Querrey and Isner.

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Dominik Paris, world champion skier, suffers season-ending injury

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Italian Dominik Paris, the reigning world champion in the super-G, suffered a season-ending ACL tear in a training crash Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s speed races in Kitzbuehel, Austria.

Paris crashed in super-G training not far from the hallowed World Cup venue, slipping into a curve and damaging his right knee. He also suffered a fibula microfracture, according to the Italian federation.

“My season ends here,” he said, according to the International Ski Federation (FIS). “Unfortunately while I was sliding, the inside ski caught too much and the ligament broke. There is not much to add. In the next few days we will evaluate, together with the medical staff, how to proceed.”

Paris won his third Hahnenkamm downhill title last year and was one of the favorites for Saturday’s downhill, the most prestigious annual race in the sport. NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage for “Snow Pass” subscribers at 5:30 a.m. ET.

Paris, 30, won a pair of downhills in Bormio in December among five total podiums this season.

In his absence, Swiss Beat Feuz and German Thomas Dressen lead the podium contenders.

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