Aja Evans, Olympic bobsled medalist, banned two years

Aja Evans
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Aja Evans, an Olympic bobsled bronze medalist, was banned two years for not submitting a drug-testing sample during an out-of-competition test on March 29.

Evans, a 34-year-old who earned Olympic bronze in 2014 and placed fifth in 2018, “failed to submit to sample collection after being notified by a USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] doping control officer,” according to a press release.

Athletes can qualify for a reduction from the default four-year ban for not submitting a sample if they can show that it wasn’t intentional. A USADA investigation determined Evans “negligently failed to submit to sample collection.”

Evans’ ban began on Nov. 8, the date she accepted the sanction.

She released the following statement through a representative:

As many of you know, I’ve dedicated my heart and soul to bobsled over these last 10 years. The sport has rewarded me with not only amazing opportunities and achievements, but also tremendous teammates and friends. I am very grateful for my journey through bobsled and for the personal growth I’ve experienced by being in the sport.

In the spirit of good sportsmanship and professional responsibility I accept the two-year sanction imposed upon me by USADA. At no time have I ever purposely avoided testing or failed a test, as my integrity and dignity stands for so much more than that. My mistake was simply failing to submit to a test when the rules mandated that I had to. Although I never thought I had done anything wrong at that time, I understand my actions have consequences.

I humbly accept this sanction, and will use the time to focus on my health and wellbeing. This is by no means a reflection of who I am in the sport of bobsled, as my impact in the sport remains positive and far reaching, even outside of competition. And, I will always remain positive, appreciative, and practice good sportsmanship.

To accept this sanction was a very difficult decision to make, but one that I ultimately felt was necessary given where I am in my life. At this time, I ask for your support and respect as I turn inward and focus on myself so that I can come out from this a better athlete and an even better person.

Thank you, everyone, in advance, for your love and support.

Evans was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team this past February after making the previous two Olympic teams. She was set back last season by a Dec. 3 training accident that put her in a hospital with facial lacerations.

The World Cup bobsled season starts next week. Evans had been the lone Olympian named to the national team of female push athletes for this season.

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2022 Grand Prix Final figure skating TV, live stream schedule

Ilia Malinin
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The Grand Prix Final, the most exclusive figure skating competition of the season and a preview of March’s world championships, airs live on Peacock and E! this week.

The top six per discipline from the six-event fall Grand Prix Series gather in Turin, Italy, at the Palavela, the 2006 Olympic venue. It’s the first Grand Prix Final in three years after the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. qualified skaters in all four disciplines for the first time since 2007, led by the world’s top-ranked man. Ilia Malinin, who turned 18 last Friday, has been the story of the season, becoming the first skater to land a quadruple Axel in competition.

Malinin, the reigning world junior champion, won both of his Grand Prix starts and posted the best total score among all fall events, edging world champion Shoma Uno of Japan. Malinin and Uno will go head-to-head for the first time this season at the Final.

Isabeau Levito, a 15-year-old world junior champion, is the youngest American at a Final since Caroline Zhang in 2007. She qualified in fifth place. The favorites are Japan’s Mai Mihara and Kaori Sakamoto and Belgian Loena Hendrickx.

The U.S. also qualified two pairs’ teams — world champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier and Emily Chan and Spencer Howe — and two ice dance couples — three-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker.

For the first time, the Final has no Russian skaters. They are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine. For the first time in 25 years, there are no Chinese skaters. China’s top pairs’ teams did not compete in the fall Grand Prix Series.

Grand Prix Final Broadcast Schedule
All TV coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Thursday Pairs’ Short Program 1:20-2:15 p.m. Peacock
Men’s Short Program 2:35-3:20 p.m. Peacock
Friday Pairs’ Free Skate 11:35 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Peacock
Rhythm Dance 1:50-2:45 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Short Program 3:05-3:50 p.m. Peacock
Saturday Men’s Short Program* 6:30-7:30 a.m. E!
Men’s Free Skate 7:30-8:30 a.m. E!, Peacock
Women’s Short Program* 8:30-9:30 a.m. E!
Free Dance 1:40-2:40 p.m. Peacock
Women’s Free Skate 3-3:55 p.m. Peacock
Sunday Highlights* 4-6 p.m. NBC

*Delayed broadcast.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde sweeps Beaver Creek World Cup races

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Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde held off Swiss Marco Odermatt for a second consecutive day to sweep World Cup races in Beaver Creek, Colorado, this weekend.

Kilde won Sunday’s super-G by two tenths of a second over Odermatt, one day after edging Odermatt by six hundredths. France’s Alexis Pinturault took third as the podium was made up of the last three men to win the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing.

This season’s overall figures to be a two-man battle between Kilde, the 2019-20 champion, and Odermatt, the reigning champion, and could come down to March’s World Cup Finals. They’ve combined to win the first five of 38 scheduled races.

The top American Sunday was River Radamus, who finished an impressive 16th given his start number was 57. Radamus’ best event is the giant slalom.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the Olympic super-G silver medalist, and Travis Ganong, who was third in Beaver Creek last year, both skied out.

The men’s World Cup heads next weekend to Val d’Isere, France, for a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

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