2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

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Coach says Adelina Sotnikova, Sochi figure skating champion, won’t defend title

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MOSCOW (AP) The coach of Adelina Sotnikova says the Olympic figure skating champion will not defend her title at next year’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang because of injury.

“Adelina Sotnikova will not compete this season because of injury,” her coach Evgeny Plushenko, himself a two-time Olympic gold medalist, said in comments reported by Russian agency R-Sport.

“We all hoped we’d get this injury cured, but unfortunately it hasn’t happened. The injury is still causing problems, (Sotnikova) can’t manage full training sessions and it’s not right to go to competitions in this state.”

Plushenko didn’t specify what injury was troubling Sotnikova, though the Russian has been struggling with ankle problems. He added that the announcement shouldn’t be seen as Sotnikova’s retirement from skating.

Sotnikova was a surprise gold medalist in 2014, beating South Korea’s Yuna Kim amid intense debate over the judging.

Sotnikova hasn’t competed at a major championships since then because of injuries and a heavy schedule of commercial performances and TV work, including the Russian version of “Dancing with the Stars.”

In April, she split with her longtime coach Elena Buyanova to join Plushenko, who had himself only recently retired.

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Supposedly tamper-proof sample bottles redesigned after Russian doping scandal

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LONDON (AP) The manufacturers of the doping sample bottles supposedly tampered with by Russian intelligence agents have introduced a new design in the last month to try to stay one step ahead of cheating scientists.

World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren found that FSB agents tampered with samples during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, leaving no sign of scratches or marks to untrained eyes.

Expert testimony in McLaren’s latest report revealed how thin strips of medal could push up a ring around the bottle’s neck, allowing the Russians to replace dirty samples with clean urine.

Berlinger, the Swiss company that makes the bottles, is working with law enforcement specialists in Europe to perfect designs that are harder to break into undetected. A new bottle went into circulation on Nov. 15 for doping testing, although Berlinger declined to outline the new safety measures.

“We work with forensic specialists from different nations,” Berlinger spokesman Hans Klaus said during a visit to London. “We want to always stay a little bit ahead of those cheating but you cannot avoid a system like the Russians built up.”

MORE: Over 1,000 Russian athletes involved in organized doping, McLaren report says

Documentary on LGBT Olympians secretly filmed at Sochi Games

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Johnny Weir was one of the breakout stars at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, giving his unique perspective as a figure skating analyst for NBC alongside Tara Lipinski. Out of the Iceberg Skating Palace, Weir was working on a different project — hosting “To Russia With Love,” a documentary about gay Olympic athletes.

Set to air on the channel EPIX on October 22nd, the film will feature Weir interviewing a number of 2014 Olympians who identify as LGBT: Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, Swiss snowboarder Simona Meiler, Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, and Canadian hockey player Charline Labonté.

Also appearing in the film are Billie Jean King, the tennis legend who was chosen by President Obama to serve as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Games, and Greg Louganis, the diver who won gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

The film was shot in New York City, Calgary, Toronto, St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as Sochi.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that director Noam Gonick did not seek permission from Russian authorities before filming in Sochi.

The summer before the Sochi Olympics, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors in Russia. Many were worried that gay athletes or visitors would experience discrimination or prosecution while at the Games.

EPIX is bringing a documentary about gay athletes to the small screen that was partially shot during the Sochi Winter Games.