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Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Madisyn Cox sues after swimming suspension over multivitamin

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Madisyn Cox, the 2017 World bronze medalist in the 200m individual medley, sued an affiliate of a supplement company after saying its contaminated multivitamins caused her to fail a drug test and get suspended last year.

Cox’s ban was reduced from two years to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she argued that the positive test was due to a legal Cooper Complete multivitamin that had been contaminated. The company, Cooper Concepts, Inc., said Tuesday afternoon that it had not received a lawsuit.

“However, when we learned about this issue we were stunned and angered and removed that vitamin immediately from our product line,” it said in a statement. “We are saddened and disappointed for Madisyn Cox and the time she missed in competition.”

She was still forced to miss the 2018 U.S. Championships, the qualifying meet for the two biggest international events before the 2020 Olympics. Cox could not qualify for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships or this summer’s world championships.

Cox said she had taken the multivitamin for seven years, listing it on doping-control forms since entering the drug-testing pool in 2014, and passed more than 20 drug tests in that span without incident.

“Cox was forced to miss several major events and to return fees, grants and prizes from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming, and was unable to pursue lucrative corporate sponsorships,” Cox’s legal team wrote in a press release Tuesday. “In addition to that lost income, Ms. Cox and her family incurred considerable expense in hiring several medical and legal experts to seek the source of the banned substance and a complete revocation of her suspension.”

Cox originally thought she ingested the banned substance Trimetazidine, a medication used to treat angina, through tap water.

She failed a drug test Feb. 5, 2018, and was originally banned four years. That punishment was cut in half after a FINA panel agreed that Cox did not intend to dope, though it did not accept that tap water was the definite source.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced the ban to six months after Cox produced multiple bottles of the multivitamin, and the tablets were found to have four nanograms per tablet of the banned substance.

“The shock, pain and emotional trauma she has bravely faced are almost incalculable, and we will be doing everything possible to gain justice for Madisyn and her family,” Cox’s attorney said in the release. “We also hope to force this company and this industry to do a better job in assuring the purity of their products and the proper labeling of each product’s ingredients.”

Cox ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 200m IM this year, winning the event at a Pro Series stop in Richmond last week.

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Jamaican Olympic bobsledder’s provisional suspension lifted

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Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian, who in PyeongChang drove the first Jamaican Olympic women’s bobsled, had a provisional suspension lifted last month by the International Bobsled Federation over a pre-Olympics drug test.

Jamaica’s bobsled federation confirmed a Jamaica Gleaner report that Fenlator-Victorian was provisionally banned shortly after PyeongChang and reinstated March 9. The IBSF and Fenlator-Victorian have not responded to requests for comment.

Fenlator-Victorian reportedly tested positive for a small amount of the banned substance clenbuterol before the 2018 Olympics.

Jamaica Bobsled said it was notified after the Games of the provisional suspension and that Fenlator-Victorian was not trying to gain an advantage, given the small amount and that a later pre-Olympic test came back clean. Many athletes have been cleared after testing positive for small amounts of clenbuterol, including Jamaican sprinters.

Fenlator-Victorian did not race in the 2018-19 season, according to her IBSF profile.

Fenlator-Victorian and former sprinter Carrie Russell finished 19th of 20 sleds in PyeongChang. Fenlator-Victorian, 33, also finished 11th at the Sochi Olympics competing for the U.S., then switched representation to her father’s native country.

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