Francena McCorory

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U.S. Olympians receive medal upgrades after doping punishments

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U.S. Olympians Kara Goucher and Francena McCorory are among more than a dozen athletes set to receive retroactive medal upgrades in ceremonies at the world track and field championships next month.

The results changes were made due to positive retests of past doping samples from athletes since stripped of their medals.

Goucher, a 2008 and 2012 Olympic distance runner, will be promoted from bronze to silver from the 2007 World Championships 10,000m in an Aug. 5 ceremony at London’s Olympic Stadium.

Original silver medalist Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey tested positive for the banned steroid stanozolol in a retest of a sample she gave at the 2007 World Championships, it was announced in March.

Abeylegesse also won Olympic silver medals in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Games.

American Shalane Flanagan stands to get the silver medal in the Olympic 10,000m, but that has not been announced yet. The medal upgrade ceremonies at worlds include past world championships but no past Olympic events.

U.S. 400m runner Francena McCorory will receive two medals on Aug. 4 — bronze in the 2011 World Championships 400m and gold as part of the 2013 U.S. 4x400m relay team with Jessica BeardNatasha Hastings and Ashley SpencerJoanna Atkins also ran in the preliminary heats of the relay.

Original 2011 World 400m bronze medalist Anastasia Kapachinskaya was retroactively disqualified in June after a doping sample from the 2011 Worlds was retested and found to contain banned steroids. McCorory originally finished fourth in that final.

Russia was stripped of its 2013 World 4x400m title in February after relay member Antonina Krivoshapka was retroactively banned for a doping offense. Russia beat the U.S. by .22 in that world final.

The biggest cheer at London Olympic Stadium for one of 11 medal upgrade ceremonies will come on Aug. 6, when Brit Jessica Ennis-Hill receives her 2011 World heptathlon gold after Russian Tatyana Chernova was stripped for doping.

MORE: Russia enters 19 athletes into world track and field champs

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U.S. medal upgrade likely after another Russian doping ban

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American Francena McCorory is in line to be upgraded from fourth place to the bronze medal from the 2011 World Championships 400m after original bronze medalist Anastasia Kapachinskaya was retroactively disqualified Wednesday.

The move came after a Kapachinskaya doping sample from the 2011 Worlds was retested and found to contain banned steroids, according to Russia’s track and field federation.

Last year, Kapachinskaya was retroactively disqualified from the 2008 Beijing Games after a doping sample retest came back positive for the same steroids.

She was memorably passed by American Sanya Richards-Ross on the Beijing Olympic 4x400m anchor leg and finished fifth in the individual 400m.

In the 2011 Worlds 400m final, Kapachinskaya passed McCorory on the final straightaway in Daegu, South Korea for bronze behind Botswana’s Amantle Montsho and American Allyson Felix.

McCorory owns five Olympic or world outdoor championships 4x400m medals but has never earned an individual medal at a global outdoor meet.

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MORE: Alysia Montano to race pregnant again at U.S. Champs

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U.S. finishes World Championships with fewest medals since 2003

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The U.S. finished the World Track and Field Championships with 18 medals, its fewest at a single Worlds or Olympics since the 2003 World Championships, and fewer gold medals than Jamaica and Kenya.

The U.S. earned gold in the men’s 4x400m relay and silver in the women’s 4x400m (behind a Jamaican comeback on the final straightaway) on the final night of competition in Beijing on Sunday (full results here).

The U.S. totaled six gold medals for the nine-day meet, finishing third in those standings, one behind Jamaica and Kenya. It’s the lowest finish for the U.S. in the gold-medal standings at a single World Championships, in their 15th edition.

“There was pockets of great moments, pockets where, you know, I think we expected to do a lot better than we did,” Allyson Felix, who ran the third fastest 4x400m relay split ever for her third medal of the meet, told media in Beijing. “I think the biggest thing that we take away is just being hungry for next year [and the Rio Olympics].”

In 2013, the U.S. won a Worlds-leading 25 medals and six golds, one fewer gold than host Russia. Russia, which won 17 medals in 2013, left Beijing with two golds and four medals.

NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will have World Track and Field Championships coverage Sunday from 2-3:30 p.m. ET.

World Championships: Eaton breaks decathlon world record | Bolt on U.S. relay DQ: ‘It’s called pressure’

Early this summer, the U.S. was projected to break its previous high for Worlds medals (26). Two days before Worlds began, the respected Track and Field News predicted the U.S. would finish with 31.

Where did it go wrong?

The U.S. earned zero gold medals in men’s individual track events at a Worlds or Olympics for the first time (h/t @davidwoods007). It earned one gold medal in women’s track events (Allyson Felix in the 400m).

The U.S. could have won 10 medals across the four hurdles events. It came away with three, with gold-medal contenders Dawn Harper-Nelson and Keni Harrison (100m hurdles) and Bershawn Jackson and Johnny Dutch (400m hurdles) failing to make their finals.

Americans fared worse in the distance races. The U.S. earned one medal of any color in individual races longer than 400 meters — Emily Infeld‘s surprise bronze in the 10,000m.

Past Olympic and Worlds medalists Matthew Centrowitz, Leo Manzano, Galen Rupp, Brenda Martinez, Jenny Simpson and Shalane Flanagan missed the podium. As did Evan Jager and Emma Coburn, who were hopes to end U.S. steeplechase medal droughts.

Keep in mind for Rio that no U.S. man or woman has won Olympic gold in a track event longer than 400m since Dave Wottles 800m title while wearing a cap at Munich 1972.

On Sunday, Felix won her 13th career Worlds medal with a 47.72-second third leg in the 4x400m relay, making up a 1.99-second Jamaican lead and handing a .48 advantage to Francena McCorory.

McCorory, who had the world’s three fastest 400m times this year going into Worlds, was passed on the final straightaway by Jamaican anchor Novlene Williams-Mills, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two months before she ran in the 2012 Olympics.

source: Felix’s silver moved her into a tie with Usain Bolt at 13 Worlds medals, one behind record holder Merlene Ottey, a retired Jamaican/Slovenian sprinter. The U.S. women posed like Charlie’s Angels in their pre-race intro.

“It’s bittersweet,” Felix told media in Beijing. “You can run as fast as you want, but if you don’t win, it doesn’t quite mean that much.”

The U.S. won the final event of Worlds, the 4x400m relay (video here), with 400m silver medalist LaShawn Merritt anchoring for his 11th Worlds medal, most by an American man.

Centrowitz and Manzano were eighth and 10th in the 1500m, with countryman Robby Andrews 11th. Centrowitz had won bronze and silver at the last two Worlds. Manzano is the 2012 Olympic silver medalist.

Kenyan favorite Asbel Kiprop prevailed in 3:34.40 (video here), followed by countryman Elijah Manangoi (3:34.63) and Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider (3:34.67). Kiprop has won three straight World 1500m titles plus the 2008 Olympics.

Manangoi, a Maasai warrior, planned a special celebration.

“I’m going to cut the goat,” Manangoi told media in Beijing, “and drink the blood.”

Earlier, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba became the first woman to win 1500m and 5000m medals at a single Worlds, taking bronze behind countrywoman Almaz Ayana in the 5000m (video here).

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