Russian speed skater Victor An ‘banned from Winter Olympic Games for doping’

Russia’s short track speed skating star Victor An has been banned from next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2018

Russian speed skater Victor An ‘banned from Winter Olympic Games for doping’

MOSCOW: Russia’s short track speed skating star Victor An has been banned from next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after being implicated in allegations of state-sponsored doping, Russian media reported on Monday.
An, the world’s most successful short track speed skater, has been accused in the World Anti-Doping Agency-sponsored McLaren report, TASS news agency reported.
“An has been suspended from participating in the Olympics,” TASS said.
A Russian lawyer said An’s inclusion in the report was “unexpected” because he was not on a list of Russian competitors already barred from the Games over the scandal.
Mikhail Prokopets told Sport Express daily that An would have to miss Pyeongchang because he would have insufficient time to lodge an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) before the Olympics begin on February 9.
“We had the names of those suspended beforehand and An was not on this list,” Prokopets said.
“CAS this week will consider the affairs of our Olympians, and An will not have time to get into this hearing, therefore, he will miss the Olympics.”

An, 32, who was born in South Korea as Ahn Hyun-Soo, won three gold medals at the Sochi Games for Russia after switching allegiance to the country in 2011 following a row with South Korean sports officials.
He had previously won three golds at the 2006 Turin Olympics representing South Korea.
He now lives in Russia with his South Korean wife and child.
An had earlier requested permission to compete as a neutral athlete at the upcoming Olympics following the IOC’s ban on Russia’s athletes over the doping allegations.
Dozens of Russian athletes banned by the International Olympic Committee for life over doping began an appeal against their suspension on Monday at CAS, the world’s top sports court.
The week-long hearing includes appeals from 39 Russians who competed at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi that were tarnished by a vast, Moscow-backed doping scheme that included tampering with urine samples, according to multiple independent investigations.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to immediately confirm the reports of An’s ban.
“To protect the rights of the persons involved, the IOC cannot comment on any individual cases but will communicate the invitation list in due course,” it said in a response to AFP.
Svetlana Zhurova — who took gold for Russia in speed skating at the 2006 Olympics and is now deputy of the lower house of parliament — said she did not understand how the Games could go ahead without An.
“Especially (when) the competition is taking place in his homeland. Victor An is without doubt the god of short track. And the IOC has just stripped the competition of its main character,” she said in comments reported by Sport Express daily.


Kobe Bryant: NBA All-Star crowd pays tribute to fallen basketball icon

Updated 17 February 2020

Kobe Bryant: NBA All-Star crowd pays tribute to fallen basketball icon

  • Bryant died along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven victims in a helicopter crash on January 26
  • NBA’s All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award has been permanently named for Lakers star

CHICAGO: Team LeBron beat Team Giannis by two points at the 69th NBA All-Star game on Sunday at a packed United Center that fell silent for eight seconds before tip-off as about 21,000 fans joined hands to pay their respects to global sports icon Kobe Bryant.
The silence was broken by a string of thunderous “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe,” chants that rocked the stadium as the crowd honored Bryant, who wore the No. 8 and No. 24 during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers that was highlighted by five National Basketball Association championships.
The stirring pre-game tribute began with Laker great Magic Johnson rousing the crowd and paying homage to Bryant, killed along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven victims in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
“We will never see another basketball player quite like Kobe,” Johnson said, highlighting his work with the Los Angeles community along with the love he had for his family. “This is a tough time for the whole NBA family.”
Johnson also paid tribute to former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who oversaw explosive growth in the popularity of the game during his 30-year tenure. Stern died on Jan. 1.
Before tip-off, the singer and actor Jennifer Hudson, who is a Chicago native, sang with a montage of photos of Bryant and his daughter in the background.
The game was a culmination of a weekend filled with tributes to the former Los Angeles Lakers star who was an 18-time All-Star and won the All-Star game’s MVP award four times.
On Friday, Bryant, who is fourth all-time in league scoring, was named a finalist to the Basketball Hall of Fame. On Saturday, the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, announced that the league’s All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award has been permanently named for Bryant.
Bryant made his NBA All-Star Game debut in 1998 at age 19 – the youngest player to ever play in an All-Star Game. His 18 All-Star selections are the second-most in NBA history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at 19.
Players in Sunday’s All-Star game wore No. 2 and No. 24 on their jerseys to honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant, while the game’s format paid homage to Bryant.
The team with the most points after three quarters needed to score 24 points to win, while the trailing team had to score 24 plus the number of points it was down.
Team Giannis held a nine-point lead over Team LeBron after three quarters, but the LeBron James-led side had the last laugh, outscoring Team Giannis 33-22 in the final period to clinch a 157-155 victory.
Team Giannis was headed by Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Team LeBron’s Kawhi Leonard was named All-Star MVP after scoring 30 points, including eight three-pointers.