July 18, 2016

Russia's participation in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro just weeks away is in serious doubt.

An investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency discovered that Russia's sports ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" manipulation of athletes' urine samples provided by its athletes.

Russia's state-sponsored doping program "planned and operated" as early as 2011 and manipulated drug testing through the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics until August 2015, according to the investigation, which was released by WADA on Monday.

The bombshell from the report left IOC members stunned and shocked. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the Russians' actions were an "unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games."

He promised to levy the "toughest sanctions available."

That punishment could come as early as Tuesday when members of the IOC reconvene in an emergency meeting to address the report.

The former head of Russia's national anti-doping laboratory ignited the firestorm when he claimed he doped dozens of athletes prior to the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.

The Kremlin paints Grigory Rodchenkov as a "scandalous" former official.

Rodchenkov told the New York Times in May that he covered up the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Russian athletes at the behest of the minister of sports.

WADA's investigation allegedly found evidence that Rodchenkov discovered a way to open and reseal supposedly tamper-proof bottles that were used for storing urine samples so the contents could be replaced with "clean" urine.


A day after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence, Alabama offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor was suspended indefinitely by Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

"We are very disappointed any time a player makes a choice that leads to this kind of behavior," Saban said in a statement announcing the suspension. "We are still in the process of gathering all of the details on the situation, but from a football standpoint, Alphonse Taylor has been indefinitely suspended from the team."

Taylor, a preseason second-team All-SEC selection, also left the scene of the accident, according to the Tuscaloosa Police Department. He was cited for leaving the scene of an accident.

--Florida Gators first-year freshmen receivers Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells have been arrested after being accused of firing BB guns into a residential hall on campus.

Cleveland and Wells, who are both 18, were arrested Sunday and remained in the Alachua County Jail on Monday morning.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the two players were charged with criminal mischief for damaging property of more than $1,000 -- a third-degree felony -- and shooting a missile inside an occupied dwelling -- a second-degree felony. The incident occurred at Keys Residential housing on the Gainesville, Fla., campus.


Colombia's Camilo Villegas has withdrawn from the 2016 Olympics as he attempts to keep his PGA Tour card for the 2016-17 season.

Villegas and his wife are attempting to start a family, but he cited job security rather than the Zika virus in making his announcement Monday. Villegas is currently ranked No. 146 in the FedEx Cup standings, with only the top 125 advancing to the season-ending playoffs and securing full Tour status for next season.

Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge, who is ranked No. 155 in the FedEx Cup, also cited his Tour status in withdrawing, bringing the total number of male golfers who have chosen not to compete in Rio de Janeiro next month to 21.

There are only four tournaments remaining before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

--New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko extended her lead atop the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings released Monday after she won the Marathon Classic for her fourth LPGA Tour victory of the season.

Ko birdied the fourth playoff hole to win a playoff Sunday at the tournament in Sylvania, Ohio.

Ko has a 15.47-point average as the top five spots are unchanged from the previous week.

Brooke Henderson, an 18-year-old Canadian, is second at 8.37, followed by South Korea's Inbee Park (7.88). Lexi Thompson (7.76) is No. 4 as the top American, followed South Korea's Sei Young Kim (6.87.)

American Stacy Lewis is No. 8 after moving up one spot.


The Nevada Athletic Commission on Monday suspended UFC interim champion Jon Jones indefinitely and confirmed the presence of banned substances in Jones' system, which led to him being taken off the UFC 200 card earlier this month.

Jones had been scheduled to fight Daniel Cormier and earn an eight-figure payday for his troubles.

Instead, 72 hours before that July 9 fight in Las Vegas, the "A" sample of his test came back positive for a banned substance.

On Monday, it was revealed that Jones tested positive for hydroxy-clomiphene, an anti-estrogen drug listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned substances list.

He also tested positive for a Letrozole metabolite, classified as an Aromatase inhibitor, another banned substance.

There is evidence that anti-estrogen drugs increase the production of testosterone and can mask the use of some steroids. Jones, who turns 29 on Tuesday, had never tested positive for a banned substance before.


Peter Sagan won the 16th stage of the Tour de France in a photo finish Monday as defending champion Chris Froome retained his yellow jersey lead.

Sagan of Slovakia edged Alexander Kristoff of Norway at the line as the race crossed into Switzerland. Norwegian Sondre Enger was third in the 130-mile stage from Moirans-en-Montagne, France, to the Swiss capital of Bern.

Kristoff pumped his fist in celebration but learned seconds later he finished second.

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