RUSSIAN TRACK AND FIELD BAN UPHELD
LONDON — Now that Russian track and field athletes have failed in their effort to have their Olympic ban overturned, it's up to the IOC to decide whether to kick the entire Russian team out of the games that begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in two weeks.
In another blow to the image of the sports superpower, the highest court in sports on Thursday dismissed an appeal by 68 Russian track athletes of the ban imposed by the IAAF after allegations of systematic and state-sponsored doping.
Sports officials in Moscow condemned the ruling as "political" and said some athletes might take their case to civil courts. Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva said the Rio Games will be devalued, with only "pseudo-gold medals" available.
In its ruling, the Court of Arbitration for Sport found that track and field's world governing body, the IAAF, had properly applied its own rules in keeping the Russians out of the Games that begin Aug. 5.
Reports: Watt has surgery
DE J.J. Watt had back surgery this week and is expected to be on the physically unable to perform list when the Texans start training camp July 31, the Houston Chronicle reported. Watt, who has never missed a regular-season game, will miss the preseason, ESPN reported. He didn't play during last year's preseason to preserve his health.
Jags and Hardy: The Jaguars worked out DE Greg Hardy, who spent last season with the Cowboys and became a controversial figure after his May 2014 domestic violence incident while with the Panthers and ensuing suspension.
MORE NFL: Suspended Browns WR Josh Gordon, who can apply for reinstatement Aug. 1, met this week with commissioner Roger Goodell. … OT Eugene Monroe, 29, said he's retiring. Monroe, who last played for the Ravens, has been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana.
TOUR DE FRANCE
Froome stretches lead
Chris Froome won a mountain time trial in Stage 18 of the Tour de France and opened a seemingly insurmountable lead of nearly four minutes over his closest challenger, Dutch rider Bauke Mollema. Only two Alpine stages remain before Sunday's mostly ceremonial finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Froome increased his overall lead to 3 minutes, 52 seconds over Mollema.
NHL: The Maple Leafs signed No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews, 18, to a three-year, entry-level contract with the maximum bonuses allowed.
PRO BASKETBALL: A misdemeanor assault and battery charge against Warriors star Draymond Green stemming from a confrontation near the Michigan State campus could be resolved before the U.S. team competes in the Olympics, attorney James Heos said. … Spanish C Marc Gasol will miss the Olympics after failing to recover from a broken foot in time.
SOCCER: Spain's federation named Julen Lopetegui coach of the national team, replacing Vicente del Bosque.