ATHLETES MAY SKIP WORLDS TO PROTEST RUSSIA DOPING
American Olympians are considering boycotting a world championship event in Sochi, Russia, in February, which would be the most provocative gesture yet by athletes dissatisfied with how sports officials have responded to the Russian doping scandal.
Bobsled and skeleton athletes have circulated memos laying out reasons to not compete in the world championships in Sochi, the site of the last Winter Olympics and of elaborate, state-sponsored cheating. The athletes have cited concerns about doping control, personal safety and information security.
The correspondence indicates that the athletes have the support of the U.S. Olympic Committee, which has not taken a strong public stand on Russia's systemic doping as it seeks to curry favor with global sports leaders in a bid to hold the 2024 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
A USOC spokesman said the organization supports athletes' rights to choose when and where to compete but won't support a boycott of any event.
Said Kyle Tress, an American skeleton racer: "There's tremendous support to skip this event, and I think it's the right decision."
In May, a longtime chief of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, told the New York Times of a cheating operation coordinated by the Russian government at the Olympics in 2014. Top Russian athletes doped throughout the competition, he said, and had their steroid-tainted urine replaced with clean urine for drug testing. An investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency verified the account.
Soccer: Manchester United was held to a 1-1 tie at Everton on a late penalty in the English Premier League. United, with two wins since Aug. 27, is 13 points behind leader Chelsea. Liverpool conceded three goals in the final 20 minutes to lose 4-3 at Bournemouth and drop four points back.