The Latest: Yulia Efimova's status still uncertain for Rio

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Posted: Aug 04, 2016 8:22 PM
The Latest: Yulia Efimova's status still uncertain for Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Latest on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

It's still unclear if Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova will be allowed to compete in the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee's rule to keep the Russian breaststroker out of the pool because of an earlier doping suspension has been declared "unenforceable."

However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport declined Thursday to be responsible for the final decision, rejecting Efimova's appeal to force swimming's governing body and the IOC to accept her competing in Rio de Janeiro.

Efimova would be one of Russia's best hopes to win gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes if she were to compete. The eight-day swimming competition begins Saturday.

She bounced back from a doping ban to win the 100 breast at last year's world championships in Kazan, Russia. Efimova missed four months this season after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium but was given a reprieve and won the 200 at her comeback meet in Los Angeles last month.

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9:10 p.m.

The Swiss Olympic tennis team is a "little smaller" than initially expected, as Timea Bacsinszky put it. And with a lot less star power.

With Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Belinda Bencic all out because of injury issues, Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis are now the only two players on the squad. Hingis was originally supposed to play doubles with Bencic and — in a highly anticipated pairing — mixed doubles with Federer. Now she's just playing doubles with Bacsinszky, who will also compete in singles.

"Of course I was very excited," Hingis said of the plan to join forces with Federer.

She said Thursday after arriving in Rio de Janeiro that she was somewhat prepared for the phone call that Federer was taking off the rest of the year because of a knee problem.

"It's never easy to say no to something you look forward to," Hingis said. "I think we're equally disappointed that we're not competing at an Olympic Games together. That was definitely something that we had a chance to compete and be good at it, to look forward to maybe bring home a medal."

Hingis is still excited about playing in the Olympics for the first time in two decades — she was just 15 at her only previous games in Atlanta in 1996.

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7:55 p.m.

Four of the five Olympic boxing gold medalists fighting in Rio de Janeiro will have first-round byes in their title defense attempts.

The Olympic boxing draw was conducted Thursday ahead of the start of the 16-day, 286-fighter tournament on Saturday.

All three women's boxing gold medalists from London got a bye, which means they must win only one fight to be guaranteed at least a bronze medal. U.S. middleweight Claressa Shields, Irish lightweight Katie Taylor and British flyweight Nicola Adams are returning in Rio.

Cuba's Roniel Iglesias won gold as a light welterweight in London, and he has a first-round bye in his Rio return as a welterweight.

Cuba's other returning gold medalist, bantamweight Robeisy Ramirez, must fight India's Shiva Thapa on Thursday in the opening round.

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7:40 p.m.

The international gymnastics federation says 20 Russians, including Olympic champion Aliya Mustafina, have been cleared by the IOC to compete in Rio de Janeiro.

Five women and five men will take part in the gymnastics competition, while seven others will be in rhythmic gymnastics and three in trampoline.

Mustafina won the gold medal in the uneven bars at the 2012 London Olympics.

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7:20 p.m.

The IOC has approved the entry of 271 Russian athletes for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The International Olympic Committee announced the decision Thursday night, about 24 hours before the opening ceremony of the games.

The 271 approved athletes come from Russia's original entry list of 389.

The IOC asked international sports federations to decide which Russian athletes should be cleared to compete after a review of their doping records. That followed an investigation for the World Anti-Doping Agency that detailed state-sponsored cheating in Russia.

The final decision on entries was up to a three-member IOC panel, which received advice from an independent sports arbitrator.

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7 p.m.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says an IOC rule barring Russian athletes with a prior doping sanction from competing in the Olympics is "unenforceable."

CAS says the rule "does not respect the athletes' right of natural justice."

The court decision came in the appeal of two Russian rowers, Anastasia Karabelshivo and Ivan Podshivalov, who both received two-year doping bans in 2008.

CAS rejected the rowers' appeal to force the rowing federation and the IOC to accept their entry in the Rio de Janeiro Games.

CAS said it should be up to the rowing federation, FISA, "to determine their eligibility or not, without delay."

The IOC recently decided not to ban Russia's entire Olympic team over evidence of state-sponsored doping. Instead, the IOC left it to international federations to decide which individual Russian athletes should be cleared for the games.

The IOC also imposed new eligibility criteria for the Russians, including a ban on any athletes who had received previous doping suspensions, even if they had served the punishment.

CAS said the rule goes against the IOC's stated aim "to provide the athletes with an opportunity to rebut the presumption of guilt and to recognize the right to natural justice."

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6:45 p.m.

The Olympic Council of Ireland says a boxer has been provisionally suspended from the Rio Games after finding an "adverse analytical finding" in a sample provided to anti-doping officers.

Council officials declined comment.

The boxer can appeal. His identity will not be released unless he also flunks his B-sample.

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6 p.m.

Andy Murray calls being chosen to carry Britain's flag in the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics "by far the proudest moment in my professional career."

This from someone who owns three Grand Slam tennis titles, along with a pair of Olympic medals.

Murray said being a flag bearer on Friday will be "inspiring" and said he thinks it will help him perform well with a racket in his hand during the Rio Games.

Murray, who won Wimbledon for the second time last month, is seeded No. 2 for singles in the Olympic tennis event. He won a gold medal in singles and a silver in mixed doubles with Laura Robson at the 2012 London Games.

He is scheduled to play his opening singles and doubles matches Sunday.

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5:10 p.m.

American sculptor Anthony Howe got inspiration in expressive shapes, like coconut trees and palm trees, to design the cauldron that will be lit on Friday at the Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Howe avoided giving out details of his creation, but admitted it has a lot of Brazilian inspiration in its design.

Renowned for his kinetic wind sculptures, the artist said the invitation to design the cauldron which will hold the Olympic flame came out of the blue.

Howe says he designed two cauldrons that look similar. One will be kept at the Maracana and the other will be placed in the Candeleria area of downtown Rio.

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4:55 p.m.

IOC President Thomas Bach says preparing the Rio de Janeiro Olympics "were not always easy times, and it is not easy times now."

Speaking Wednesday to reporters, Bach says "I think you can say very clearly that the financial model of the Olympic Games has really stood a stress test."

He says other hosts should not have to go through this "in the future."

IOC members have openly ripped into Rio's preparations, questioning security, the city's water pollution, traffic jams in the days before the games, and its finances.

Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, sensitive to the any perception he is spending too much on the Olympics, told a local radio station on Wednesday that "Brazil cannot pay caviar bills for others."

It was a reference to Brazil's struggling economy, and the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee.

Bach says "I know the mayor from time to time likes (to make) the kind of remarks that he considers to be a joke. There has been no such request. This is ridiculous. The mayor knows this very well."

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4:40 p.m.

The head of Russia's Olympic committee says 271 of his country's athletes have been cleared so far to compete in the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Alexander Zhukov says "we have good news for the fans of the Russian Olympic team — the majority of the sports have been admitted in full."

The IOC asked the international sports federations to decide which individual Russian athletes would be put forward to compete after a review of their doping records.

Zhukov tells a news conference that full Russian teams were approved in several sports, including badminton, boxing, judo and volleyball.

A three-person IOC panel has the final say on which athletes will be admitted.

The International Olympic Committee has not yet released the final list. IOC President Thomas Bach said the list would be announced later Thursday.

Russia's original Olympic team numbered more than 380.

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4 p.m.

The Nigerian men's soccer team has made it to Brazil after a last-minute flight on the day of its opening Olympics match against Japan.

The team arrived in Brazil on Thursday afternoon following a flight out of Atlanta, where it has been training for the Olympics. The team's spokesman posted photos on Twitter of the team at the airport and going through immigration.

They have only a few hours to get ready for Thursday night's game against Japan.

The delay was blamed on a mix-up at the airport.

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3:30 p.m.

Italian beach volleyball player Viktoria Orsi Toth is out of the Olympics after failing a doping test.

The international volleyball federation confirmed the result on Thursday, a day before the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Laura Giombini will replace Orsi Toth when play begins on Saturday. She will play with Marta Menegatti.

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2:30 p.m.

A new report says the $3 billion subway expansion built as one of the main Olympic legacy projects in Rio de Janeiro was overbilled by 25 percent.

Rio de Janeiro state auditors say contracts show discrepancies such as invoices with overpriced materials and inconsistencies in services hired by the state.

The information was reported by O Globo newspaper on Thursday, and an official at Rio state's court of auditors confirmed the findings but said the report was not public yet.

Federal police have been investigating whether the main builder in the subway consortium paid bribes to officials connected to the expansion.

After many delays, Brazil's highest officials celebrated the completion of the troubled subway line on Saturday, less than a week before the games officially open on Friday.

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2:20 p.m.

The international equestrian federation says all five Russians have been cleared to compete at the Olympics.

The federation, FEI, says the International Olympic Committee cleared the horses and eventing riders Aleksandr Markov, Andrey Mitin and Evgeniya Ovchinnikova, and dressage competitors Inessa Merkulova and Marina Aframeeva.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos says: "This has been a very difficult time for our Russian athletes, who all have clean anti-doping records under both human and equine testing regimes, so we are very happy to have confirmation today from the IOC that all five are now declared eligible to compete."

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2:05 p.m.

IOC President Thomas Bach says a final ruling on the entry of Russian athletes in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics will be announced later Thursday, just a day before the opening of the games.

The IOC asked international sports federations to decide which individual athletes could be free to compete in Rio after a review of their doping records.

The final decision is up to a three-person International Olympic Committee panel.

Bach says at a news conference that "we expect the final results of this panel to be ready for publication later today."

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12:20 p.m.

The world volleyball governing body says Russia's teams for volleyball and beach volleyball have been cleared to compete at the Olympics.

The International Federation of Volleyball said Thursday that the 30 Russian players had formally received the green light from the International Olympic Committee as expected. The men's volleyball team is the defending Olympic champion.

Last week, the federation said it was reviewing updated team lists from the Russian Volleyball Federation.

Earlier this year, the meldonium doping scandal extended to Russian volleyball. Outside hitter Alexander Markin tested positive for the substance in January. Markin was temporarily suspended while FIVB considered the case. It found that Markin "committed an anti-doping rule violation but bore no fault or negligence in this case" and reinstated him.

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12: 15 p.m.

Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. has been elected a vice president of the IOC, 42 years after his father reached the same spot.

The younger Samaranch was elected Thursday as first vice president of the International Olympic Committee, the position just below IOC President Thomas Bach.

Samaranch's father was elected vice president in 1974 and went on to become IOC president in 1980. He held the top job until 2001.

Turkey's Ugur Erdener was elected to another vice president's spot Thursday, while Ukraine's Sergei Bubka was among those winning terms on the executive board. U.S. member Angela Ruggiero joined the board in her new role as chair of the IOC athletes commission.

The IOC also elected eight new members: Nita Ambani (India), Sari Essayah (Finland), Ivo Ferriani (Italy), Luis Alberto Moreno (Colombia), Auvita Rapilla (Papua New Guinea), Anant Singh (South Africa), Tricia Smith (Canada) and Karl Stoss (Austria).

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11:50 a.m.

Russian golfer Maria Verchenova has been cleared to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The International Golf Federation says "the IOC has notified the IGF and Russian Olympic Committee that Ms. Maria Verchenova's entry to the women's individual golf event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has been confirmed."

Golf is back in the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

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11 a.m.

The International Judo Federation has cleared all 11 Russian judo athletes to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The federation said Thursday that four women and seven men were tested "many times" before the Olympics and are clean.

The women are Irina Dolgova, Natalia Kuziutina, Ekaterina Valkova and Ksenia Chibisova. The men are Beslan Mudranov, Mikhail Puliaev, Denis Iartcev, Khasan Khalmurzaev, Kirill Denisov, Tagir Khaibulaev and Renat Saidov.

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10:10 a.m.

Organizers of the Winter Olympics in 2022 in Beijing are promising that everything is already on track for the country's second Olympics, building on experience from the Summer Games in 2008.

Pan Zhiwei, director of international relations, says the games will attract 300 million more Chinese to participate in winter sports.

Pan says: "We know that we have a long way to go to be a strong nation in winter sports. An important reason for us to bid for the Olympic Winter Games is our desire to popularize and develop winter sports through hosting the games."

Pan made a quick, passing reference to environmental concerns surrounding these Olympics, including the need for artificial snow production.

He says "we are deeply aware that compared to the Summer Games, holding the Winter Games will present many challenges such as natural conditions."

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8:20 a.m.

The International Boxing Association says all 11 of Russia's boxers who qualified for the Rio Games have been cleared to participate following a doping review for all Russian athletes.

AIBA said in a statement Thursday that it recommended each boxer be allowed to fight following the reviews, and got confirmation of that assessment from an IOC review panel.

The IOC responded to the Russian doping scandal by placing the burden on international sports federations to determine whether Russian athletes should be allowed to compete in Rio.

More than 250 have been declared eligible by federations so far, with more decisions expected Thursday on the eve of the opening ceremony. More than 100 Russian athletes, including the track and field team, have been excluded.

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8 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande is wasting no time pushing his country as a potential 2024 Olympics host, making an on-site bid in Rio de Janeiro.

Hollande flew to Rio on Thursday for a series of meetings over two days, including a dinner with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and delegation chiefs of countries taking part in the Olympics and Paralympics. They were holding private talks Friday.

Paris lost the 2012 Games to London in a surprise for the French, who felt certain Paris would be selected.

Hollande will present the French candidacy for 2024 to the press on Friday, meet with French athletes and attend gala events, leaving after the opening ceremony Friday night.

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