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07/24/24 11:58:00

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07/24 11:56 CDT Katie Ledecky hopes for clean races at Paris Olympics in the aftermath of the Chinese doping scandal Katie Ledecky hopes for clean races at Paris Olympics in the aftermath of the Chinese doping scandal By JAY COHEN AP Sports Writer PARIS (AP) --- Katie Ledecky is hoping for clean races at the Olympics. Hope was just about as far as she was willing to go on Wednesday. The U.S. swimming star is looking to add to her six individual gold medals when she races in the 400, 800 and 1,500 meters at the Paris Games. Her schedule begins with the loaded 400 freestyle on Saturday, which also includes Ariarne Titmus and Summer McIntosh. The 27-year-old Ledecky is competing in her fourth Summer Olympics, but it's the first one since a doping scandal involving nearly two dozen Chinese swimmers who tested positive for a banned substance ahead of the Tokyo Games --- and were allowed to compete with no ramifications. The controversy has raised major concerns about the seriousness of anti-doping efforts. "I hope everyone here is going to be competing clean this week," Ledecky said. "But what really matters also is: Were they training clean? Hopefully, that's been the case. Hopefully, there's been even testing around the world." There is an ongoing U.S. investigation of the suspected doping by the Chinese swimmers --- drawing the ire of the International Olympic Committee. While awarding the 2034 Winter OIympics to Salt Lake City on Wednesday, the IOC pushed Utah officials to do what they can to stop the FBI probe. "I think everyone's heard what the athletes think," Ledecky said. "They want transparency. They want further answers to the questions that still remain. At this point, we're here to race. We're going to race whoever's in the lanes next to us. "We're not the ones paid to do the testing, so we hope that the people that are follow their own rules. That applies now and into the future." Ledecky won gold in the 800 free in each of the previous three Olympics. She also won the 200 free and 400 in Rio de Janeiro, and the 1,500 in Tokyo. She remains a dominant force in the 1,500, but she is facing a more difficult challenge for the rest of her schedule in Paris. She was handed her first loss in an individual event at the Olympics when Titmus won the 400 in Tokyo. McIntosh is a prime contender for both the 400 and 800. With the 400 coming up on the first day of the swimming competition, Ledecky said she isn't going to attend the opening ceremony on Friday. "I'm looking forward to the 400 free, day one," she said. "I like my chances, but that's me, and I feel like I'm prepared and ready to race and that's all you can ask for. ... It's obviously a great field. Top to bottom, lots of people that have a chance." Racing comes naturally for the competitive Ledecky, along with the leadership that she earned with her long list of accomplishments. She isn't quite as comfortable with any praise thrown her way by her U.S. teammates, looking as if she was searching for an escape route while backstroker Ryan Murphy paid tribute to her on Wednesday. "She's constantly pushing the envelope on how she can improve and it's incredible for our sport," Murphy said. "She's one of the best of all time, so we're really lucky to have her on our team as both an athlete and a leader." ___ AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games
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