Jamaica Flag

AP: WADA launching ‘extraordinary’ investigation of Jamaica drug-testing agency

2 Comments

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Jamaica’s drug-testing issues needed to be looked at in August, and it’s following up on those assertions.

WADA confirmed to The Associated Press that the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) had a lack of testing in the months leading into the 2012 Olympics, where Jamaica won 12 track and field medals, led by Usain Bolt‘s triple gold performance.

WADA “is concerned enough to investigate,” the AP reported Monday. It wouldn’t be the first audit of Jamaica’s anti-doping.

“It’s an extraordinary visit,” WADA Director General David Howman told the AP, adding that Jamaica is “a high priority … they’re on our radar.”

WADA is unhappy that Jamaica hasn’t agreed to a swift inspection. Elliott said JADCO couldn’t accommodate the auditors at the date WADA wanted and now isn’t expecting the visit before the end of the year.

Bolt, 27, addressed the reports of Jamaica’s lack of drug testing before his final Diamond League meet of the season one month ago.

“It’s funny when I heard that they said they’re gonna ban Jamaica from the next Olympics,” Bolt said. “I kind of laughed because that would be kind of interesting to see.”

Bolt, who has never failed a drug test, was tested at least 12 times last year, according to the AP, citing track and field’s international governing body (IAAF). Of course, that includes tests outside of JADCO.

“Sometimes they will come like six times in one month and then you won’t see them for two months and then they come three times in one week,” Bolt told the AP a month ago. “So I don’t really keep track. I just get drug tested when I do.”

Seven-time Olympic medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned diuretic May 4 and hasn’t competed since June. Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist Sherone Simpson said they tested positive for a banned stimulant in June.

In August, WADA said “serious issues” were raised in a report that Jamaica carried out one out-of-competition drug test in the five months leading up to the 2012 Olympics.

“There was a period of — and forgive me if I don’t have the number of months right — but maybe five to six months during the beginning part of 2012 where there was no effective operation,” Howman told the AP in Monday’s story. “No testing. There might have been one or two, but there was no testing. So we were worried about it, obviously.”

Howman told the AP that WADA expects to check out JADCO at the end of this year or early next year, to see if “what they’re doing is of significant quality.”

Jamaica’s most decorated female Olympic champion gets warning, no ban

Michael Phelps to participate in Shark Week

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) — Olympic champ Michael Phelps is participating in Discovery network’s Shark Week this summer, although he won’t be asked to outswim one.

It’s not immediately clear what Phelps will be doing, although Discovery President Rich Ross said Tuesday he’s intrigued about seeing the fastest human swimmer interact with nature’s fastest. Perhaps Phelps can be encouraged to go underwater in a shark cage, he said.

The week of shark-themed programming in mid-summer is annually Discovery’s biggest event. Now that it is approaching its 29th year, programmers are on the lookout for a new wrinkle.

Phelps has won 28 Olympic swimming medals, 23 of them gold.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Phelps: I don’t know what to tell my son about doping

World Figure Skating Championships ice dance preview

Leave a comment

Alex Shibutani says he and sister Maia have made a statement the past two years.

“With our ability to perform when the stakes are highest,” he said.

The stakes don’t get much higher than this week.

The Shibutani siblings, breakout world silver medalists a year ago, lead three U.S. couples who finished in the top six at the 2016 World Championships into this year’s worlds in Helsinki.

It is the strongest ice dance field since the Sochi Olympics. The PyeongChang Winter Games medal contenders will be confirmed this week.

The clear favorites are Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions competing this season for the first time since taking silver in Sochi. Virtue and Moir returned from their two-year break to post the three highest total scores of all time in their last three international competitions.

“This is probably the most prepared we’ve been for a world championships,” Moir said, while adding, “this was a warm-up season.”

PREVIEWS: Men | Women | Pairs | Dance | TV schedule

The Shibutanis finished second (with a personal-best score) to Virtue and Moir at the most recent event, the Four Continents Championships at the 2018 Olympic venue in South Korea in February. The margin separating the two couples — 5.1 points — was considerable.

“We’re sort of in a way in a race against ourselves to try and see how good we can get and how good we can become,” Alex Shibutani said. “Each competition along the way is another step to that eventual goal [the Olympics].”

At worlds, the Shibutanis are in the medal mix with France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who won the last two world titles.

The French, already the youngest world champs in 40 years, are trying for the first ice dance three-peat in 20 years.

But they have not progressed this season, unable to match or better their winning score from the 2016 World Championships.

Papadakis and Cizeron train in Montreal with Virtue and Moir, but they struggled (held against their own standard) in both competitions outside of French borders this season. And in different areas — step sequences, twizzles, lifts.

Conversely, it looks like the Shibutanis’ biggest obstacles are well behind them. They went from a world bronze medal in their first senior season together in 2011 to four straight years off the podium.

The Shibutanis hit a nadir at the Sochi Olympics with a ninth-place finish, worst of the three U.S. couples. Maia’s tights snagged on Alex’s sequined jacket during a lift.

The devoted vloggers countered doubts after Sochi by stressing their youth — Alex was 22 then; Maia was 19. They talked about weathering the journey and sticking to a meticulous creative process.

It paid off with their first U.S. title last year, followed by that world silver medal in Boston.

“Last year’s results at the world championships were very energizing for us,” Alex Shibutani said. “People are aware of the career trajectory that we have had. We’ve set ambitious goals because we were so motivated following that result and that exciting string of competitions that we had last season.”

The Shibutanis were actually outscored by two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates in the U.S. Championships free dance in January. They stormed back with that personal best at Four Continents, though, erasing any doubt that they are the U.S. couple expected to make the podium in Helsinki.

The U.S. has earned 12 ice dance medals at the last 12 World Championships. In that same span, the U.S. brought home eight medals combined from men’s, women’s and pairs.

The Shibutanis feel confident they will extend recent American success in their discipline.

They would also create more history for sibling skaters. They’re already the most accomplished brother-sister duo since Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay of France won three straight world medals followed by Olympic silver in Albertville.

“We really elevated the way that we compete and perform,” at Four Continents last month, Alex Shibutani said. “Our skating has reached another level.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Ashley Wagner knows pressure’s on her at worlds