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Michael Phelps cites ‘frustration’ in testimony for congressional anti-doping hearing

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In written testimony, Michael Phelps said he was frustrated with the uncertainty of whether he was competing against clean athletes in Rio ahead of a congressional hearing looking at ways to improve the international anti-doping system.

“Rio was also unique because of increased doping concerns,” Phelps wrote in a 1,300-word letter, published ahead of his appearance at a congressional hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. “In the year leading up to the Games, there was uncertainty and suspicion; I, along with a number of other athletes, signed a petition requesting that all athletes be tested in the months prior to the Games. Unfortunately, the uncertainty remained, even through the Games, and I watched how this affected my teammates and fellow competitors. We all felt the frustration, which undermines so much of the belief and confidence we work so hard to build up to prepare for the Olympics.”

Phelps is one of five witnesses called to testify at Tuesday’s 10:15 a.m. ET hearing, which will be webcast at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.

Phelps is expected to be joined by:

Adam Nelson, 2004 U.S. Olympic shot put champion
Travis Tygart, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO
Dr. Richard Budgett, IOC Medical and Scientific Director
Rob Koehler, World Anti-Doping Agency Deputy Director General

“Throughout my career, I have suspected that some athletes were cheating, and in some cases those suspicions were confirmed,” Phelps wrote. “Given all the testing I, and so many others, have been through I have a hard time understanding this. In addition to all the tests during competitions, I had to notify USADA as to where I would be every day, so they would be able to conduct random tests outside of competition. This whole process takes a toll, but it’s absolutely worth it to keep sport clean and fair. I can’t adequately describe how frustrating it is to see another athlete break through performance barriers in unrealistic timeframes, knowing what I had to go through to do it. I watched how this affected my teammates too. Even the suspicion of doping is disillusioning for clean athletes.”

Phelps reiterated that he hopes another athlete breaks his record of 28 Olympic medals.

“But for that to happen, he must believe he or she will get a fair opportunity to compete,” Phelps wrote. “If we allow our confidence in fair play to erode, we will undermine the power of sport, and the goals and dreams of future generations. The time to act is now. We must do what is necessary to ensure the system is fair and reliable, so we can all believe in it.”

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MORE: Michael Phelps ‘would probably do’ another Olympics if not for injury risk

Sarah Hammer, four-time Olympic cycling medalist, retires

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Three-time Olympian Sarah Hammer, one of the most decorated track cyclists in U.S. history, is retiring after a prolific career spanning more than two decades.

The 34-year-old Hammer announced Monday that she’s stepping away from competitive riding to focus on the training facility that she founded in Colorado Springs with her coach and husband, Andy Sparks.

Hammer began riding at age 8 and won her first junior title in 1995. She briefly walked away from the sport in 2003, citing burnout, but returned to make the U.S. team for the 2008 Beijing Games.

Focusing on endurance events, Hammer won four Olympic medals and eight world titles and set two world records. Her team pursuit of a silver medal at the 2012 London Games — won with teammates Jennie Reed, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo — was chronicled in the documentary “Personal Gold: An Underdog Story.”

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MORE: World Road Cycling Championships broadcast schedule

How to watch Berlin Marathon world-record attempt

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The 26.2-mile world record could fall at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

The NBC Sports Gold stream starts at 2:30 a.m. ET, with NBCSN coverage beginning at 3 a.m.

The time to beat is 2:02:57, the world record set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014, also in Berlin.

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is the headliner of three candidates to lower that mark.

He won Berlin in 2015 in 2:04:00 with his insoles infamously slipping out the back of his shoes and flopping the last half of the race.

Kipchoge then prevailed at the 2016 London Marathon in 2:03:05, eight seconds shy of Kimetto’s world record, and the Rio Olympics in 2:08:44 in conditions not suitable for a fast time. He won the Olympic marathon by 70 seconds, the largest margin of victory since Frank Shorter won in 1972.

Then on May 6, Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 on an Italian Formula One race track in a bid to become the first person to run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours. It was contested under special conditions that made it ineligible for record purposes with pacers entering mid-race.

Berlin is the world’s fastest record-eligible marathon.

With its pancake-flat roads, the German capital was the site of the last six times the men’s 26.2-mile world record was lowered in the last 14 years, coming down from 2:05:38 to the current mark of 2:02:57.

Kipchoge will also benefit from a strong field.

He will likely be pushed to a fast time, if not beaten, by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who won the 2016 Berlin Marathon in 2:03:03, the second-fastest time ever.

And by Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who ran three of the eight fastest marathons ever.

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MORE: Top Americans set for major marathon later this month