Corrected: Michael Phelps’ rant not about Milorad Cavic

1 Comment

Michael Phelps went on a self-described “rant,” defending his clean record in a Facebook live video Friday.

It appeared that Phelps shot back at former rival Milorad Cavic‘s anti-doping comments, eight days after Cavic said Phelps’ recovery rate was “nothing short of science fiction.”

But Phelps later clarified that he was responding to a comment that somebody made on the live chat.

“I think that comment is so rude and so beyond anything that’s really imaginable,” Phelps said in a Facebook video. “You want to go and look at any results I’ve ever had in a drug test, go ahead. … If you think I cheated, that’s your own opinion. I know what I did in the sport. I know the hard work I put in. And I know what went into my body, and drugs were not one of those things.”

Phelps, who repeated last week in front of Congress that he didn’t think he had ever competed against a clean field internationally, again voiced criticism about doping in sports Friday.

“People who test positive in sports don’t deserve another chance to perform because they’re doing something that other people are doing with training,” Phelps said. “I know I busted my tail for years on end, in training, trying to get myself stronger and ready for every race. And that’s what I did. I had goals, and I achieved them because I worked hard to accomplish them. There are other people that are taking the easy, cheap way out, and they’re taking performance-enhancing drugs. That’s a joke. Sports in this world today, in my opinion, some of them are great, but some of them are also a joke because there are so, so many people that are trying to find a way to cheat and get away with it. And it takes away from sports. It takes away from the true meaning of what sport is. And that’s sad. And for me, as a father now, watching my son grow up and watching him to get in sports or grab a ball, do this, do that, I think that’s something that I hope changes in years to come, so my son never has to go through some of the things that I went through as an athlete.”

Phelps then apologized to his thousands of Facebook Live viewers.

“Sorry I went on that rant, guys, but this is something that’s such a passion for me that has to change,” he said. “It’s so frustrating when people sit there and say you cheated, or you do it this way or you do that. You don’t know. I’m the only one that knows. And all the other thousands of drug tests and vials of blood and cups of urine that I’ve had to give, open-handed.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Le Clos still has nightmares of losing to Michael Phelps in Rio

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Phelps’ comments were in response to Milorad Cavic’s comments from last week.

Alina Zagitova eyes more gold at worlds; women’s preview

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alina Zagitova hasn’t lost internationally in 18 months, and that doesn’t figure to change this week at the world championships in Milan.

The 15-year-old Russian is favored to become the youngest world gold medalist since Tara Lipinski (duplicating her feat from the Olympics) and make it five straight Olympic or world titles for Russian women, the longest streak for one country since American Carol Heiss won six straight Olympic/world titles from 1956 through 1960.

Zagitova would also become the first Olympic women’s champion to win worlds the following month since Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992. That’s largely because Olympic champions usually skip worlds in Olympic years. Since Yamaguchi, the only one to compete was Yuna Kim, who grabbed silver in 2010.

Zagitova may be young, but she may not have the longevity of Kim to make it to a second Olympics. Russia turns over a new class of elite women’s skaters every year.

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Alexandra Trusova won the world junior title as the first woman to land two different quadruple jumps in one program. Trusova isn’t old enough to compete at the senior worlds until 2020.

Zagitova’s current rival and training partner, Olympic silver medalist and 2016 and 2017 World champion Yevgenia Medvedeva, withdrew from worlds due to injury.

WORLDS: TV Schedule | Pairs Preview | Nagasu’s Outlook

Which leaves the last two Olympic bronze medalists, Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada and Carolina Kostner of Italy, plus PyeongChang fourth-place finisher Satoko Miyahara of Japan as the top challengers this week.

None finished within seven points of Zagitova at any competition this season, the Russian’s first on the senior international level.

Zagitova set herself apart at the Olympics by putting all of her jumps in the second half of her programs for 10 percent bonuses and landing them all with positive grades of execution.

The U.S. contingent includes national champion Bradie Tennell, two-time Olympian Mirai Nagasu and Mariah Bell (replacement for 2017 U.S. champion Karen Chen).

It is the end of a challenging season for U.S. women. In the autumn, none qualified for the Grand Prix Final for a second straight year (after at least one had done so each of the previous seven seasons).

In PyeongChang, no U.S. woman finished in the top six for the first time in Winter Games history. Tennell, who emerged this season after placing ninth at 2017 Nationals, was the top U.S. Olympic finisher in ninth.

Tennell goes into worlds as the top seeded American — seventh — by best international scores this season.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang

Olympic golf qualifying, format largely unchanged for 2020

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf tournaments qualifying and format will remain largely the same as they were for the sport’s return to the Games in 2016, according to Golf Channel, citing a memo sent to PGA Tour players.

The format will again be four rounds of stroke play with 60 men and 60 women taken from the world rankings, according to the report.

The qualifying window to determine the rankings will be July 1, 2018 to June 22, 2020 for men and July 8, 2018 to June 29, 2020 for women. That’s a slight change, as for 2016 the dates were the same for men and women.

The 2016 process saw a maximum of two men and two women per country, or up to four if they were ranked in the top 15.

Then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said one month after the Rio Games that he hoped the Olympic golf format would be changed to have more medals awarded.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Michael Phelps lost money to Barack Obama in golf, actor says