Michael Phelps suspended 6 months, no World Championships

Michael Phelps
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USA Swimming suspended Michael Phelps for six months and withdrew him from the 2015 World Championships, which are in 10 months, on Monday, six days after his arrest on DUI charges.

He is still eligible to swim in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, the only path to making it to the Rio Olympics.

Full details from USA Swimming:

  • Six-Month Suspension from Competition. Phelps will be permitted to train with his member club, but shall be ineligible to participate in USA Swimming-sanctioned competitions through April 6, 2015.
  • Withdrawal from the 2015 World Championship Team. Phelps and USA Swimming each agree that Phelps will not represent the United States at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, from August 2-9.
  • Forfeiture of USA Swimming’s Monthly Stipend. The monthly payments from USA Swimming will be halted during the six-month suspension period.

“Membership in USA Swimming, and particularly at the National Team level, includes a clear obligation to adhere to our Code of Conduct,” USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus said in a press release. “Should an infraction occur, it is our responsibility to take appropriate action based on the individual case. Michael’s conduct was serious and required significant consequences. Michael has publicly acknowledged the impact of his decisions, his accountability especially due to his stature in the sport and the steps necessary for self-improvement. We endorse and are here to fully support his personal development actions.”

The 2015 World Championships are the biggest meet between now and the 2016 Olympics, which would potentially be Phelps’ fifth Games. Phelps, 29, is six months into a competitive comeback after a 20-month retirement following the London Olympics.

Phelps is ineligible to swim in the next three USA Swimming Grand Prix meets in Minneapolis (November), Austin, Texas (January), and Orlando (February).

His next eligible USA Swimming Grand Prix meet is in Mesa, Ariz., in April. Phelps made his competitive comeback at the Mesa meet six months ago.

No decision has been made on Phelps’ nominations for USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards, Nov. 24 in New York. Phelps received an Awards-leading five nominations for the top performances this year.

“We think the sanctions are appropriate, and we are glad that Michael is seeking help,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement. “We are grateful that nobody was hurt and appreciate the speed at which USA Swimming and Michael took action.”

Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever with 22 medals, said he was stepping away from swimming to attend an unspecified program to get “the help I need,” according to posts on his social media pages Sunday.

It’s an in-patient, six-week program, according to reports citing Phelps’ representatives.

Phelps was traveling 84mph in a 45mph zone, pulled over and arrested early Tuesday morning, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority, whose documents said Phelps “appeared to be under the influence,” and was unable to perform standard field sobriety tests.

Phelps had a blood-alcohol level of .14 percent, above the Maryland legal limit of .08, and was “disoriented” and “argumentative,” according to police documents. The officer smelled alcohol in Phelps’ white Land Rover and in his breath. Phelps said he had “three or four drinks,” the last two hours earlier, according to police documents.

In 2004, Phelps was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to drunken driving shortly after the Athens Olympics.

In 2009, USA Swimming suspended Phelps three months after a photo surfaced of him using a marijuana pipe. He was not charged.

U.S. women’s basketball team, statistically greatest ever, rolls to FIBA World Cup title

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The revamped U.S. women’s basketball team may have been the greatest of all time.

The Americans completed, statistically, their most dominant global championship ever by routing China 83-61 in the FIBA World Cup final on Saturday in Sydney — giving them 60 consecutive wins between the Olympics and worlds dating to 2006.

It marked the largest margin of victory in a World Cup final since the event converted from a fully round-robin format in 1983.

For the tournament, the U.S. drubbed its opponents by an average of 40.75 points per game, beating its previous record between the Olympics and worlds of 37.625 points from the 2008 Beijing Games. It was just off the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s Dream Team’s legendary margin 43.8 points per game. This U.S. team scored 98.75 points per game, its largest at worlds since 1994.

“We came here on a mission, a business trip,” tournament MVP A’ja Wilson said in a post-game press conference before turning to coach Cheryl Reeve. “We played pretty good, I think, coach.”

Since the U.S. won a seventh consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo, Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles retired. Tina Charles ceded her national team spot to younger players. Brittney Griner was detained in Russia (and still is). Diana Taurasi suffered a WNBA season-ending quad injury that ruled her out of World Cup participation (who knows if the 40-year-old Taurasi will play for the U.S. again).

Not only that, but Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach, implementing a new up-tempo system.

“There was probably great concern, and maybe around the world they kind of looked at it and said, ‘Hey, now is the time to get the USA,'” Reeve said Saturday.

The U.S. response was encapsulated by power forward Alyssa Thomas, the oldest player on the roster at age 30 who made the U.S. team for the first time in her career, started every game and was called the team’s glue and MVP going into the final.

Wilson and Tokyo Olympic MVP Breanna Stewart were the leaders. Guard Kelsey Plum, a Tokyo Olympic 3×3 player, blossomed this past WNBA season and was third in the league’s MVP voting. She averaged the most minutes on the team, scored 15.8 points per game and had 17 in the final.

“The depth of talent that we have was on display,” Reeve said. “What I am most pleased about was the trust and buy-in.”

For the first time since 1994, no player on the U.S. roster was over the age of 30, creating a scary thought for the 2024 Paris Olympics: the Americans could get even better.

“When you say best-ever, I’m always really cautious with that, because, obviously, there are great teams,” Reeve said when asked specifically about the team’s defense. “This group was really hard to play against.”

Earlier Saturday, 41-year-old Australian legend Lauren Jackson turned back the clock with a 30-point performance off the bench in her final game as an Opal, a 95-65 victory over Canada for the bronze. Jackson, who came out of a six-year retirement and played her first major tournament since the 2012 Olympics, had her best scoring performance since the 2008 Olympics.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headlined a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, included neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team had nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 60 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The U.S. beat China in the final, while host Australia took bronze to send 41-year-old Lauren Jackson into retirement.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), wasn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule, Results

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium 85, Bosnia and Herzegovina 55 Group A
11:30 p.m. Serbia 81, Mali 68 Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA 145, South Korea 69 Group A
2 a.m. France 67, Japan 53 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 95, Puerto Rico 60 Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia 75, Canada 72 Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 92, South Korea 73 Group A
11:30 p.m. China 81, Belgium 55 Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA 121, Bosnia and Herzegovina 59 Group A
2 a.m. Canada 88, Mali 65 Group B
3:30 a.m. Serbia 68, France 62 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 71, Japan 54 Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. USA 88, Serbia 55 Quarterfinals
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Canada 79, Puerto Rico 60 Quarterfinals
4 a.m. China 85, France 71 Quarterfinals
6:30 a.m. Australia 86, Belgium 69 Quarterfinals
Fri., Sept. 30 3 a.m. USA 83, Canada 43 Semifinals
5:30 a.m. China 61, Australia 59 Semifinals
11 p.m. Australia 95, Canada 65 Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. USA 83, China 61 Gold-Medal Game