Michael Phelps

Notes from USADA drug-testing statistics update

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Michael Phelps has more individually documented drug tests than any other U.S. athlete in 2014, under the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s statistics updated Monday.

Phelps had six documented drug tests in the third quarter of this year, giving him 17 total in the first nine months of 2014. He passed Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Galen Rupp for total tests this year.

USADA’s quarterly statistics are interesting to break down, but they are not complete drug-testing histories. USADA stats documented 1,638 drug tests for the third quarter of 2014, but the total number of tests was 2,339. That’s quite a difference and must be taken into account.

Here’s USADA’s disclaimer on its documented statistics, outlining what its results do and do not include.

Notes from the third-quarter statistics released Monday:

*Cyclist Eric Marcotte led all athletes with 12 documented drug tests for the third quarter. Marcotte is an Arizona chiropractor who won the U.S. road race title this year. His 12 documented tests were four more than the top athletes had in the second quarter, Michael Phelps and cyclists Jacob Rathe and Tom Zirbel.

*Phelps, Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte led all swimmers with six documented tests each in the third quarter.

*Distance runners Kara Goucher and Dathan Ritzenhein led all track and field athletes with five. Justin Gatlin and Wallace Spearmon Jr., sprinters who have failed drug tests, had four each. Rupp led all track and field athletes with seven documented tests in the second quarter. Rupp had three in the third quarter.

*Every member of the 2014 FIBA World Cup/Championships men’s and women’s teams received a documented test except for Brittney Griner, who joined the team late, just before the tournament in Turkey in September due to an eye injury.

*Chloe Kim, a snowboarder born April 23, 2000, received her first documented drug test.

*Four-time Olympic speed skater K.C. Boutiette received a documented drug test for the first time in five years. Boutiette, 44, last competed in an Olympics in 2006. He entered the 2014 U.S. Olympic speed skating trials last winter.

*Olympic champion gymnast Jordyn Wieber, who hasn’t competed since London 2012 and said in July she is still deciding her competitive future, has not had a documented test since the third quarter of 2013. The other four members of the Fierce Five were all tested at least once in the third quarter of 2014.

*2010 Olympic champion figure skater Evan Lysacek, who hasn’t competed since Vancouver 2010 and said in September his career is coming to an end, has not had a documented test yet this year.

Olympians often take their names out of the drug-testing pool when they retire, as Phelps did following the London Olympics.

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Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s first Olympic track and field medalist, has coronavirus

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Ehsan Hadadi, Iran’s lone Olympic track and field medalist, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to World Athletics and an Iranian news agency.

“We’ve received word from several Asian journalists that Iranian discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi has tested positive for coronavirus,” according to World Athletics. “[Hadadi] trains part of the year in the US, but was home in Tehran when he contracted the virus.”

Hadadi, 35, became the first Iranian to earn an Olympic track and field medal when he took silver in the discus at the 2012 London Games. Hadadi led through four of six rounds before being overtaken by German Robert Harting, who edged the Iranian by three and a half inches.

He was eliminated in qualifying at the Rio Olympics and placed seventh at last fall’s world championships in Doha.

Jordan Larson preps for her last Olympics, one year later than expected

Jordan Larson
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Whether the Tokyo Olympics would have been this summer or in 2021, Jordan Larson knew this: It will mark her final tournament with the U.S. volleyball team, should she make the roster.

“I’m just not getting any younger,” said Larson, a 33-year-old outside hitter. “I’ve been playing consistently overseas for 12 years straight with no real offseason.

“I also have other endeavors in my life that I want to see. Getting married, having children, those kinds of things. The older I get, the more challenging those become.”

Larson, who debuted on the national team in 2009, has been a leader the last two Olympic cycles. She succeeded Christa Harmotto Dietzen as captain after the Rio Games. Larson started every match at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

As long as Larson was in the building, the U.S. never had to worry about the outside hitter position, said two-time Olympian and NBC Olympics volleyball analyst Kevin Barnett.

“She played as if she belonged from the start,” he said. “They will miss her all-around capability. They’ll miss her ability to make everyone around her better. She’s almost like having a libero who can hit.”

Karch Kiraly, the Olympic indoor and beach champion who took over as head coach after the 2012 Olympics, gushed about her court vision.

“It’s a little dated now, but somebody like Wayne Gretzky just saw things that other people didn’t see on the hockey rink,” Kiraly said in 2018. “And I remember reading about him one time, and the quote from an opposing goalie was, oh my god, here he comes, what does he see that I don’t see right now? She sees things sooner than most people.”

Larson grew up in Hooper, Neb., (population 830) and starred at the University of Nebraska. She was a three-time All-American who helped the team win a national title as a sophomore. She had the opportunity to leave Nebraska and try out for the Olympics in 2008 but chose to remain at school for her final season.

She earned the nickname “Governor” as a Cornhusker State sports icon.

Larson helped the U.S. win its first major international title at the 2014 World Championship. She was also part of the program’s two stingers — defeats in the 2012 Olympic final and 2016 Olympic semifinals, both matches where the U.S. won the first set (and convincingly in 2012).

“It just gives me chills thinking about it now,” Larson said of the Rio Olympic semifinals, where Serbia beat the U.S. 15-13 in the fifth. “That team, we put in so much. Not just on the court but off the court working on culture and working on how are we best for each other. How can we be the best team? How can we out-team people? Certain teams have a better one player that’s a standout that we maybe didn’t have or don’t have. So how can we out-team the other teams? We had just put in so much work that was just heartbreaking.”

Larson and the Americans rebounded to win the bronze-medal match two days later.

“I don’t know anybody that didn’t have their heart ripped out. It was just a soul-crusher of a match,” Kiraly said of the semifinal. “More meaningful was what a great response everybody, including Jordan, mounted to the disappointment of that loss.”

The U.S. took fifth at worlds in 2018 and is now ranked second in the world behind China.

Larson spent the past club season in Shanghai. The campaign ended in mid-January. She hadn’t heard anything about the coronavirus when she took her scheduled flight back to California, learning days later that LAX started screening for it. Now, she’s working out from her garage.

Larson is in line to become the fifth-oldest U.S. Olympic women’s volleyball player in history, according Olympedia and the OlyMADMen.

Her decade of experience could go a long way to help the next generation of outside hitters, led by three-time NCAA champion and Sullivan Award winner Kathryn Plummer.

“If you’re coming into the USA program as an outside hitter, in the next year or the quad or the quad after that,” Barnett said, “the measuring stick is going to be Jordan Larson.”

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