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Bolt, De Grasse easily qualify for 200 final, USA’s Gatlin misses out

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Usain Bolt on the track has been must-see television for quite some time, with the question not being whether or not he’ll win but by how much.

Wednesday night the Jamaican sprint king did what was expected in the semifinals of the 200, qualifying for the final with a time of 19.78 seconds. He slowed down towards the end of his heat, smiling at Canada’s Andre De Grasse as they approached the finish line with De Grasse finishing in 19.80 seconds. Bolt and De Grasse posted the two fastest times of the semifinal heats, with American LaShawn Merritt finishing in 19.94 seconds.

WATCH: Bolt, De Grasse move on to 200 final with a few smiles

While Bolt is looking to complete the 100/200 double for the third consecutive Olympics, there’s also his stated desire to break his world record of 19.19 seconds to keep in mind ahead of Thursday’s final.

Posnanski: Bolt’s smile does not tell the full story

Merritt did manage to get into the final, the same can’t be said for countrymen Justin Gatlin and Ameer Webb. Gatlin, who took silver in the 100, posted a time of 20.13 seconds and missed out on the final by three one-hundredths of a second. As for Webb, his time of 20.43 seconds ranked 19th among the 24 semifinalists.

WATCH: Merritt surges to make 200 final

WATCH: Gatlin fails to qualify for 200 final

Also held Thursday night were the qualifying rounds of the men’s javelin, and USA Track and Field did not enjoy good fortune there. None of their three competitors managed to qualify for the final round, with Cyrus Hostetler’s throw of 79.76 meters being the best attempt produced by he, Sam Crouser and Sean Furey. Hostetler ranked 20th among the competitors, with Crouser and Furey finishing 34th and 35th, respectively.

The fact that the U.S. would struggle in the javelin isn’t a major surprise, as they haven’t had a medalist in the event since Bill Schmidt took silver in 1972.

Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago led the way with a throw of 88.68 meters, and defending Olympic gold medalist Julius Yego ranked sixth among the 12 men who qualified for Saturday’s final. Germany will have three finalists, with Johannes Vetter and Julian Weber ranking second and third, respectively, and Thomas Rohler ranking ninth.

The men’s 5000 meters were also run Wednesday night, and thanks to the successful appeal of an IAAF ruling the U.S. will have three runners in the final. Hassan Mead, who was originally ruled out of the final after falling in his heat and thus not posting a time good enough to qualify, was cleared for the final following a video review of his heat. Mead joins Bernard Lagat and Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo in the final, with Chelimo posting the fastest qualifying time of 13:19.54.

Two of the three medalists in the 5000 at last year’s World Championships will also be in the final, with world champion Mo Farah of Great Britain and third-place finisher Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia making the cut.

Olympic wrestlers tie for gold medal, 8 years after the competition

Bilyal Makhov
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A pair of doping cases led to the first Olympic gold-medal tie in wrestling history, eight years after the matches took place.

Russian Bilyal Makhov was upgraded to 2012 Olympic freestyle super heavyweight gold, joining Iranian Komeil Ghasemi, who was upgraded last year, according to the IOC’s website.

In February, Russian media reported that Makhov recently tested positive for growth hormone, which would have no bearing on 2012 results.

The move came after the finalists in 2012 — Uzbek Artur Taymazov and Georgian Davit Modzmanashvil — were stripped of their gold and silver medals last year in retests of doping samples from the London Games.

Makhov and Ghasemi each originally earned bronze medals. In wrestling, bronze medals are awarded to each match winner in repechage finals.

Ghasemi, whose only loss in London came to gold medalist Taymazov, was originally upgraded to gold by United World Wrestling in 2019. Makhov, whose loss came to Modzmanashvil, was originally upgraded to silver before the later upgrade to a second gold.

American Tervel Dlagnev and Kazakh Daulet Shabanbay, who lost the bronze-medal matches to Ghasemi and Makhov, were upgraded to bronze-medal positions last year, according to United World Wrestling.

Taymazov became the second athlete to be stripped of gold medals from multiple Olympics for doping, losing his London 2012 title two years after giving up his Beijing 2008 crown. Both were because of retests coming back positive for banned steroids.

Wrestling has been contested at every modern Olympics save 1900.

In 1912, Sweden’s Anders Ahlgren and Finland’s Ivar Bohling wrestled for nine hours in a final without deciding a winner, according to Olympedia.org. The match was declared a “double loss” and both awarded silver medals. There was no gold medalist.

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Deajah Stevens, Olympic sprinter, suspended through Tokyo Games

Deajah Stevens
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Deajah Stevens, a U.S. Olympic 200m sprinter, was suspended through Aug. 15, 2021, for missing drug tests, ruling her out of the Tokyo Games unless she successfully appeals.

Stevens, who placed seventh in Rio, missed three drug tests in 2019, grounds for a suspension between one and two years.

The exact length depends on an athlete’s degree of fault and, with the timing in this case, determined whether she would be banned through the Olympics.

Full details of her case are here.

The 18-month ban was backdated to Feb. 17, the date that Stevens requested her case be expedited. Her last of three missed tests was Nov. 25.

Stevens’ lawyer requested the suspension be backdated to the third missed test, which would have kept her eligible for the Olympics, or the date of Stevens’ request for an expedited hearing on Feb. 17, which could have kept her Olympic eligible if the ban was closer to one year.

For Stevens’ second missed test, she did not hear door knocks from a back bedroom. The drug tester called her five times but never received an answer. Stevens said her phone was out of battery power.

For her last missed test, the drug tester again tried to call Stevens. But Stevens changed her phone number six weeks earlier, after somebody was harassing her and threatening her fiance’s life. She had not yet notified drug-testing authorities that she changed her number.

“Despite our sympathy for the athlete, we have not been satisfied on a balance of probability that her behavior was not negligent and did not cause or contribute to her failure to be available for testing,” a disciplinary tribunal found. “She already had missed two doping tests in the last six months. She should have been on red alert and conscious that she could not miss the next one.”

Stevens’ initial provisional suspension was announced May 1 ahead of a June 25 disciplinary tribunal hearing.

Stevens, 25, was disqualified from the 2019 U.S. Outdoor Championships 200m semifinals in her only outdoor meet of the year, according to World Athletics.

She ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in the 200m in 2017 (and placed fifth at the world championships), No. 31 in 2018 and No. 59 in 2019.

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