Track and field world records could be wiped in bid backed by Seb Coe

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IAAF president Seb Coe likes a proposal to strip older track and field world records due to weak drug testing in past eras.

The European Athletic Association’s record “revolution” plan calls for the “rewriting” of track and field’s world-record list.

If an athlete set a world record, but their doping sample from the event was not stored for the next 10 years for retesting, the record would be stripped under the plan. The IAAF began saving doping samples from its championship meets in 2005.

Current world records set before 2005 include Florence Griffith-Joyner in the 100m and 200m (both in 1988) and Hicham El Guerrouj in the 1500m and the mile (1998 and 1999).

The new criteria for world records also mandates that an athlete must have been drug tested a certain number of times in the 12 months before he or she set the record. That to-be-announced number is likely to be six tests, according to the Guardian.

This could also impact recent world records, given the much-publicized lack of drug testing in recent years in countries including Jamaica and Kenya.

Also, an athlete that has a “serious breach of the rules” after setting a world record will be stripped of the record.

The plan will be considered at an IAAF council meeting in August, according to European Athletics.

“I like this because it underlines that we [the governing bodies] have put into place doping control systems and technology that are more robust and safer than 15 or even 10 years ago,” IAAF president Seb Coe said, according to a press release. “There will be athletes, current record holders, who will feel that the history we are recalibrating will take something away from them, but I think this is a step in the right direction, and if organized and structured properly, we have a good chance of winning back credibility in this area.”

Under the proposal, the four-time Olympic medalist Coe would presumably be stripped of his European 1000m record since it was set in 1981, before doping samples began being stored for retesting.

If a record is stripped under the proposal, nobody will be upgraded to be the new world-record holder. Rather, an unspecified limit would be set for a new record to be established at a future date.

“Performance records that show the limits of human capabilities are one of the great strengths of our sport, but they are meaningless if people don’t really believe them,” European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen said in a press release. “What we are proposing is revolutionary, not just because most world and European records will have to be replaced, but because we want to change the concept of a record and raise the standards for recognition a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board.

“It’s a radical solution for sure, but those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long.”

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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