Australian Olympic swimmer banned 12 months

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Two-time Australian Olympic swimmer Thomas Fraser-Holmes was banned 12 months for missing three drug tests in a one-year period, according to Australian media.

It’s a standard punishment for Olympic sports athletes who commit “whereabouts failures,” not properly updating their locations for drug-testing availability or not being present at said locations for random, out-of-competition tests.

Fraser-Holmes’ lawyer disputed. He is expected to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“It was acknowledged by a number of authorities that the data recording system that Tom was required to use on a daily basis to log his whereabouts was faulty,” the lawyer said, according to the Daily Telegraph in Australia. “A technical fault in the system prevented Tom from updating his whereabouts information. Yet, the FINA [International Aquatics Federation] panel found that he had been ‘negligent’ in this particular area.

“He’s incredibly disappointed by the ruling from the FINA doping panel, particularly in light of the fact that he’s never cheated. He’s provided more than 200 cleans tests,” the lawyer added, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“He gave testimony at the hearing that he’s been tested 200 times, has never been in breach and never returned a positive test. He knows there are competitors out there that have cheated the system.”

It was announced last month that Fraser-Holmes and 2016 Olympic 200m butterfly silver medalist Madeline Groves were among three Australian swimmers who had missed three tests in a 12-month period and were facing bans of up to two years.

Groves’ punishment has not been announced.

It was reported in March that Groves and Fraser-Holmes would skip the 2017 Australian Championships and the 2017 World Championships. Bans could keep them out of the April 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

It is not known whether their third missed drug tests occurred before they decided to sit out the big meets of 2017.

Fraser-Holmes led off the Australian 4x200m free relay that finished fourth in Rio and missed the individual podium in the 400m individual medley and 200m freestyle.

He said one of the three missed drug tests came because he was late getting home from dinner.

“In normal society, we all make mistakes,” Fraser-Holmes said on Australia’s 7 News in May. “We’re all late sometimes.”

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Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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