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Madisyn Cox sues after swimming suspension over multivitamin

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Madisyn Cox, the 2017 World bronze medalist in the 200m individual medley, sued an affiliate of a supplement company after saying its contaminated multivitamins caused her to fail a drug test and get suspended last year.

Cox’s ban was reduced from two years to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she argued that the positive test was due to a legal Cooper Complete multivitamin that had been contaminated. The company, Cooper Concepts, Inc., said Tuesday afternoon that it had not received a lawsuit.

“However, when we learned about this issue we were stunned and angered and removed that vitamin immediately from our product line,” it said in a statement. “We are saddened and disappointed for Madisyn Cox and the time she missed in competition.”

She was still forced to miss the 2018 U.S. Championships, the qualifying meet for the two biggest international events before the 2020 Olympics. Cox could not qualify for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships or this summer’s world championships.

Cox said she had taken the multivitamin for seven years, listing it on doping-control forms since entering the drug-testing pool in 2014, and passed more than 20 drug tests in that span without incident.

“Cox was forced to miss several major events and to return fees, grants and prizes from the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming, and was unable to pursue lucrative corporate sponsorships,” Cox’s legal team wrote in a press release Tuesday. “In addition to that lost income, Ms. Cox and her family incurred considerable expense in hiring several medical and legal experts to seek the source of the banned substance and a complete revocation of her suspension.”

Cox originally thought she ingested the banned substance Trimetazidine, a medication used to treat angina, through tap water.

She failed a drug test Feb. 5, 2018, and was originally banned four years. That punishment was cut in half after a FINA panel agreed that Cox did not intend to dope, though it did not accept that tap water was the definite source.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced the ban to six months after Cox produced multiple bottles of the multivitamin, and the tablets were found to have four nanograms per tablet of the banned substance.

“The shock, pain and emotional trauma she has bravely faced are almost incalculable, and we will be doing everything possible to gain justice for Madisyn and her family,” Cox’s attorney said in the release. “We also hope to force this company and this industry to do a better job in assuring the purity of their products and the proper labeling of each product’s ingredients.”

Cox ranks No. 1 in the U.S. in the 200m IM this year, winning the event at a Pro Series stop in Richmond last week.

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Swimming short-course records in peril as FINA recognizes ISL times

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In the debut season of the International Swimming League, six U.S. short-course records have fallen. USA Swimming has recognized the new circuit’s times from the outset.

International body FINA, which at first threatened to ban swimmers who participated in the ISL and then said it would not recognize records from the team-based league, which debuted in October and will hold its first final meet Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is now recognizing those times, and the effects on its statistics have been drastic.

MORE: Ledecky sets U.S. record in ISL debut

This morning, a downloaded list of the top times in the world this year included no ISL times. By the afternoon, times from the ISL’s meet over the weekend in College Park, Md., accounted for most of the times on the lists, including the top 10 in the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 100m freestyle.

So far, the ISL hasn’t figured into the top five on many all-time FINA lists. But the best short-course times are typically posted near the end of the year, and the ISL has two meets remaining.

The U.S. record book has already changed. In October, Katie Ledecky set the 400m freestyle record (3:54.06) and Melanie Margalis set the 200m medley mark (2:04.18).

In College Park this weekend, Margalis also set the U.S. 400m medley record (4:24.46) and Ian Finnerty set two records the 50m breaststroke (25.99), with runner-up Michael Andrew also beating the previous record, and the 100m breaststroke (56.29). Also, Caeleb Dressel set the 50m butterfly record (22.21).

Only half of the swimmers in the ISL will advance to the final, and qualification isn’t necessarily in their hands. After the College Park meet, the Cali Condors and LA Current clinched spots in Las Vegas. That’s bad news for Andrew (New York Breakers), Finnerty (DC Trident) and Ledecky (DC Trident).

Dressel, Margalis and Lilly King — all representing the Condors — will have another shot at records in Vegas. 

FINA, as usual, is running its World Cup circuit during the fall and early winter, and some swimmers — including overall World Cup champions Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell — are pulling double duty between the World Cup and ISL.

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IOC announces deal with Airbnb to add housing for future Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has moved to help with the scramble to house the influx of athletes, staff and spectators with each Olympics, making a deal with online housing broker Airbnb to add accommodations for the Games through 2028.

“The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, minimize the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities,” the IOC announced.

Airbnb’s partnership also includes accommodation for disability athletes for the Paralympic Games, and the company will join large global companies such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Panasonic as worldwide Olympic partners.

Athletes also will have a chance to make money by hosting travelers.

“As an Olympian host, you can create and lead an experience inspired by your expertise and interests,” reads an explanation on the Olympic athlete support portal Athlete365.

Outside the Olympics and Olympic athlete experiences, the IOC and Airbnb are pledging to work together on long-term support to refugees.

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