Getty Images

Christian Coleman speaks out, wants apology over drug-testing matter

1 Comment

Christian Coleman said he deserves an apology, that his reputation as a clean athlete was victimized, as his case of missing drug tests — ultimately thrown out under close examination of a rule — was made public.

“I put my heart and soul into track and field and worked hard to get where I am today,” was posted on Coleman’s social media. “It’s simply disrespectful when fake fans speculate and talk about drugs in relation to the great athletes we have in this sport.

“I shouldn’t have to defend myself but for the first and last time I literally do not take ANY supplements or protein powders. Nothing even legal to help with recovery. Nothing. I work hard at practice, drink water and Powerade, rest, and work even harder the next day. Therefore I have never failed a drug test and never will.”

Coleman, the world’s fastest 100m sprinter each of the last three years, contested an anti-doping rule violation of missing three drug tests in a span of 12 months from 2018 to 2019.

The violation carries at least a one-year ban, even though the athlete may never have tested positive for a banned substance. Coleman would have been in line to miss the world championships that start in two weeks and, possibly, the Tokyo Olympics.

Coleman’s charge was withdrawn by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last week because his first strike was deemed a “filing failure” and not a “missed test” on June 6, 2018. A “missed test” is when a tester shows up during an athlete’s daily one-hour window at his or her listed location. A “filing failure” is when a tester shows up outside that window, though athletes are still required to provide daily locations to be found.

Rules state that filing failures are backdated to the first day of the quarter in which an athlete failed to properly update whereabouts for drug testers. So it was backdated to April 1, 2018.

The other times testers tried to find him and could not were Jan. 16 and April 26 of this year, the latter coming more than 12 months after the first strike once it was backdated. Case withdrawn.

Coleman said he was first notified this past April of the violation for three missed tests. He was upset that media reported on the matter while the case was still ongoing in August.

“We knew the rules,” Coleman said in a video titled ‘My Perspective’ published Wednesday. “We’re telling them this every single time, but they still told us, ‘We have to have a hearing. It’s three missed tests.’ We’re like, OK, cool, if we have a hearing, we know we’re going to win because we’re looking at the rules, and we’re telling them this is the case.”

Coleman said missing two Diamond League meets in late August and legally dealing with the matter cost him at least $150,000. He said he spoke with USADA CEO Travis Tygart over the phone and wants a public apology, though he did not specifically say whom he wants it from.

“The smear of my reputation, that’s something you can’t put a dollar sign on,” he said, adding that he gets tested 30 or 40 times per year, what he called an “absurd” amount compared to other athletes.

Coleman said the matter was about USADA not knowing anti-doping rules, which ended up hurting his reputation.

“The whole thing about it is, their organization [USADA] is designed to protect the athletes, but in that situation, I felt like a victim,” Coleman said. “I felt like I was being attacked, like they were trying to go after the biggest name in the sport.”

USADA declined to respond specifically to Coleman’s comments about his conversation with Tygart and on the organization. It instead directed to the whereabouts section of its website and, specifically, a section about athlete responsibility.

In the video, Coleman detailed the three times a tester could not find him.

For the first one, he forgot to update his whereabouts when he flew to Portland, Ore., to get treatment for an injury.

“That’s my fault,” Coleman said.

For the second, he didn’t update his whereabouts when his weight training session was moved one hour early and up against his daily one-hour window.

“I do take responsibility for that,” he said.

For the last test, this past April, Coleman said he forgot to update his whereabouts when he traveled to attend the Drake Relays in Iowa.

A drug tester showed up to his training base in Kentucky, could not find him and contacted him. He said he asked if a tester could find him at Drake, but it couldn’t be done. He said he went to a third party to get tested anyway, “just to show good faith.”

“I just feel like people don’t realize how easy it is to miss tests,” Coleman said. “There was people out there calling me an idiot. … I don’t know what people look at athletes as, but we’re human beings, and nobody’s perfect. People make mistakes. People have things going on in their life.”

MORE: Wayde van Niekerk to miss world championships

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Cyclist in induced coma after Tour of Poland crash

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was put into an induced coma Wednesday after suffering injuries in a crash on the final stretch of the Tour of Poland, organizers said.

A massive crash at the finish of the first stage resulted in Dylan Groenewegen‘s disqualification from the race.

Leading a bunch sprint, Groenewegen veered toward the right barrier, pinching countryman Jakobsen, who barreled into the barrier meters from the finish line.

Jakobsen went head over heels, his bike went airborne and the barriers exploded onto the road, causing more cyclists to crash.

Jakobsen was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition and was put into an induced coma, the Tour de Pologne press office said.

Doctor Pawel Gruenpeter of the hospital in Sosnowiec said Jakobsen suffered injuries to the head and chest but that his condition was stable at the intensive care unit. Jakobsen will need surgery to his face and skull, Gruenpeter told state broadcaster TVP Sport.

Groenewegen crossed the finish line first but was disqualified, giving Jakobsen the stage win, according to the stage race website.

Groenewegen, a 27-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider, owns four Tour de France stage wins among the last three years.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) “strongly condemned” Groenewegen’s “dangerous” and “unacceptable” behavior. It referred Groenewegen’s actions to a disciplinary commission for possible sanctions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Figure skating Grand Prix Series will be held as ‘domestic’ competitions

Skate America
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Figure skating’s Grand Prix Series will go ahead as scheduled this fall, with modifications due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Skating Union decided Monday.

Each of the series’ six tops around the globe will be “a domestic run event,” limited to skaters of the event’s host country, who regularly train in the host country and from a respective geographical area. The number of disciplines and skaters at each event are to be worked out.

The Grand Prix Series, held annually since 1995, is a six-event fall season, qualifying the top six skaters and teams per discipline to December’s Grand Prix Final. The annual stops are in the U.S., Canada, China, France, Russia and Japan, leading up to the Final, which is held at a different site each year.

The Final is the second-biggest annual competition after the world championships, which are typically in late March. The Final is still scheduled for Beijing, though whether or when it can be held will be discussed.

The series begins in late October with Skate America, which debuted in 1979 and has been held every year since 1988 as the biggest annual international competition in the U.S. Skate America’s site is Las Vegas, just as it was in 2019.

Skaters typically compete twice on the Grand Prix Series (three times if they qualify for the Final). ISU vice president Alexander Lakernik said skaters will be limited to one start in the six-event series before the Final, according to a Russian media quote confirmed by Phil Hersh.

The ISU has not confirmed or denied Lakernik’s assertion.

Most, if not all, top-level U.S. skaters train in the U.S. or Canada. That makes the first two Grand Prix stops — Skate America and Skate Canada — likely destinations. Grand Prix assignments have not been published.

“I appreciate the ISU is open to adapting competitive formats and is working to give athletes opportunities to compete,” Evan Bates, a U.S. ice dance champion with Madison Chock who trains in Montreal, wrote in a text message to Hersh. “This announcement gives reassurance that the ISU is doing their best to ensure a season will still take place. Of course, it’s hard to predict what will happen, and we’re not sure about what country we would compete in. It would probably depend on what the quarantine rules are at that time.”

The January 2021 U.S. Championships are scheduled for San Jose, Calif. The March 2021 World Championships are set for Stockholm.

In July, the ISU canceled the Junior Grand Prix Series for skaters mostly ages 13 to 18, including two-time U.S. champion Alysa Liu, who cannot enter the senior Grand Prix until 2021.

Other early season senior international competitions scheduled for September were also canceled or postponed.

U.S. Figure Skating said in a statement that it will have more details on the Grand Prix Series in the coming weeks after collaborating with an ISU-appointed group.

“This is a great example of the figure skating community coming together to ensure that the world’s premier figure skating series will continue during these challenging times,” the statement read. “Figure skaters want to compete and figure skating fans from all around the world want to see their favorite athletes skate, and this format will ensure just that.”

MORE: World’s top skater leaves famed coach

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!