Christian Coleman
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Christian Coleman suspended after disputed missed drug test

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World 100m champion Christian Coleman was provisionally suspended for missing drug tests, a ban he saw coming after appealing his last missed test Dec. 9.

Coleman detailed his case Tuesday night, saying a drug tester did not make an adequate attempt to find him.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which handles doping cases for track and field, listed Coleman as provisionally suspended for “whereabouts failures” — any combination of three missed drug tests and/or filing failures in a 12-month period. A filing failure could mean incorrectly filling out forms to tell drug testers where an athlete can be found, or not submitting quarterly forms at all.

Olympic-level athletes must be available for out-of-competition drug testing 365 days a year, providing their daily whereabouts, including a more specific daily one-hour window, to help drug testers find them. Coleman has never failed a drug test.

A provisional suspension is for an unspecified period, defined as one “prior to a final decision at a hearing.” Neither the AIU nor Coleman has said if or when a hearing is scheduled. In whereabouts failures cases, a suspension, once finalized, is one to two years depending on degree of fault. That puts Coleman’s 2021 Olympic hopes in jeopardy even if a ban is backdated.

“A [two-year ban] would just be very egregious,” Coleman, who is still appealing, said on the Flotrack podcast. “I think that would be very, I don’t know, overkill. In situations in the past, I’ve seen people be suspended for only a year. If that’s the case, hopefully it can be a situation where it’s December to December or maybe May to May or from this day to next year, and I’ll still be good for the Olympics. That’s what’s most important.

“Even if we had to work out some sort of deal or anything, I don’t know, man, for me to just be suspended a year and still be available for the Olympics, I’m not sure, but I think in the rulebook it says two years. I’ve never seen that done or happen or anybody face that, so we’ll see. Everything’s just kind of like up in the air.”

Coleman said the drug tester did not attempt to call to find him and that he has received phone calls every other time he was not at home for a drug test.

“The lack of any telephone call does not give the Athlete a defence to the assertion of a Missed Test,” the AIU said in an email Wednesday, noting it is not commenting on Coleman’s ongoing case. “Testing conducted by the AIU is on a no-advanced notice basis and instructions not to make any phone call to an Athlete are given to Doping Control Officers [drug testers] by the AIU (with limited exceptions).”

Coleman’s other defenses: the address on the missed drug test report was incorrect — “He messed up the two or three words in my address,” Coleman said on the Flotrack podcast. “Maybe he was at the right place. Maybe he wasn’t. I don’t know.”

Coleman also said he returned home before the end of the one-hour window that the drug tester said they waited for him. That hour was 7:15-8:15 p.m.

“I know that I was there within the hour because I watched the beginning of the Monday Night Football game,” Coleman said on the podcast. “Of course, that’s he said, she said. It’s not really much I can do. There’s no real proof of that.”

Last summer, Coleman was cleared in a case of missed tests when a violation was backdated, meaning the third strike came more than 12 months after the first one.

He continued competing — winning that world title to cement Olympic favorite status — with two strikes on his record from January and April. That meant another strike before Jan. 16, 2020, would be his third in a 12-month period and could result in a suspension.

Coleman, a 2016 Olympic 4x100m relay member, was the world’s fastest 100m sprinter in 2017, 2018 and 2019, succeeding the retired Usain Bolt. His goal is to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Tokyo Games.

The world’s second-fastest 100m sprinter last year was Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion who is bidding for the same Olympic triple.

MORE: World 400m champion explains missed drug tests

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Coco Gauff upsets 9th seed to start French Open

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Coco Gauff notched yet another impressive Grand Slam match win, taking out ninth seed Jo Konta in her French Open main draw debut on Sunday.

Gauff, a 16-year-old American, upset the Brit Konta, a 2019 French Open semifinalist, 6-3, 6-3 on the first day of play at Roland Garros despite 12 double faults. Konta had 41 unforced errors to 22 winners.

“Every match is a great win,” said Gauff, the youngest player in either singles draw. “I don’t really take anything for granted because I’m just happy to be playing. I don’t think maybe winning Slams, matches at Slams is something I’m used to. Especially, this is my first main draw Roland Garros. When I’m on the court. I can act like I’m used to it. When I’m off the court, I’m just happy to be here.”

The clay-court Slam was postponed from May due to the coronavirus pandemic, is being held with damp temperatures in the 50s and has limited spectators to 1,000 per day.

“I’m pretty sure this is my first ever pro tournament, maybe even tournament in general, playing in weather like this,” said Gauff, noting she warmed up for 20 minutes before going on court so she could walk in with a sweat.

Gauff, the 2018 French Open junior champion, gets Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan in the second round after playing a match in leggings for the first time in about six years.

She’s coming off an impressive last year-plus, reaching the fourth round at the most recent Wimbledon and Australian Open. In between, she became the youngest WTA tournament champion since 2004. She recorded wins over Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka.

Gauff will bid over the next nine months to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team outright by being among the top four Americans in WTA rankings after the 2021 French Open. Therefore, her result at this French Open will not count toward Olympic qualifying.

She is currently ranked 51st overall and eighth among Americans.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Earlier Sunday, Williams finished her 2020 with a third first-round loss in as many Grand Slam tournaments — 6-4, 6-4 to Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

With the WTA’s autumn Asian swing canceled, Williams said she won’t play before next season starts in Australia.

Williams, 40 years old and ranked 76th, will need a scintillating start to 2021 to make the U.S. Olympic team in singles. She is currently the 14th-highest-ranked American. If she doesn’t make it in singles, Williams (or Gauff) could be chosen as a doubles-only player for the Tokyo Games.

Top seed Simona Halep took the last 10 games of her 6-4, 6-0 win over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo. Halep, who is on a 15-match win streak dating to February, could play Gauff in the quarterfinals.

On the men’s side, Stan Wawrinka swept Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in a battle of three-time major champions and a rematch of their life-changing 2017 semifinal in Paris.

“I need to have a long, hard think about it,” Murray said. “I don’t feel like the conditions are an excuse for it.”

It marked Murray’s first match on clay since that semi, won by Wawrinka in five sets. After that match three years ago, Wawrinka underwent two knee surgeries and Murray had two hip surgeries. Neither has made a Grand Slam semifinal since, and Murray nearly retired due to hip problems.

U.S. men went 3-0 on Sunday after winning one match total at the 2019 French Open.

The most notable victor: Sebastian Korda, the 20-year-old son of Czech 1998 Australian Open winner Petr Korda and brother of Nelly Korda, the world’s second-ranked female golfer.

Korda beat Italian veteran Andreas Seppi 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to become the youngest U.S. man to win a French Open main-draw match since 18-year-old Andy Roddick defeated Michael Chang in 2001.

Korda, after his first tour-level win, gets John Isner in the second round.

Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, each trying to tie Grand Slam singles titles records, play first-round matches on Monday.

MORE: Halep, Comaneci and the genesis of a Romanian friendship

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Julian Alaphilippe wins world road race title with late attack

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Julian Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman to win a road cycling world title in 23 years, attacking late and holding on to prevail by 24 seconds in Imola, Italy, on Sunday.

Alaphilippe, who wore the Tour de France yellow jersey for 16 stages between the last two years, went clear from a star-filled group at the top of the last climb with about eight miles left of a 160-mile day.

“It was a dream of my career, you know,” said Alaphilippe, whose best previous worlds finish was eighth. “I came here with, for sure, a lot of ambition. It’s just a dream day for me.”

Belgian Wout van Aert took silver, followed by Swiss Marc Hirschi in a five-man bunch sprint for the last two medals. Van Aert also earned silver in the time trial on Friday.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who was second in the Tour de France, finished sixth in the same time as the silver and bronze medalists after more than six and a half hours of racing.

The top American was Sepp Kuss in 52nd place, 12:35 behind.

Full results are here.

The last Frenchmen to win world titles were Laurent Brochard (road race) and Laurent Jalabert (time trial) in 1997.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who won the Tour de France last Sunday, attacked with 26 miles left. He led by as much as 25 seconds before being reeled back in with about 13 miles to go.

The cycling season continues with the last two Grand Tours, each starting later than normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Giro d’Italia begins Oct. 3, and the Vuelta a Espana starts Oct. 20, before the Giro finishes.

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MORE: A more equal future for women’s cycling? Lizzie Deignan has high hopes