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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World Alpine Skiing Championships on for 2021 after request to delay rejected

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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GENEVA (AP) — A request by the organizers of next year’s skiing world championships in Italy to postpone the event by one year was rejected Thursday by the International Ski Federation.

FIS ruled that the event will go ahead from Feb. 9-21, 2021, in Cortina d’Ampezzo — the highlight of an Alpine season that faces challenges to find safe protocols for international travel and attending races in Europe, North America and China.

The Veneto region of northern Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus and the season-ending World Cup races in Cortina in mid-March were canceled. That week-long event was to be a test for the 2021 worlds.

“The last month of efforts to come to this solution demonstrates the strong collaborative spirit of the ski family and stakeholders.” FIS president Gian-Franco Kasper said.

Organizers in Italy have said they expect losses of about 30 million euros ($34 million) if the worlds are also canceled. They asked for a postponement to March 2022, which would be only weeks after the Beijing Olympics.

“But we will be ready in any case and we will show that these world championships can change the history of a region despite the current difficulties,” Alessandro Benetton, president of the Cortina organizing committee, said in a statement.

Italian racer Sofia Goggia, the 2018 Olympic downhill champion, said she was “happy for Cortina because it will host the first major international event after the coronavirus epidemic.”

Cortina, which hosted the 1956 Olympics, will co-host the 2026 Winter Games with Milan and use the worlds as a showcase for the resort.

The women’s World Cup downhill on the Olympia delle Tofane course each January is one of the most scenic in the sport with a signature jump between tall outcrops of jagged rock.

The Dolomites venue was awarded the 2021 worlds by FIS after missing out as a candidate four straight times from 2013-19.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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Russia track and field athlete clearance frozen due to unpaid fine

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MONACO (AP) — The program allowing Russian track athletes to compete internationally will be frozen because the country’s federation failed to pay a fine on time, World Athletics said Thursday.

The Russian track federation, known as RusAF, owes a $5 million fine and another $1.31 million in costs for various doping-related work and legal wrangles. World Athletics said RusAF missed Wednesday’s deadline to pay.

World Athletics said it would freeze the work of the Doping Review Board, which vets Russian athletes who want the “authorized neutral athlete” status that allows them to compete internationally, and its taskforce monitoring RusAF’s anti-doping reforms.

World Athletics said both bodies will be “put on hold” until its council meets to discuss the situation at the end of July.

“RusAF is letting its athletes down badly,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “We have done as much as we can to expedite our ANA process and support RusAF with its reinstatement plan, but seemingly to no avail.”

RusAF president Yevgeny Yurchenko earlier told the Tass state news agency that his federation’s finances were damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had asked for more time to pay.

World Athletics’ statement didn’t directly address that issue, but said Russia hadn’t indicated when it would pay.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended for two years, after the federation admitted to breaking anti-doping rules and obstructing an investigation.

The Athletics Integrity Unit said fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test.

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