Michael Phelps doubts clean fields, world records at Tokyo Olympics

Michael Phelps
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On a scale of one to 10 — one being everybody cheating and 10 being spotless in terms of doping — Michael Phelps predicted the Tokyo Olympics would be a “four or five.”

It wasn’t clear if Phelps was being asked about swimming specifically or all sports.

Phelps, four years into retirement, repeated comments he made at a 2017 congressional hearing examining the international anti-doping system.

“I can honestly say throughout my whole entire career, I don’t know if I ever competed in a clean field. If that’s the case, then, yeah, I don’t think anything’s changed,” he said in a CNN video interview published Friday.

Phelps guaranteed that no athlete has been drug tested as much as him at the Olympic level. In 2017, the swimmer said that he was tested 13 times in the six months leading up to the Rio Games.

Drug testing varies in stringency from country to country outside of the Olympic Games. International federations also test athletes, and doping controls at the Olympics are streamlined.

“The fact that we’re not held on the same playing field is really upsetting,” Phelps said. “Until we’re all held on the same level, nothing’s going to change.”

Also last week, Phelps reportedly said he believed it was unlikely swimming world records will fall at the Tokyo Games.

“Pushing [the Olympics] back by a year throws a bigger loop into it than everybody thinks,” he said, according to Reuters. “The best of the best will fight back. and you’re going to see some fast swims. But world records? I don’t think so.

“With all these pools being shut down, somebody would have to be damn near perfect for the rest of the preparation to have that chance.”

Two of Phelps’ three world records in individual Olympic events were broken at last year’s world championships. American Caeleb Dressel and Hungarian Kristof Milak took down the 100m and 200m butterfly marks, respectively. In all, world records were broken in nine Olympic events at those worlds.

Multiple swimming world records have fallen at every Olympics in the last 68 years, since the number of events eclipsed 11. There will be 37 events in Tokyo.

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Wimbledon reverses ban on Russia, Belarus tennis players

Wimbledon Russia

Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at Wimbledon as neutral athletes after the All England Club on Friday reversed its ban from last year.

The players must sign declarations of neutrality and comply with “appropriate conditions,” including not expressing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted,” All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said in a statement.

The players cannot receive funding from the Russian or Belarusian states, including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the states.

Those impacted include Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Russian players Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.

Other tennis tournaments have allowed Russian and Belarusian players to compete as neutral athletes.

“We also consider alignment between the Grand Slams to be increasingly important in the current tennis environment,” the club said.

The same conditions will apply for Lawn Tennis Association tournaments used by players as grass-court warmups for the sport’s oldest Grand Slam tournament.

The women’s and men’s professional tennis tours last year imposed heavy fines on the LTA and threatened to pull its tournaments. The ATP and WTA had also responded to last year’s ban by not awarding ranking points for Wimbledon — an unprecedented move against the prestigious event.

“There was a strong and very disappointing reaction from some governing bodies in tennis to the position taken by the All England Club and the LTA last year with consequences which, if continued, would be damaging to the interests of players, fans, The Championships and British tennis,” the club said.

This year’s Wimbledon tournament will start on July 3. The women’s final is scheduled for July 15 and the men’s final on July 16.

The All England Club said the conditions were developed through talks with the British government, the LTA and “international stakeholder bodies in tennis.”

The club’s statement described “personal player declarations” but didn’t provide details. The LTA said the players and support staff “will be required to sign neutrality declarations” similar to those used in other sports.

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2023 World Junior Gymnastics Championships live stream schedule

World Junior Gymnastics Championships

The world junior gymnastics championships individual finals stream live on the International Gymnastics Federation YouTube channel from Friday through Sunday.

Already this week, Japan swept the men’s and women’s team titles in Antalya, Turkey. The U.S. women took silver.

The U.S. women in Friday’s all-around final are Izzy Stassi (qualified fourth) and Jayla Hang (qualified 22nd). The U.S. men in Friday’s all-around final are Kai Uemura (qualified 11th) and David Shamah (qualified 14th).

Americans also advanced to four of this weekend’s apparatus finals: women’s vault (Stassi, Hang), uneven bars (Hezly Rivera) and floor exercise (Rivera, Hang) and men’s still rings (Uemura).

Gymnastics added a biennial junior worlds starting in 2019. The 2021 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Women ages 14 or 15 and men ages 15 through 18 compete.

The U.S. team in 2019 included future senior world team members Skye Blakely, Kayla DiCello and Konnor McClain.

2023 World Junior Gymnastics Championships Live Stream Schedule

Day Competition Time (ET) Platform
Friday Men’s All-Around 7:30 a.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK
Women’s All-Around 12 p.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK
Saturday Apparatus Finals 7 a.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK
Sunday Apparatus Finals 7 a.m. FIG YouTube | LIVE STREAM LINK

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