Christian Coleman’s ban reduced, will still miss Olympics

Christian Coleman
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Christian Coleman, the Olympic 100m favorite before being banned last year over missed drug tests, had his suspension reduced from two years to 18 months on appeal. He will still miss the Tokyo Games.

“While I appreciate that the arbitrators correctly found that I am a clean athlete, I am obviously disappointed that I will miss the Olympic Games this summer,” Coleman, the 2019 World champion, said in a statement, his first public acknowledgement that he will not compete in Tokyo. “I look forward to representing the United States at both World Championships in 2022 [indoors and outdoors], especially the first ever World Championships held in the United States next summer where I plan to defend my world title against a new Olympic champion in the 100 meters.”

A Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel cut Coleman’s ban from the maximum two years to 18 months, deciding his degree of negligence was lower than previously found.

Coleman is suspended into mid-November for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span, all in 2019. The penalty for “whereabouts failures” is one to two years depending on degree of fault for first-time offenders like Coleman.

Coleman was provisionally banned on May 14, 2020, five months after the last missed test. Then, after a hearing, he was given the full two-year suspension in late October, retroactively dated to May 14. A panel said that Coleman lied about being at his home before the end of a one-hour window to be tested on Dec. 9, 2019, his last of three strikes.

Coleman appealed to CAS, hoping to get the ban reduced to be eligible for June’s Olympic Trials. A hearing was held in February.

“The athlete should have been on ‘high-alert’ on that day [Dec. 9], given the two existing whereabout failures against him,” according to CAS.

Coleman has never failed a drug test. The CAS panel reinforced that it believes Coleman is a clean athlete who did not avoid being tested.

The panel also was sympathetic to Coleman’s assertion that he did not receive a phone call from the drug tester in an attempt to find him. A call is not required, but Coleman said that he received calls every other time he was not at home for a drug test.

“Closer examination of the training material in fact suggests that the training received by the athlete reinforced the practice of a DCO [doping control officer] placing a call before the expiry of the 60-minute slot,” according to excerpts of the CAS decision published by Coleman’s agency.

Coleman, 25, succeeded the retired Usain Bolt as the world’s fastest man, clocking the world’s fastest time in the 100m in 2017, 2018 and 2019, including taking gold at the world championships in Doha on Sept. 28, 2019.

The missed tests in 2019 were Jan. 16, April 26 and Dec. 9, with the second instance specified as a filing failure. A filing failure, in this case, meant Coleman incorrectly filled out quarterly forms to notify drug testers where to find him, and received a strike when testers showed up to that location, and he was not present.

Coleman contested the April 26 filing failure and the Dec. 9 missed test.

He focused on the Dec. 9 missed test in June 2020 comments, saying he returned home from Christmas shopping and Chipotle before the end of a one-hour window that drug testers said they waited for him. That hour was 7:15-8:15 p.m. at his Lexington, Ky., home.

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

Coleman had receipts showing he was shopping at least from 7:13 p.m., bought Chipotle at 7:53 and, after he said he returned home, bought 16 items from a Walmart Supercenter at 8:22.

The 2020 tribunal rejected Coleman’s argument, saying its two drug testers were standing directly in front of Coleman’s apartment between 7:15 and 8:15 and would have noticed if he entered the apartment during that hour.

The tribunal also deemed it impossible that Coleman could have bought Chipotle at 7:53, driven home, parked his car, went into his home, eaten the Chipotle, watched the 8:15 kickoff, driven to the Walmart, picked up 16 items and paid for them by 8:22.

“It is obvious that in fact the athlete did not go home until after making his 8:22pm purchase,” according to the 2020 decision. “We are comfortably satisfied that this is what happened.”

Neither the 2020 tribunal nor Friday’s CAS release mentioned Coleman’s other assertion, that the address on the missed drug test report was incorrect — “He messed up the two or three words in my address,” Coleman previously said. “Maybe he was at the right place. Maybe he wasn’t. I don’t know.”

The tribunal also noted that, in summer 2019, Coleman “had the narrowest possible escape” from a potential ban when he was cleared in a case of missed tests when a violation was procedurally backdated, meaning the third strike came more than 12 months after the first one.

He continued competing in 2019 — 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. That strike came on Dec. 9.

Had Coleman’s suspension started on or shortly after Dec. 9, he would still be eligible for the Olympics.

Suspensions generally do not start on the date of the last missed test for procedural reasons but can be backdated “if there are substantial delays in the hearing process that are not attributable to the athlete,” according to the Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles such cases for track and field, “but there were no such delays in this case.”

Coleman, a 2016 Olympic 4x100m relay member, had a goal to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the Tokyo Games.

The world’s second-fastest 100m sprinter in 2019 was Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion who is bidding for the same Olympic triple.

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final