Garrett Scantling, world’s top decathlete, banned three years

Garrett Scantling
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Garrett Scantling, the world’s top decathlete this year by best score, was banned three years, through the 2024 Paris Olympics, in a case of missing (but not failing) drug tests and/or not filing complete information to be found for drug testing.

Scantling’s ban was backdated to June 27, the date he committed what the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) called “a tampering violation” and two months after his third “whereabouts failure” in a 12-month span.

Three whereabouts failures — usually not being present for out-of-competition drug tests — in a 12-month span can trigger up to a two-year suspension. The specifics of Scantling’s whereabouts failures have not been published.

Scantling then provided an altered email during an investigation into his third whereabouts failure, constituting the tampering violation, according to USADA.

“Just such an unfortunate situation,” Scantling said in a text on Friday. “I worked so hard to get into the position that I was in. But one mistake alters the whole course of my career. I own it, and I take responsibility no matter how harsh the consequences may seem for a clean athlete. Now I am going to start training youth and keep building my coaching resume while I take care of my body for a POSSIBLE return in 2025. But for now I am just trying to move on and be happy with what I have accomplished so far in my life, knowing that I still have so much left to go!”

Scantling was first provisionally suspended in July, ruling him out of the world championships while his case played out. Scantling was successfully drug tested nine times between his first whereabouts failure on Aug. 25, 2021 and the start of his provisional suspension on July 21, according to USADA.

“Unfortunately, there’s no leniency for being forgetful, you have to accept responsibility and move on,” Scantling posted on social media when the provisional ban was announced in July.

Scantling had what would have been a four-year ban reduced to three years because he admitted the violation and accepted the sanction within 20 days of notification.

Scantling had the world’s best decathlon score of the year at the time — 8,867 points — a score that would have won the world championships and remains the best in the world this year. He was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics.

“The rules keeping sport fair and clean can be inconvenient and burdensome, but athletes fulfilling their obligations under the rules is critical to protect the integrity of competition for all,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a press release. “Even when a rule violation, like in this case, does not involve the use of prohibited drugs, it is paramount that truthful, open, and complete cooperation happens with organizations like USADA and the Athletics Integrity Unit when investigating any potential rule violations.”

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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