Lashinda Demus upgraded to Olympic champ by World Athletics, 10 years after race

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American Lashinda Demus has been upgraded from 2012 Olympic 400m hurdles runner-up to champion by World Athletics after original winner Natalya Antyukh of Russia did not appeal her recent retroactive disqualification for doping.

Demus, who originally finished seven hundredths of a second behind Antyukh, is now listed as gold medalist on her World Athletics page. Antyukh was moved from first place to the bottom of the race results, listed as DQ.

Zuzana Hejnová of the Czech Republic was moved from third to second and Jamaican Kaliese Spencer from fourth to third.

The International Olympic Committee has not changed its results to reallocate medals but can still do so. The Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases in track and field, said it notified the IOC last Friday of World Athletics’ results change.

“The reallocation of medals is not automatic,” the IOC press office said Wednesday when asked about the 2012 Olympic women’s 400m hurdles results change. “As a general rule, each reallocation is submitted to the IOC [Executive Board] for approval once the athletes/teams sanctioned have exhausted all their remedies of appeal and when all procedures are closed.”

On Oct. 24, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency announced that Antyukh’s results from July 2012 through June 2013, a stretch that includes the London Games, were stripped due to evidence of doping from historical data. Antyukh, a 41-year-old who last competed in 2016, was already serving a four-year doping ban.

“Hearing the news didn’t impact my mood or feelings being that it has been 10 years since it has happened,” Demus, who last competed in 2016, wrote in an email after the October announcement. “I have mixed emotions about it all. I do believe that if, in fact, there was doping involved with anyone in the Olympics that they should be stripped of their medal. With everything being said it looks like this is the case for my race. I’m not afraid to say that I then deserve the official title, medal, recognition, and missed compensation that goes along with it all. I wouldn’t want any athlete to go through this same situation and I hope that keeping athletes honest in our sport stays at the forefront for those who sacrifice a good part of their life to be great at it.”

In the 2012 Olympic 400m hurdles final, Antyukh, then 31, lowered her personal best by 22 hundredths of a second to hold off Demus by seven hundredths for the gold medal.

“Of course, I wanted the gold medal; I will not stop until I get the gold medal,” Demus told Lewis Johnson on NBC after the race, voicing a desire to return for the 2016 Olympics (which she did not do after a series of injuries).

At the time, Demus was the third-fastest woman in history in the event and the American record holder with a personal best of 52.47.

Demus, a 2004 Olympian, missed the 2008 Beijing Games by one spot at Olympic Trials after giving birth to twins in June 2007. She also won world championships medals in 2005 (silver), 2009 (silver), 2011 (gold) and 2013 (bronze).

Demus becomes, retroactively, the first U.S. woman to win an Olympic 400m hurdles title. Dalilah Muhammad won the event in 2016 and Sydney McLaughlin last year in Tokyo.

Russia originally won eight track and field gold medals at the 2012 Olympics. Due to doping, that number is now down to one pending the IOC medal reallocations — high jumper Anna Chicherova, who was stripped of her 2008 Olympic bronze medal for doping.

The span between Antyukh winning an Olympic medal and it being stripped for doping may be the longest for the Summer Games since Lance Armstrong was stripped of his 2000 Olympic cycling time trial bronze medal more than 12 years after the race. That medal was not reallocated. Spain’s Abraham Olano, the fourth-place finisher, was not upgraded and later had his name come up in a French senate report of cyclists who doped in the 1998 Tour de France.

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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