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

Garrett Scantling

BELGRADE, SERBIA - MARCH 18: Garrett Scantling of the USA looks on after competing in Heat 2 of the Men’s Heptathlon 60m during day one of the World Athletics Indoor Championships at the Belgrade Arena on March 18, 2022 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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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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