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Two dozen U.S. medal-winners failed drug tests

The Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Twenty-four American athletes who won Olympic medals from 1988 to 2000 previously tested positive for banned drugs, U.S. Olympic officials said Wednesday.

They insisted, however, that the cases were handled properly without any cover-ups.

The U.S. Olympic Committee was to report the cases to the IOC on Thursday as part of a review of its drug-testing program from 1985 to 2000, spokesman Darryl Seibel said.

“The report will clearly indicate that there was no cover-up and these cases were adjudicated with the applicable rules at the time,” Seibel told The Associated Press.

Seibel said the “vast majority” of the 24 cases involved stimulants in the ephedrine class or similar substances. He declined to identify the athletes or sports involved.

Some of the positive tests occurred years before the athletes won Olympic medals, according to U.S. officials. The punishment at the time for positive ephedrine tests was a warning or three-month suspension.

Confirmation of the 24 cases, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, came on the same day the IOC said it couldn’t take action in the alleged doping case involving U.S. sprinter Jerome Young.

The International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency have been investigating accusations Young tested positive for nandrolone in 1999 but was cleared on appeal by U.S. officials. He went on to win a gold medal in Sydney as part of the 1,600-meter relay team.

WADA chairman Dick Pound has pushed for the gold medals to be stripped from Young and the rest of the relay team.

“No legal action can be taken at this point by the IOC,” said IOC director general Francois Carrard, part of the four-member investigative panel. “The IOC can only contemplate legal action if the matter is reconsidered by the IAAF.”

The IAAF said it, too, was powerless to act unless Young comes forward and admits to the positive test.

IAAF anti-doping chief Arne Ljungqvist said his federation is bound by a ruling in January from the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, which said USA Track & Field did not have to divulge details of 13 positive cases from 1996-2000.

“We can not ask USATF to submit any information since this is what CAS decided,” Ljungqvist told the AP. However, he added that if the athlete comes forward, “then we would have a new situation.”

Young, who won gold in the 400 meters and 1,600-meter relay at last month’s World Championships, has said he never committed a doping offense.

The USOC said it would cooperate.

“We will provide the IOC with as much information as possible to answer their questions and bring closure to these important issues,” Seibel said.

The investigative panel was formed after the accusations against Young were reported by the Los Angeles Times. The case was never disclosed by U.S. officials.

Carrard said the panel did not speak to Young or any other outside witnesses.

The IAAF repeatedly demanded that USA Track & Field disclose the names of athletes who were cleared of doping offenses before the Sydney Olympics. USATF refused, citing confidentiality rules, and the dispute went to the arbitration court.

Carrard said the disclosure of Young’s name would allow for the ruling to be reopened.

“We think there should be some course of action following the disclosure of the name of the athlete,” Carrard said. “The IAAF should exercise its own authority to bring USA Track & Field to order so that the whole matter can be reconsidered. We think this is a matter of principle.”

The IOC asked for a full report on the American drug-testing program after the USOC’s former doping control chief contended many athletes failed tests but competed in the Olympics once the USOC cleared them on grounds of inadvertent use.

The USOC delegation will be led by acting president Bill Martin.

On another issue, the IOC said it will decide May 18 which bid cities to accept in the race for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The nine preliminary candidates are New York; Paris; London; Moscow; Madrid, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Leipzig, Germany, and Havana, Cuba.

IOC president Jacques Rogge has said the IOC could keep all nine cities rather than reduce the field to a short list. The host city will be selected in 2005.

Also Wednesday, Rogge said the committee will open bidding for TV rights to the games to all interested broadcasters for auction. The move will have particular impact in Europe, where Olympic rights have traditionally been granted in a bloc to the European Broadcasting Union, a consortium of networks.

OLYMPICS

  • The Senate has agreed to streamline the United States Olympic Committee in hopes of bringing more accountability to the scandal-ridden organization.

    Legislation, approved by voice vote Tuesday night, would dramatically scale back the USOC’s governing structure and provides more congressional oversight.

    Instead of 124 members, the new USOC board of directors would have nine members, plus the U.S. delegates to the International Olympic Committee and a representative from the Olympic Assembly.

    “I believe the reforms in our bill today are necessary adjustments that will return the focus of the United States Olympic Committee to our original intent, our American athletes,” said Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

    Since the 2000 Games in Sydney, the Olympic committee has had four chief executives and three presidents and endured a bribery scandal involving Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympic bid.

    Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., had been holding up the legislation to get assurances that the USOC would keep its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. The legislation now requires the USOC to remain in Colorado Springs until the full board and a supermajority of the larger U.S. Olympic Assembly agree.

    A House subcommittee, meanwhile, approved a similar bill Wednesday. Like the Senate measure, the bill advanced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s trade and consumer protection subcommittee would cut the USOC board of directors to nine members plus the U.S. delegates to the International Olympic Committee.

    BASKETBALL

  • Allen Iverson signed a multiyear contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

    “I always wanted to be a Sixer. I always wanted to finish my career as a Sixer,” the three-time NBA scoring champion said as the deal was announced at a special event for season ticket-holders Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center.

    Terms were not announced, but a team source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the extension was for four years, keeping Iverson in Philadelphia through the 2008-09 season, and would pay him $76.7 million over four years.

    Iverson has one year plus an option remaining on his current deal, which will pay him more than $28 million over the next two years. The extension begins in 2005-06.

    Iverson averaged 27.6 points last season, helping Philadelphia finish 48-34 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. He was the NBA’s MVP in 2000-01, when he led the 76ers to the Eastern Conference championship for the first time since 1983.

    In seven seasons, Iverson is averaging 27.0 points and 5.6 assists. This summer, he helped the U.S. team qualify for next year’s Olympics.

    Iverson had a contentious relationship with former 76ers coach Larry Brown, who left to coach the Detroit Pistons after last season. Iverson gets along well with new coach Randy Ayers, who was Brown’s assistant.

    HOCKEY

  • The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms Wednesday with restricted free agent defenseman Jay McKee on a two-year contract.

    McKee will make $1.7 million this year and $2.2 million next season. The deal also includes a club option for the 2005-06 season that would pay him between $2.3 and $2.45 million if it is picked up by the Sabres.

    “It’s what we wanted,” Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said. “It’s a good day anytime you can get a guy like Jay back in the fold.”

    McKee is coming off a four-year deal in which he made $1.53 million last season. The Sabres had been offering just a one-year deal until talks finally broke through on Wednesday.

    McKee missed the first 12 days of preseason preparations, but while he was not with the Sabres he was skating with the Niagara University hockey team.

    “Jay’s quite happy to be back on the ice with Sabres players,” McKee’s agent Pat Morris said.

    One of the steadier defenseman in the NHL, McKee was hampered last season by a knee injury that forced him to miss 21 games. McKee had no goals and just five points in 59 games in what was his worst offensive output as a pro.

    “He’s got to get back to playing a more physical type of game,” Regier said.

    McKee, 26, began his career with the Sabres in 1996 after being selected in the first round of the 1995 draft. In his career he has 10 goals and 77 points in 464 games.

    Miroslav Satan, the club’s leading scorer last season, is the lone Sabres player still not with the team.

    Regier said the team presented Satan, also a restricted free agent, with an offer on Tuesday which Satan has already rejected. Regier is expecting a counterproposal within the next couple of days.

    Satan remains in his native Slovakia playing in its pro league.

    “We talk openly about the hockey club and where and how he fits in and the importance he has here,” Regier said. “There’s a lot of good things waiting for him when he returns.”

    Satan had 26 goals and a career-high 75 points last season.

    HORSE RACING

  • Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker was declared out of Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup with an injury to his right front foot.

    “His foot busted open,” Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said Wednesday. “He’ll be all right. It’s the weakest part of the foot and if they get a bruise, that’s where it comes out. I don’t think it will be major.”

    The 1.25-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, with a $1 million purse, was supposed to be a highly anticipated showdown between Empire Maker and Mineshaft, the top older horse and winner of the Suburban and Woodward in his last two starts.

    Moon Ballad, winner of the Dubai World Cup, and Evening Attire, last year’s Gold Cup winner, are expected to challenge Mineshaft.

    Ever since denying Funny Cide the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes on June 7, it’s been tough luck for Empire Maker.

    The 3-year-old son of Unbridled has not raced since finishing second in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Aug. 4. Following that race he came down with a cough and was scratched two days before the Aug. 23 Travers.

    Despite the setback, Frankel remained hopeful the colt would be ready for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, which would be his first race in 84 days.

    “One thing about him is that he can miss time and get ready,” Frankel said of the colt who finished second to Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby and then skipped the Preakness. “He’s practiced at it a lot. We still have a month or so. If everything’s all right, I might just send him to California and let him train with Medaglia d’Oro.”

    Medaglia d’Oro finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, and will return for another try.

    Frankel said he was not fazed by Empire Maker’s latest setback.

    “I expected something to happen,” he said. “Everybody looks far ahead and you can’t look far ahead. Everything is a day-by-day thing with these horses.”

    MOTOR SPORTS

  • CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared by NASCAR on Wednesday to race this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, where he is seeking a record fifth consecutive victory.

    Earnhardt sustained a minor concussion and sprained his right foot in a wreck Sunday in Dover, Del., and NASCAR required him to undergo a thorough physical before he could be cleared to race.

    Earnhardt was examined Monday by neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty and NASCAR reviewed the report Wednesday.

    “My foot gets a lot better every day. I’ve stayed off my feet, kept ice on it, and the swelling and soreness is much less than it was on Monday,” Earnhardt said. “It would take a heck of a lot more than this to keep me out of the race.”

    Working in Earnhardt’s favor is his mastery of the 2.66-mile superspeedway, where he has won the past four Winston Cup events, as well as the Busch Series race there in April.

    “Talladega is about intense mental focus, it’s not a physical track like Bristol or Martinsville where your body takes a beating,” he said. “I’m sure once I get in the car, this won’t have an impact on me.

    “I’ve been to the shop a few times, and the guys are making sure I’m comfortable in the car, so we will be ready to go.”

    Earnhardt was injured late in Sunday’s race, crashing hard into the wall. He was briefly knocked out and taken to a local hospital for evaluation. He finished 37th in the race, and dropped from second to fourth in the Winston Cup standings.

    NASCAR’s policy of medically clearing a driver was put in place partially because of Earnhardt, who admitted last season he thought he had lingering effects of a concussion in several races.

    Since then, NASCAR has required all drivers to receive written medical clearance from a doctor approved by sanctioning body before the driver can compete.

    RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS

  • Russia’s Alina Kabaeva won an individual event at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships on Wednesday in her first competition since returning from a one-year ban for a positive drug test.

    Kabaeva, who was stripped of the four gold medals from the 2001 worlds after testing positive for a banned diuretic, won the ball apparatus with a score of 26.675 points and finished second to Anna Bessonova of Ukraine in the hoops.

    Kabaeva was pleased with her result.

    “I am really happy that despite of all the difficulties my return turned out to be so good,” she said. “It was hard, but not that difficult since I had a good trainer and my family and my country were behind me.”

    Russia’s Irina Tchachina, who was stripped of one gold medal and four silvers at the 2001 worlds for a positive drug test, finished third in the hoop.

    Earlier Wednesday, it was announced that Bulgaria’s Simona Peycheva, who won three golds at the 2001 championships after the two Russians were stripped of their medals, tested positive for the diuretic furosemide.

    The clubs and ribbon events will take place Thursday with the all-around finals on Saturday. The top 20 finishers in the competition will be eligible for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

    SWIMMING

  • Skip Kenney of Stanford and Pete Malone, a club coach from Kansas City, will coach the U.S. men’s and women’s teams for the 2004 World Swimming Championships in Indianapolis.

    Kenney coached the men’s team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and was an assistant coach at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Games.

    In 24 years at Stanford, Kenny has led the Cardinal to seven NCAA titles and developed such Olympians as three-time gold medalist Pablo Morales, two-time gold medalist Jeff Rouse and 1996 gold medalist Kurt Grote.

    Malone, who coaches the Kansas City Blazers swim club, was coach of the women’s team at the 1999 Pan American Games and head coach at the ’94 world championships.

    The world championships will be held six weeks after the Athens Olympics in temporary pools built at Conseco Fieldhouse on Oct. 7-11, the first time they’ve been held in the United States.

    TENNIS

  • LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) – Patty Schnyder overcame a 5-2 deficit in the third set to beat fifth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) and reach the quarterfinals of the Sparkassen Cup.

    Schnyder ended the two-hour match with a drop shot and next faces No. 1 Kim Clijsters or Jelena Dokic, who meet Thursday.

    In other action Wednesday, qualifier Maria Vento-Kabchi bounced eighth-seeded Silvia Farina Elia 7-5, 6-3, and third-seeded Anastasia Myskina moved into the quarterfinals by defeating Lina Krasnoroutskaya 6-2, 6-3.

    NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) – Top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero edged qualifier Dick Norman 7-5, 7-6 (5) Wednesday in the first round of the Thailand Open.

    Norman held set points at 5-4 in each set. But he wasted one in the first set with a forehand error, and he blew one in the second set by putting a backhand into the net.

    Ferrero, who won the French Open and was the runner-up to Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open, meets Alex Bogomolov Jr. next. The American defeated Giorgio Galimberti of Italy 6-3, 6-3.

    Elsewhere, No. 4-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan struggled, rallying to beat Vladimir Voltchkov 0-6, 6-3, 6-2. Paradorn’s second-round foe is Kenneth Carlsen, who eliminated Andy Ram 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

    No. 3 Carlos Moya eased past Petr Luxa 6-4, 6-3, while No. 8 Taylor Dent of the United States defeated Wesley Moodie 6-1, 6-4.

    PALERMO, Sicily (AP) — Third-seeded David Sanchez was upset by

    Oscar Hernandez 6-2, 0-6, 7-6 (8) Wednesday in the first round of

    the ATP Tour’s last clay-court tournament of the season.

    In other action, No. 4-seeded Filippo Volandri beat Francesco

    Aldi 6-2, 7-5, Victor Hanescu defeated Igor Andreev 6-3, 6-3, and

    Albert Montanes eliminated Tomas Behrend 6-0, 6-4.

  • MOSCOW (AP) – Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport withdrew from next week’s Kremlin Cup, while Marat Safin is expected to return to action after missing nearly five months with a wrist injury.

    Williams, whose half-sister was killed this month, confirmed Wednesday she won’t play. She has been sidelined since Wimbledon with a stomach muscle injury.

    “We fully understand the situation and have no complaints,” tournament official Alexei Selivanenko said.

    Davenport, last year’s runner-up, has a left foot injury that needs surgery.

    Safin first injured his left wrist at the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, and he hurt it again while practicing for a tournament in Italy in May.

    The 2000 U.S. Open champion has a 12-7 record this season.

    OFF THE FIELD

  • Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich has signed a warrant allowing former Baylor University basketball player Carlton Dotson to be sent back to Texas, where he is charged with killing a teammate.

    Maryland prosecutors must serve the warrant in court before Dotson returns to Texas, said Aja Foster, a spokeswoman for Maryland’s secretary of state. A hearing set for Oct. 14 may be moved up now that the warrant has been signed.

    Texas prosecutors say Dotson, who is from Maryland, shot 21-year-old Patrick Dennehy in June. Dennehy’s body was found in a field southeast of Waco in July, and an autopsy showed he died of two gunshot wounds to the head.

    A call by The Associated Press seeking comment from Dotson’s attorneys was not immediately returned on Wednesday. Dotson refused to return voluntarily to Texas, but neither he nor his lawyers attended the extradition hearing last week.

  • Nike sued soccer’s world governing body Wednesday, saying it is entitled to use “USA 2003” to promote the U.S. women’s soccer team despite claims it violates trademark rights.

    The Beaverton, Ore.-based company said it wanted to take pre-emptive action because FIFA threatened its own lawsuit.

    FIFA, based in Zurich, Switzerland, organizes and promotes international soccer matches and tournaments, including the World Cup and Women’s World Cup, which began last Saturday in the United States.

    FIFA said in a Sept. 11 letter to Nike that it has successfully defended rights to World Cup trademarks such as “France 98,” “Korea/Japan 2002” and “Germany 2006.” FIFA said it considered “USA 2003” no different.

    FIFA told Nike it was engaging in unfair competition and false advertising and was likely to confuse consumers, who might believe that Nike was sponsoring events staged by the association.

    In its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Nike disputed the claims and asked a federal judge to declare that its use of “USA 2003” does not represent unfair competition and false advertising and does not violate any laws or rights of the association.

    The Women’s World Cup was originally scheduled to be played in China but was moved because of the SARS outbreak.


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