Friday, July 23, 2004

On team until proven guilty

Harrison, Edwards named to U.S. roster despite allegations

By John Marshall
The Associated Press

DENVER - The U.S. Olympic Committee released a roster of 531 athletes for the Athens Games on Thursday that includes track stars Torri Edwards and Calvin Harrison, despite pending drug cases against both.

Athletes in such circumstances can't be banned from the Games if they have already qualified.

"As it relates to the track and field portion of our roster, the athletes we submitted are those that were provided to us by USA Track and Field immediately following the Olympic team trials," USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said.

The U.S. team has competitors in 29 sports. Track had by far the largest number of qualifiers with 111 - 58 men and 53 women - and the list could grow if more are able to meet qualifying standards over the next few weeks.

Edwards qualified in the 100 and 200 meters and is a member of the relay pool, but faces a possible 2-year suspension after testing positive for a banned stimulant at a meet in April. A three-person arbitration panel began looking at the case Monday.

Harrison's spot in Athens as part of the 1,600 relay pool is in jeopardy after he tested positive for a stimulant at last year's national championships. He also faces a 2-year ban in a hearing that starts next Monday.

Should Edwards and Harrison be found guilty of doping, they could be kicked off the team. The International Olympic Committee approved a rule earlier this year that allows teams to change their rosters for exceptional circumstances until the technical meeting for each sport in Athens. The technical meeting for track is Aug. 17.

"There are provisions by which changes could be made to the roster, including injury, illness or an exceptional circumstance such as an athlete being found guilty of a doping offense," Seibel said.

Aside from the two athletes facing potential drug suspensions, the U.S. team featured a wide range of athletes.

Equestrian's Robert Dover, who made it in dressage, was the most experienced after making his sixth Olympic team.

Track athletes Gail Devers and Jearl Miles-Clark weren't far behind with their fifth trips to the Olympics, and Jenny Thompson, the most decorated U.S. swimmer with 10 medals, made it for the fourth time.

There also were eight sets of siblings, three married couples and one set of cousins.

"We congratulate the athletes who have earned the opportunity to represent our country," USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said.

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