Sunday, August 8, 2004
Edwards suspension merited, IAAF finds
The Associated Press
GIORGIOUPOLI, Greece - Barring a successful appeal, Torri Edwards will be suspended for at least two years for taking a banned stimulant, knocking her out of the Olympics and perhaps giving Marion Jones a chance to defend her gold medal in the 100 meters.
A review panel concluded there were no exceptional circumstances that would warrant a lesser penalty, Travis Tygart, director of legal affairs for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Saturday.
"The rule says it's a minimum of two years," Tygart said.
The finding by the panel of the International Association of Athletics Federations has been forwarded to the U.S. arbitration panel that initially heard Edwards' case. That panel will determine her penalty.
The American Arbitration Association panel had found there might be exceptional circumstances in Edwards' case, but the IAAF board disagreed.
The panel's official finding is expected next week. Edwards can appeal to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, whose ruling would be binding.
Edwards' lawyer, Emanuel Hudson, did not return phone calls to his office, but he told The New York Times that Edwards was "very saddened and disappointed" by the ruling. During July's Olympic Trials, she said she would appeal any suspension as far as she could.
The world champion in the 100, Edwards tested positive at a meet in Martinique in April. She blamed a glucose supplement, saying she was unaware it contained the stimulant nikethamide. She said her physician bought the glucose at a store there because she wasn't feeling well.
She had argued there was no reason to cheat at the meet because there was no prize money and the field was weak. She said she felt compelled to run because she was paid an appearance fee and was the meet's leading attraction.
Edwards was expected to contend for medals in the 100 and 200 in Athens. Her absence could give Jones a chance to defend her gold medal in the 100.
Gail Devers, the fourth-place finisher in the 100 at the Trials, would be entitled to Edwards' spot. But the 37-year-old Devers, in her fifth Olympics, could decide to focus solely on the 100-meter hurdles.
If Devers withdraws from the 100, the next in line will be Jones, who was fifth in the Trials. She qualified for the U.S. team only in the long jump.
RELAY GOLD IN LIMBO: The International Olympic Committee delayed ruling on whether to strip the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team of its gold medals from Sydney.
The team could lose its medals because of a doping violation by Jerome Young a year before the 2000 Olympics. Young already has been stripped of his medal.
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