Friday, August 27, 2004

USOC asks Bush to abandon Olympic ads

The Associated Press

ATHENS - President Bush's re-election campaign refused a request by the U.S. Olympic Committee on Thursday to pull a television ad that mentions the Olympics.

Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel said the ads will continue through Sunday, the final day of the Athens Games.

"We are on firm legal ground to mention the Olympics to make a factual point in a political advertisement," Stanzel said.

The USOC asked the campaign to pull the ads Thursday, committee spokesman Darryl Seibel said. The ad shows a swimmer and the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"In 1972, there were 40 democracies in the world. Today, 120," an announcer says. "Freedom is spreading throughout the world like a sunrise. And this Olympics there will be two more free nations. And two fewer terrorist regimes."

The International Olympic Committee and the USOC have the authority to regulate the use of anything involving the Olympics.

An act of Congress, last revised in 1999, grants the USOC exclusive rights to such terms as "Olympic," derivatives such as "Olympiad" and the five interlocking rings. It also specifically says the organization "shall be nonpolitical and may not promote the candidacy of an individual seeking public office."

ANOTHER MEDAL STRIPPED: The Ukrainian four-woman rowing team was stripped of its bronze medal after one member tested positive for a banned drug, the IOC said.

Olena Olefirenko was part of Ukraine's four-woman crew that finished third in lightweight sculls Sunday. Australia finished fourth and will now get the bronze. Germany won the gold and Britain took the silver.

Olefirenko was given Instenon, which contained the banned substance ethamivan, by her team doctor, the IOC said. Olefirenko reported that she took the drug when she was tested after the race, but didn't realize it was banned.

EASY WAY OUT? Under suspicion of doping, Olympic hammer throw champion Adrian Annus retired from sports Thursday rather than deal with what he called a campaign to manipulate test results against him. "I'm putting an end to my career," the 31-year-old from Hungary told the state-run news agency MTI in a statement. "It isn't worth going through all this even for an Olympic champion's title."

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