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IOC delays ruling on whether team will be stripped

8/7/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- The International Olympic Committee
delayed ruling Saturday on whether to strip the entire U.S.
1,600-meter relay team of gold medals from the Sydney Games, saying
it will wait until all appeals have been completed.

The team, which included Michael Johnson, could lose its medals
because of a doping violation by teammate Jerome Young a year
before the 2000 Olympics. Young has already been stripped.

The International Association of Athletics Federations
recommended last month that the entire team be penalized because
Young should have been ineligible. The IAAF allowed 60 days for
appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The deadline is
Sept. 18.

The U.S. Olympic Committee hasn't appealed, and it was unclear
whether any of the runners -- Johnson, twins Alvin and Calvin
Harrison, Antonio Pettigrew and Angelo Taylor -- had done so on
their own.

USA Track & Field will contact the athletes about how to
proceed, the organization said Saturday in a statement.

The IAAF had hoped for action.

"We believed they would not wait and would support the decision
of the international federation," IAAF general secretary Istvan
Gyulai told The Associated Press. "We were led to believe they
would. We thought it would be a good signal to the world that the
entire sports leadership has the same opinion. This is hesitating a
little bit, so it's not a good message."

The relay case was brought before the IOC executive board
Saturday, but action was put off until a later meeting.

"The IOC will have to wait until the IAAF decision is final and
enforceable before it makes its decision," IOC spokeswoman Giselle
Davies said at a news conference.

Young tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999, but
was exonerated in July 2000 by a U.S. appeals panel. USATF never
gave the IAAF specifics about the case.

USATF officials said confidentiality rules blocked them from
releasing information about the Young case until his name became
public last year. Some IAAF officials accused the USATF of covering
up the case.

Young ran in the opening and semifinal rounds of the relay, but
not in the final. Johnson ran the anchor leg in the final for the
fifth and final Olympic gold medal of his career.

If the U.S. team loses its case, Nigeria will be upgraded to
gold, Jamaica to silver and the Bahamas to bronze.

Young won the 400-meter world championship last year, but he
failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics at the U.S. trials last
month.