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Young first sprinter to test positive for EPO

11/10/2004

DENVER -- Sprinter Jerome Young, a central figure in a
doping case that could cost the U.S. relay team its gold medal from
Sydney, was banned for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on
Wednesday following his second positive test for a banned drug.
Young tested positive for EPO at a Paris meet in July, USADA
said. He is believed to be the first sprinter to test positive for
EPO, which is popular with endurance runners and cyclists.
Tests for EPO were introduced at the 2000 Sydney Games. Sprinter
Kelli White admitted she used EPO and other performance-enhancing
drugs earlier this year when she accepted a two-year ban for
doping.
Young, 28, tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999,
but was exonerated by a U.S. appeals panel in July 2000, avoiding a
two-year ban. He ran in the opening and semifinal rounds of the
2000 Games, but not in the 1,600-meter final anchored by Michael
Johnson.
All six members of the relay squad received gold medals, but
Young's was stripped.
Other members of the team include 30-year-old Alvin Harrison,
who accepted a four-year suspension in October for drug violations
uncovered in the BALCO case. Harrison's twin and Sydney teammate,
Calvin Harrison, is serving a two-year suspension for testing
positive for drugs linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.
The Harrison cases and the latest involving Young all came after
the Sydney games. But track's world governing body, the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has
recommended declaring the entire Sydney relay team ineligible
because of Young.
Last month, the U.S. Olympic Committee challenged the
recommendation in a petition lodged with the Court of Arbitration
for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland. Young, who has denied ever
using a prohibited substance, was not covered by the appeal.
"As a matter of course, we don't comment on specific individual
drug cases," said Jill Geer, spokeswoman for USA Track & Field.
"It's certainly tragic if Jerome or any other athlete made the
decision to cheat."
Darryl Seibel, a spokesman for the USOC in nearby Colorado
Springs, said Young's suspension should not affect the case pending
before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"We have complete confidence in the fairness of CAS proceedings
and do not believe that the decision announced today will have any
bearing on that proceeding."
The CAS has not set a date for a hearing, he said.
Jennifer Coffman of the American Arbitration Association in New
York deferred all comment for CAS to Swiss officials. New York
attorney Stephen Chien, who represented Young in the steroid case,
was traveling and did not immediately return a call. It was unclear
whether he still represents Young.
If the International Olympic Committee follows the IAAF's
recommendation, Nigeria would be upgraded to gold, Jamaica to
silver and the Bahamas to bronze in the Sydney relay.
The last American to have an Olympic gold medal taken away for a
similar offense was swimmer Rick DeMont in 1972. DeMont, then 16,
finished first in the 400 freestyle. He tested positive for a
banned substance in his asthma medication.
Jim Thorpe was stripped of his medals in 1912, when it was
revealed he earned $25 a week playing minor league baseball. The
IOC lifted the ban on Thorpe in 1982 and returned his gold medals
for the pentathlon and decathlon to his children.
Young has an unlisted telephone number in Fort Worth, Texas.
Former coach and agent Raymond Stewart said he has not been in
touch with Young.