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Top American wrestler Warren to miss Olympics after 2nd positive test

1/16/2008

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Former world wrestling champion
Joe Warren will miss the Olympics after an arbitrator upheld the
American's two-year suspension for a second positive test for
marijuana.

The decision, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency,
will leave the U.S. team without the 2006 world champion in the
Greco Roman 132-pound division.

The seven-page decision outlined Warren's argument that a
two-year ban, which makes him ineligible for the Olympics, was too
harsh a penalty for using a drug that did not enhance his
performance.

Warren, whose therapist diagnosed him with major depression,
said he was aware a second positive test would carry a harsh
penalty but testified that "it was hard to stop because he needed
to use it to help him sleep," the decision said.

The arbitrator said Warren made a good case "for exceptional
circumstances regarding his one use of marijuana in May 2007."

But that violation, combined with an earlier positive in 2006,
led the arbitrator to rule that the two-year suspension was
appropriate.

"Nor is the sanction a violation of fundamental justice and
fairness in light of Mr. Warren's several opportunities to avoid
putting himself in a position where a positive test finding was
likely to be made," the decision read.

Warren's suspension will last through July 22, 2009.