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U.S. could be forced to forfeit medals

8/3/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Calvin Harrison has been suspended for two
years for a second doping violation, knocking the sprinter off the
U.S. Olympic team and likely forcing the United States to forfeit a
relay gold medal in the world championships.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Monday that Harrison, 30, was found
guilty of using the stimulant modafinil at the U.S. track and field
championships in June 2003.

The case was heard last week by a three-member arbitration
panel, which rejected Harrison's appeal of the test results.

Harrison also tested positive for the stimulant pseudoephedrine
during the 1993 U.S. junior indoor championships and served a
three-month suspension. As a repeat offender, he got the two-year
ban.

Harrison's lawyer, Ed Williams, said Monday he was not sure
whether he will appeal the ruling to the Swiss-based Court of
Arbitration for Sport.

Williams said he was disappointed the arbitrators did not accept
his argument that the 1993 suspension should have been nullified
because athletes were not accorded adequate due process at that
time.

He also argued unsuccessfully before the panel that because
modafinil was not specifically named on the banned substance list
in 2003, that Harrison would have had no way of knowing it was
prohibited.

USADA's director of legal affairs, Travis Tygart, said modafinil
-- now on the banned list -- was prohibited in 2003 because it was
chemically related to stimulants named on the list of banned
substances.

"Modafinil is a banned substance and is a stimulant. You can
only get it in the U.S. by prescription. It is classified by the
federal government as a central nervous system stimulant," Tygart
said in a telephone interview.

"Athletes are generally warned not to take drugs when they
compete, and they should be held accountable when they do so."

Harrison, part of the 1,600-meter gold medal relay team in the
Sydney Olympics that already faces loss of its medals because of a
positive drug test by Jerome Young, had been selected to the U.S.
squad for Athens as part of the relay pool.

He also was on the 1,600 relay team that won a gold medal in the
2003 world championships in Paris, and that squad now could face
loss of its medals.

All of Harrison's results from the time of the positive drug
test -- two months before the world championships -- will be
nullified. The International Association of Athletics Federations
will decide whether to strip the U.S. squad of its gold and award
it to silver medalist France.

Harrison ran the opening leg in the relay final in Paris. The
other runners were Tyree Washington, Derrick Brew and Young.

Harrison's twin brother, Alvin, faces a lifetime ban after being
charged by USADA with steroid use. His case is awaiting
arbitration.

The 2000 Sydney relay gold medals could be forfeited because
Young failed a steroid test in 1999.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in late June that Young
should be stripped of his relay medal, and the IAAF has recommended
that the entire team -- including Michael Johnson -- be stripped of
its medals.

A final decision rests with the International Olympic Committee,
which is expected to rule days before the Athens Games and is
expected to endorse the IAAF recommendation.