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USATF invites wrong Dennis Mitchell to meet

8/19/2006

LONDON -- Whoops, wrong Dennis Mitchell.

The sprinter was set to captain the U.S. team at the Birmingham International meet Saturday before U.S. track officials caught the error.

Mitchell, a four-time U.S. champion and member of the 400-meter relay team that won gold at the 1992 Olympics, tested positive for testosterone in 1998 and was banned for two years. He contended the elevated levels were a result of heavy beer drinking and lovemaking.

The invitation for the Birmingham meet was mistakenly sent to the sprinter and not another Dennis Mitchell, a college coach in Akron, Ohio, who was voted into the captain's role at USA Track & Field's annual convention.

"It is a case where reality is stranger than fiction," USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer told the British newspaper The Guardian. "Dennis Mitchell the coach was originally selected. But in the ensuing weeks, Dennis Mitchell the athlete became part of the staff rather than Dennis Mitchell the coach. Given the confusion, it was determined it's better to correct the mistake."