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Friday, February 22, 2002
 
IOC says skater can stay for closing ceremonies

Associated Press


SALT LAKE CITY -- A short-track speedskater from Belarus was given a severe warning by the IOC on Friday for steroids found in her system, but the case was not considered drug positive and she was allowed to remain in the Olympic Village and march in the closing ceremony.

The IOC's executive board found Yulia Pavlovich, who abruptly checked out of the village Monday rather than submit to another test for nandrolone, had inadvertently taken the drug in a food supplement supplied by her team doctor and coach. Both officials were expelled from the games.

"She was more manipulated than a manipulator," IOC director general Francois Carrard said. "She was given a severe warning but she can stay and march."

Tossed out of the Winter Games were Dr. Evgeny Lositsky and Tatsiana Pavlovich, who is both coach and mother to the speedskater.

Carrard said they had violated IOC rules by "maneuver and manipulation" to void a drug test.

Carrard also said the International Olympic Committee was still waiting for results of urine tests taken from a Russian cross-country skiing star who was disqualified from a race Thursday because of high hemoglobin levels. He said the results were expected late Saturday, less than a day before Larissa Lazutina is scheduled to compete in the 30-kilometer race on the last day of the games.

Pavlovich vanished from village housing after failing to show up for a second test, which was ordered by the IOC after a broken seal on the sample bag invalidated the original exam. The IOC barred her from further competition at Salt Lake City pending an investigation and punished the Belarus Olympic committee for allegedly helping the athlete avoid another exam.

The first test found levels of nandrolone 380 times the legal limit, the IOC said. But the Salt Lake City Games remain free of a doping case because the broken seal, an apparent accident by a lab courier, meant the sample might be contaminated and thus could not be used.

Pavlovich finished 19th in the 1,500 meters and 23rd in the 500 meters, which proceeded her drug test last Saturday night.

The IOC executive board suspended the Belarusian committee for the rest of this year from grants and other support generally worth about $120,000 annually. It also kicked Belarus team leader Yaroslav Barichko out of the games.

Lazutina was barred from competing in the 20-kilometer relay Thursday, where she had been favored to win a record-tying 10th medal. The Russian team, four-time defending champions, did not race and the Russian Olympic Committee threatened to leave the games because of what it said was biased judging and other actions against its athletes.