USOC Will Rule Today on Whether Nehemiah Can Compete in Festival

The United States Olympic Committee today will decide whether Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, the world record-holder in the 110-meter hurdles, will be allowed to compete in the Olympic Festival.

The Athletics Congress, track and field's governing body in the United States, has extended an invitation to Nehemiah to run in a relay race during this weekend's track and field portion of the Festival and has said he could also compete in the hurdles if another competitor withdrew.

Nehemiah, who lost his amateur standing and therefore had to stop competing in track and field when he joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1981, had his amateur status restored two weeks ago by the International Amateur Athletic Federation. That action came after Nehemiah announced his retirement from professional football.

In order to compete in the Olympic Festival, an athlete needs to be a U.S. citizen and eligible to compete in the Olympic Games.

Since the International Olympic Committee has not yet followed the IAAF decision by declaring Nehemiah eligible for the 1988 Games at Seoul, there is no understanding on whether he can compete here. The USOC will make that decision today.

A USOC spokesman said: "No one will be asked to leave so he can run."

Nehemiah participated in the 1981 USOC festival and won his specialty. His wind-aided time of 13.00 is the Festival record.

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