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Swimming Gets Tougher on Drug Users

From Staff and Wire Reports

Taking what it called “a dramatic step,” world swimming’s governing body Tuesday approved tougher sanctions on drug use with an eye to next summer’s Olympics.

The International Swimming Federation voted in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, to extend to four years a mandatory ban on first-time steroid users. The current suspension is two years.

The change means swimmers who flunk drug tests will automatically miss an Olympic Games.

FINA also ruled that swimmers who test positive for banned substances will lose all “medals, victories and accomplishments” in the preceding 12 months.

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“It’s a pretty dramatic step, an extraordinary step,” said FINA secretary Gunnar Werner of Sweden.

In a compromise with advocates of mandatory drug testing, delegates determined that federations must inform FINA if a swimmer’s time is among the 50 fastest in the world. But they stopped short of making drug testing compulsory.

However, there was no agreement on banning a country from the Games if a certain percentage of its swimmers failed drug tests.

The tougher sanctions were widely seen as a message to the Chinese team after seven of its swimmers, including two world champions, tested positive for drug use at the Asian Games in 1994.

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“This is not a witch hunt,” Werner said. “We had no discussion specifically about the Chinese.

Meanwhile, the U.S. swimming federation applauded the move, calling it “a giant step forward.”

College Athletics

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether NCAA rules that deny scholarships to students unprepared to handle college academic work discriminates against student athletes with learning disabilities. Such discrimination would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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The probe stems from a complaint by the parents of Illinois high school swimming star, Chad Ganden, 17, who was told he did not have enough college preparatory courses to accept a school-paid recruiting visit, according to the Washington Post.

The Post said Ganden has a normal IQ and the required test scores but also has a disability that makes it hard to translate letters or series of letters into spoken words.The NCAA requires minimum scores on standard college entrance exams and minimum grade-point averages in at least 13 “core” college preparatory courses for students to be eligible for athletic scholarships.

Baseball

Cleveland Indian slugger Albert Belle was convicted in Lyndhurst, Ohio, of reckless operation of a motor vehicle on private property for chasing five teen-agers who allegedly threw eggs at his house on Halloween night. Belle was fined $100 by Judge Robert Grogan. The charge carried a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time for first offenders.

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Colorado Rockie General Manager Bob Gebhard, who helped build an expansion franchise into a playoff team in only three seasons, received a promotion to executive vice president and a two-year contract extension, said owner Jerry McMorris. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Baltimore Oriole assistant general manager Frank Robinson, who was told by owner Peter Angelos to wait until a new general manager was hired when he offered his resignation recently, said he plans to offer it again after the hiring of GM Pat Gillick. Robinson, however, said he agrees with Gillick’s hiring and will meet with him today.

Excavation will begin today on replacing the Dodger Stadium field with Prescription Athletic Turf, considered the most advanced natural athletic turf, the team announced. The old Dodger Stadium surface had been used since the stadium opened in 1962.

Soccer

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An appeals court reduced the match-fixing sentence of former Adidas soccer owner Bernard Tapie from one year to eight months in Douai, France, but said the former Cabinet minister was still guilty of corruption and witness-tampering. Tapie also had his ban from holding public office reduced from five years to three. Tapie can appeal.

Ajax Amsterdam won its first world club championship since 1972, beating Gremio of Brazil, 4-3, on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie in the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo.

Miscellany

Mike Tyson’s co-manager, John Horne, said the former heavyweight champion’s fight against Buster Mathis Jr. is on for Dec. 16 in Atlantic City, but New Jersey gambling enforcement authorities are still opposed, saying it would violate a 1994 order banning promoter Don King from doing business with Atlantic City casinos.

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Lyle Whiting, a former trainer and jockey whose son, Lynn, saddled the Kentucky Derby winner in 1992, died of cancer at 80 in Hot Springs, Ark.

Prizes for the male and female winners of next year’s 100th Boston Marathon will be increased from $75,000 to $100,000.

Friday is the deadline for ordering Olympic tickets by mail. No more orders will be accepted until February, when the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games will start taking orders by telephone.


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