Bulgarian, Russian Athletes Fail Drug Tests

From Associated Press

In the first confirmed drug cases of the Atlanta Olympic Games, two women track and field athletes from Bulgaria and Russia tested positive for steroids and face possible four-year bans.

Meeting the morning after the Games closed, the IOC said Monday that Bulgarian triple jumper Iva Prandzheva and Russian hurdler Natalya Shekodanova tested positive for banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Francois Carrard, IOC director general, said Prandzheva, fourth-place finisher in the women’s triple jump, tested positive for metadienone. She was disqualified and her results wiped off the books, he said.

Prandzheva was a silver medalist at the 1995 world outdoor and indoor championships. She finished first at the European Indoor Championships earlier this year.

Prince Alexandre de Merode, chairman of the IOC medical commission, said Shekodanova tested positive for stanozolol, the same steroid that got Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson kicked out of the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

De Merode said the analysis of Shekodanova’s second sample was continuing. If it is positive, her seventh-place finish in the women’s 100-meter hurdles will be thrown out.

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NBC’s oft-maligned coverage of the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta drew an average of 25% more viewers than the 1992 Games in Barcelona, according to numbers released Monday by the network.