IAAF makes drug suspensions 4 years
The International Amateur Athletics Federation stiffened its penalties for drug use yesterday, and in a move designed to add millions of dollars to its income, voted to hold its world championships every two years instead of four.
The IAAF Congress voted to extend to four years from two the length of suspensions for athletes who use drugs, twice the limit set by the International Olympic Committee for the Olympics.
IAAF president Primo Nebiolo said the move was essential to protect the sport and its athletes from the threat of drugs. He said 32 athletes were suspended in the first six months this year even after the intensified anti-drug campaign and the strengthening of international controls after the suspension of Ben Johnson.
Many consider the four-year suspension nearly equal to a lifetime ban because it is very difficult for most athletes to stay in top shape while not competing. The move came on the eve of the World Track and Field Championships, which will begin tomorrow in Tokyo.
The congress also voted overwhelmingly to hold the championships every two years instead of every four. IAAF officials estimated this would produce additional revenues of around $80 million for the federation, to be used mostly for the promotion of the sport in Third World countries.
The list of teams to which New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing would like to be traded to reportedly comprises the Washington Bullets, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers.
The question no one will answer is whether Ewing -- who lost an arbitrated dispute which tied him to the Knicks for the final four years of his original 10-year, $14.2 million contract -- has asked for a trade.
Washington general manager John Nash said the Bullets have not talked to the Knicks.
Jerry Colangelo, president and owner of the Suns, said he has had an exploratory talk about a possible deal for Ewing. Phoenix reportedly has discussed sending center Mark West, forward Xavier McDaniel and All-Star playmaker Kevin Johnson to the Knicks for Ewing and guard Mo Cheeks.
The New York Times reported that a source close to the Lakers front office said guard Magic Johnson does not want to play with Ewing.
In the aftermath of lightning-related deaths at this summer's U.S. Open and the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour has modified a rule of golf in order to get spectators off the course faster in the event of lightning, commissioner Deane Beman.
The rule governing "proper procedure when play is suspended" previously allowed players to complete the hole they were on after the suspension of play. The modified rule, in effect immediately for all PGA Tour events, requires that all players stop play immediately when play is suspended.
Lightning struck three coaches and a player at South Miami High School's football practice, killing assistant coach Robert Johnson and knocking the others unconscious.
The lightning bolt hit Johnson, 60, squarely as he tried to shelter wide receiver Damian Harrell from the sudden storm. Johnson was rushed to South Miami Hospital. He died at 8:10 p.m. Harrell, 15, was in serious condition.