USOC hands sanctions to sport's governing body

Track And Field

January 18, 2004|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES - In a step that could lead to the loss of certification for the U.S. governing body for track and field, the U.S. Olympic Committee has imposed financial and other sanctions against USA Track & Field because of its refusal to turn over files relating to a U.S. sprinter who tested positive for a banned steroid in 1999, but won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The USOC has handed down a three-part series of sanctions, including the suspension of about $3 million that flows annually from the USOC to the U.S. track and field body.

The USOC emphasized that the steps are aimed at USATF and its administrators and not at American athletes as they prepare for the Athens Summer Games, which begin Aug. 13.

Bill Martin, the USOC's acting president, said in a Dec. 19 letter to USATF chief executive Craig Masback and president Bill Roe that the USOC's policy-making executive committee, "based on the handling of this matter by both of you ... questions your appreciation and understanding of the damage your inaction continues to cause USATF, the USOC and the entire U.S. Olympic movement."

Asked to respond, Roe declined. Masback could not be reached for comment.

The impasse has strained USOC relations with the International Olympic Committee, as well as other national Olympic committees and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

At stake now are the gold medals won in Sydney by the athlete who tested positive, Jerome Young, and five other Americans who ran in either the preliminaries or the final round of the 1,600-meter relay, among them Michael Johnson. Young has said he never "committed a doping offense."

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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