Brazilian first to be sent home

Men's bobsledder dos Santos tested positive for nandrolone in January

Notes

Winter Olympics

February 15, 2006

A Brazilian bobsledder who tested positive for steroids in a pre-Olympic drug test became the first athlete sent home from the Turin Games for doping.

Armando dos Santos failed the test in early January when a sample showed evidence of the steroid nandrolone, according to a statement posted on the Brazilian Olympic Committee's Web site.

Dos Santos, a former hammer thrower, will be replaced on the four-man team by Claudinei Quirino - a silver medalist in the 400-meter relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Brazil's squad is the only tropical bobsled team to qualify for Turin.

Hemoglobin -- Make it five suspended cross-country skiers now cleared to race. Alen Abramovic of Croatia was told yesterday that he passed a second blood test and would be allowed back into Olympic competition after serving a five-day suspension for high hemoglobin. Of the 12 cross-country athletes suspended last week, five have been cleared so far, and one has failed a retest. The International Ski Federation said Abramovic passed a new test and his hemoglobin levels are now below the mandated limit. It wasn't immediately clear which events Abramovic will ski; the next men's race is the 15-kilometer interval start Friday. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell that can increase endurance. Four skiers were cleared Monday, while Sergei Dolidovich of Belarus received a second five-day suspension yesterday after testing positive again for high levels of hemoglobin. He wasn't able to start the inaugural men's team sprint event.

Snowboard cross -- American Jayson Hale tore ligaments in his right knee during Olympic training and will miss the race later in the week. His spot is expected to be taken by Graham Watanabe, a reserve on the U.S. roster who traveled to Italy to serve as a wax tech for his friends on the team, but now will likely find himself racing in the Olympics. The U.S. Olympic Committee was going to submit Watanabe's name for entry and barring any surprises, he will race for the United States tomorrow in the newest event on the Winter Olympics program.

Alpine skiing -- Multi-medal favorite Janica Kostelic, a triple gold winner in the 2002 Olympics, did not start the final training session for the women's downhill yesterday. A Croatian team official blamed a high pulse. "She was not feeling good, her pulse was high and she decided not to race," said Croatian skiing director Vedran Pavlek. ... Defending champion Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway, the most successful alpine skier in Olympics history, withdrew from the men's combined event yesterday because of a sore left knee, a team official said.

Figure skating -- Emily Hughes worked on her Olympic program at a hockey practice rink in Syosset, N.Y., then planned to get busy with more pressing matters. "I've got to pack!" she said. A day before her flight to Italy, Hughes said she was pleased with her workout at the practice home of the New York Islanders. Hughes was the lone skater yesterday at the massive rink, where she worked on her program for about two hours. "It went really well - really well today," said Hughes, the 17-year-old sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes. She will represent the United States at the Turin Olympics as a replacement for Michelle Kwan, who dropped out with a groin injury.

Tickets -- After three days of competition at the Turin Games, organizers are edging closer to their goal for ticket sales. Giuseppe Gattino, head of the TOROC organizing committee said yesterday that 13,000 tickets were sold Monday, bringing the Games' total to 789,000. With 1.03 million tickets available, organizers have set a sales goal of 830,000. Some venues have been full houses. Organizers said 4,489 people attended Monday's women's snowboarding halfpipe final, and there have been near-sellouts at the figure skating and speed-skating venues.

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