Thursday, August 26, 2004
Thrower chooses retirement over questions
ATHENS, Greece -- The Ukrainian four-woman rowing team was
stripped of its bronze medal Thursday after one member tested
positive for a banned drug, the IOC said.
It was the fourth medal lost because of doping during the Athens
A weightlifter from Hungary also was expelled from the games on
Thursday for failing to provide a urine sample after his event, the
International Olympic Committee said.
Zoltan Kovacs, who finished last in the 105-kilogram class,
became the 10th weightlifter punished for doping.
Three medals have been stripped in the last four days because of
doping violations. Hungary's Robert Fazekas lost his gold in the
discus and Russian Irina Korzhanenko lost her gold medal in shot
Olena Olefirenko was part of Ukraine's four-woman crew that
finished third in lightweight sculls on Sunday. Australia finished
fourth and will now get the bronze. Germany won the gold and
Britain took the silver.
Olefirenko was given Instenon, which contained the banned
substance ethamivan, by her team doctor, the IOC said. Olefirenko
reported that she took the drug when she was tested after the race,
but didn't realize it was banned.
"She had listed the product believing in good faith it was
something permitted and there was no way she could be aware it
contained a prohibited substance," said Denis Oswald, president of
the International Rowing Federation and an IOC executive board
If one member of a rowing crew fails a drug test, the entire
crew loses the medal.
"Because of a mistake of a doctor, four innocent athletes lose
their medal," Oswald said.
He said the rowing federation would probably not take any action
against the rower, but has been asked by the IOC to consider
sanctions against the doctor, Ganna Gryshchenko.
Annus takes retirement route
BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Under suspicion of doping, Olympic
hammer throw champion Adrian Annus retired from sports Thursday
rather than deal with what he called a campaign to manipulate test
results against him.
"I'm putting an end to my career," the 31-year-old Annus told
the state-run news agency MTI in a statement. "It isn't worth
going through all this even for an Olympic champion's title."
International Olympic Committee officials told The Associated
Press that Annus passed a drug test after winning the hammer throw
Sunday, but doping control officials have been trying to track him
down since then for further testing.
The IOC wants to find out whether he provided his own urine for
the test or whether he tried to beat the screening system as
teammate and discus gold medalist Robert Fazekas allegedly did, the
officials said on condition of anonymity.
Fazekas lost his gold medal after Olympic authorities said he
failed to provide enough urine for a drug test, a charge Fazekas
Regardless of his retirement, Annus remains under the
jurisdiction of IOC doping rules through the end of the games
Sunday. If found guilty of a doping offense by then, he would also
lose his medal.
Annus accused World Anti-Doping Agency officials of starting a
campaign against him after they allegedly received an anonymous
letter from Hungary naming athletes suspected of taking drugs.
"What guarantee is there that if I give another sample it will
produce a result that matches reality?" Annus said. "I'm not
going to allow them to manipulate the sample ... that's what this
is all about, I can't see any other reason for it."
"I'm being treated like a criminal."
As for Fazekas, the Hungarian Olympic Committee asked the IOC on
Thursday to analyze the urine sample he did provide because
"Fazekas finds it very difficult to accept his disqualification."
After returning to Hungary on Thursday, Fazekas again denied the
doping accusations and vowed to win gold again at the next Olympics
"I'm going to get the gold back at the Beijing Olympics,"
Fazekas told reporters in his home town of Szombathely, 130 miles
west of Budapest.
"The whole procedure for taking the samples was extraordinarily
humiliating," Fazekas said, claiming the sample he gave was five
times more than the minimum necessary for testing for drugs.
Meanwhile, the IOC asked the Hungarian committee to inform them
Thursday of Annus' whereabouts.
Although he traveled home with Fazekas from Athens, Annus did
not appear at the news conference in Szombathely. In his letter to
media, Annus said he would talk more about his decision next week.
Pal T. Gabor, a spokesman for the two atheletes, told
journalists that Annus had received no official request from
Olympic authorities for a test and was now at home with his family.
"The authorities know where to find him," he said.