| Young has miles to go before he can smile
London: Pressure has mounted on USA Track & Field (USATF) to explain why Jerome Young was cleared to run in the 2000 Olympics despite a positive drug test a year earlier.
Track’s world governing body sent a letter to USATF officials asking them to turn over documents on the case, which could cost the US their gold medal from the 1,600m relay in Sydney.
World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) chairman Dick Pound also stepped up his campaign against what he called a “flagrant abuse of doping policy”.
The International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday it was opening disciplinary proceedings in the affair. The move followed confirmation last week by US Olympic officials that Young was the gold-medallist who tested positive for steroids in 1999.
The USOC said there was “no explanation” in its files to support the decision by USATF to exonerate Young on appeal. Under international rules, a confirmed positive test for steroids is punishable by a two-year ban. Such a sanction would have kept Young out of the Sydney Olympics.
Young, who won golds in the 400m and 1,600m relay at the World Championships in Paris in August, said he never committed a doping offence. Young ran in the opening round and semi-finals heats of the relay in Sydney. The US team, anchored by Michael Johnson, finished ahead of Nigeria and Jamaica. All six members of the relay squad collected gold medals.
If the US team is disqualified, Nigeria would move up to gold and Jamaica to silver. The Bahamian team, which finished fourth, would get the bronze.
The IAAF, which pressed the USATF for three years to divulge information on the case, made a new appeal Thursday in a letter from president Lamine Diack.
“We have explained the need for having this matter concluded in a proper way,” IAAF anti-doping chief Arne Ljungqvist said. “We try to make them understand it is in their interest and our interest. We expect a quick reply and reaction.”
Previously, the IAAF and USATF said they were bound by an arbitration ruling protecting anonymity in the case. “Now that the name of the athlete is known we feel there is no longer any confidentiality to observe,” Ljungqvist said. (AP)