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Report: Affidavits Back Accusations

January 24, 2002

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ U.S. speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno conspired with a friend to influence the outcome of a race so a friend would qualify for the U.S. team, according to affidavits obtained by The Denver Post.

Ohno and short-track speedskater Rusty Smith have been accused by former teammate Tommy O’Hare of conspiring against him in the final 1,000-meter qualifying race at last month’s Olympic trials at Salt Lake City.

Smith finished second and Ohno third behind Shani Davis, whose victory enabled him to qualify for the Olympic team. If Davis had not won, O’Hare would have made the team.

During this week’s arbitration hearing, three other U.S. speedskaters supplied sworn statements that they heard Ohno and Smith conspiring to ensure Davis won the race, the newspaper reported Thursday.

In addition, race referee Jim Chapin and official timer Jordan Leigh Olds said it was clear Ohno was not skating to the best of his ability.

Tony Goskowicz, assistant coach of the U.S. short-track team, said in his sworn statement that after the race, ``Ohno said to me, ’Tommy finally got what was coming to him.‴

The hearing before independent arbitrator James Holbrook was expected to end Thursday. O’Hare is seeking reinstatement to the U.S. team ahead of Davis, and Olympic rosters must be completed by Monday.

The Post and the (Colorado Springs) Gazette newspapers obtained affidavits from some of the witnesses on Wednesday.

Three assistant referees, the trials announcer and a course worker said in their statements that they did not see or hear anything inmplying the race was fixed, the Gazette reported.

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