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Olympic Panel Won’t Honor Swimmers

December 12, 1998

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ American and British Olympic swimmers who sought medals of East Germans found to have taken performance-enhancing drugs were rejected Saturday by the International Olympic Committee.

Arguing that withdrawing or reassigning the medals would ``create a lot of new juridical problems,″ the IOC Juridical Committee turned down the bid.

``From a legal standpoint, nothing can or will be done, but the IOC executive board has appointed the four vice presidents to study further both matters and to determine whether some other form of solutions in terms of recognition can be found,″ Carrard said.

However, director-general Francois Carrard said the IOC would seek other ways to recognize the female swimmers who lost to the East Germans in 1976 and 1980.

The complaint from the U.S. and British Olympic associations could have caused revisions back as far as the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

``Do we have the right to withdraw?″ the panel asked. ``These swimmers under the conditions then prevailing didn’t test positive. The juridical commission thinks this isn’t a legal matter, but the matter isn’t closed.″

The U.S. Olympic Committee is seeking ``appropriate medal recognition″ for swimmers Linda Jezek, Lauri Siering, Camile Wright and Shirley Babashoff, who lost out to the East Germans in the women’s medley relay at Montreal.

The British Olympic Association has filed a petition on behalf of Sharron Davies, who won the silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley at the 1980 Moscow games.

``My aim was not to get the gold medal,″ Davies said. ``That’s not what I wanted _ but official recognition in some way of what happened then.

``In that, I’m pleased because it looks as though the IOC is going to do something. I think they might asterisk in the record books all those performances from 1976 and 1980 which have later been shown to have been down to drugs.″

Recent studies have revealed that between 6,000 and 10,000 athletes participated in a systematic doping program in East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s.

Six former East German doctors and coaches have been convicted this year on charges of administering steroids to young swimmers without their knowledge.

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