Swimmer Smith Loses Appeal; Career Finished?

Posted: June 08, 1999

Olympic star Michelle Smith de Bruin yesterday lost her appeal of a four-year drug ban, a ruling that could end the Irish swimmer's career.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, convening in Lausanne, Switzerland, upheld the decision by FINA, the sport's governing body. Smith was suspended on Aug. 6, 1998, after being found guilty of tampering with a urine sample.

Smith's lawyer, Peter Lennon, did not say if he will appeal. The CAS ruling is final and any appeal would have to be filed in civil court. Lennon previously raised the possibility of taking the case to the European Court for Human Rights.

Smith, who won three gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is ineligible for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2001 world championships. She is 29 and will be 33 when the ban expires in August 2002.

FINA said the samples were adulterated with alcohol, possibly masking the presence of banned drugs.

The three-member CAS panel rejected Smith's defense that the samples were not hers or that a third party manipulated the samples. The panel also dismissed her contention that the burden of proof was on FINA to eliminate all possibilities other than manipulation by the swimmer.

Smith, who emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the stars of the 1996 Games, submitted to a surprise, out-of-competition drug test at her home in Kilkenny, Ireland, on Jan. 10, 1998.

FINA later reported the sample was contaminated with a concentration of alcohol so high it would have killed a person had it been a legitimate sample.

PRO FOOTBALL Former Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich reached a one-year deal as a backup with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. Damon Allen is the starter. Marinovich, 29, hasn't dressed for a game since 1992.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf checked in after skipping the first three days of a voluntary workout session in order to honor charity commitments. Some veterans said they plan to meet soon with Leaf to spell out the need for him to behave like a leader.

The Cincinnati Bengals reinstated Tremain Mack, a kick returner and defensive back who was jailed last season because of drunken-driving arrests.

PHILLY FILE Duncan Hubley, who last season guided the Cabrini men's soccer team to its fourth Pennsylvania Athletic Conference title in six years, has retired. Assistant Doug Meder will take over.

Delaware's Amy Sullivan and Kelly Griffith have been named to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America third team. Sullivan is from Abington (Pa.) High, Griffith from Shawnee in Medford, N.J.

SPORT STOPS The Women's NBA added four teams that will begin play in 2000 - Miami, Seattle, Indianapolis and Portland, Ore. The additions will bring the league to 16 teams. The WNBA opens its third season Thursday night, with new teams in Minnesota and Orlando.

Niatross, harness racing's Horse of the Decade for the 1980s, was euthanized in Colts Neck, N.J., after a large cancerous mass was discovered in his abdomen. The stallion was 22 years old. He was harness racing's Horse of the Year for 1979 and '80, and retired with earnings of $2,019,213, the first horse of any breed to earn over $2 million in only two racing seasons. Niatross sired 648 pacers with records of 2:00 or faster. To date, they have earned more than $57.3 million.

With their French Open titles, Andre Agassi rose 10 places to No. 4 in the men's world tennis rankings, and Steffi Graf went up three spots to No. 3 among women.

Eloise Hawkins, chairwoman and chief executive of Winston-Salem (N.C) Speedway, Inc., died of cancer at 82.

Susquehanna University unveiled a $14 million upgrade of its athletic facilities that will include building a fieldhouse, a football and track stadium and a fitness center.

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