Sports Outside the Beltway

IOC strips Marion Jones of 5 medals

The disgraced Gold Medal winner confessed two months ago to taking steroids prior to the 2000 Olympics. From AP-

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The IOC formally stripped Marion Jones of her five Olympic medals Wednesday, wiping her name from the record books following her admission that she was a drug cheat.

The International Olympic Committee also banned the disgraced American athlete from attending next year’s Beijing Olympics in any capacity and said it could bar her from all future games.

Jones had already handed back the three gold medals and two bronze she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Last month, the International Association of Athletics Federations erased all of Jones’ results dating to September 2000, but it was up to the IOC to formally disqualify her and erase her Olympic medals.

The decision was announced by IOC president Jacques Rogge at the end of a three-day executive board meeting.

Jones won gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay in Sydney, and bronze in the long jump and 100-meter relay. She was the first female track and field athlete to win five medals at a single Olympics.


The IOC postponed a decision on redistributing her medals, including whether to strip her American relay teammates and whether to upgrade doping-tainted Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou to gold in the 100.

The IOC’s move comes as no surprise. One thing I find intersiting is Jones not being to be at any future Olympics. Can she still attend the games as a spectator or does it just forbid her from associating with athletes?

Also the IOC postponed any decision to take away Jones’ relay teammates medals. I don’t see how they can take Jones while not taking the others. This sounds unfair to the gold medalists, but the IOC can’t just go half way in my opinion.


German track and field athlete announces retirement and plans for a sex change

Some of you may remember how East German athletes were made to use steroids and the consequences that had. Yvonne Buschbaum’s story is different.

BERLIN: German pole-vaulter Yvonne Buschbaum announced her retirement Wednesday, saying she had long felt as if she were “in the wrong body” and planned hormone treatment.

Buschbaum, 27, finished third at the European Championships in 1998 and 2002.

“I feel as if I am a man and have to live my life in the body of a woman,” Buschbaum said in a statement on her Web site announcing her retirement. “I am aware of the fact that transsexuality is a fringe issue, and I do not want to be responsible for it remaining on the fringe.”

Buschbaum asked for respect for her decision and urged observers “not to draw false conclusions.”

“I do not dope,” she said, adding that her “upcoming hormone treatment” contributed to her decision to quit, as did a persistent injury.

Anyone else note the irony in Buschbaum being a ‘pole’ vaulter.

Good luck to Yvonne or whatever name she takes in the future.


Olympic discus great Al Oerter dies at 71

He won gold medals in four consecutive Olympics, setting Olympic records each time. Oerter died of heart failure yesterday in Florida. RIP.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Al Oerter was destined to become an athlete, although he often wondered what he might have been if not for a chance meeting with a discus.

“I could throw a baseball, a football or a golf ball a country mile,” Oerter told the Associated Press in an interview last year. “It was just easy to throw anything.”

The discus great who won gold medals in four straight Olympics to become one of track and field’s biggest stars in the 1950s and ’60s, died Monday of heart failure, less than two weeks after his 71st birthday.

His long love affair with the circular disk that would bring him fame began one day when he was hanging around a track, watching practice and gave it a try.

“I picked it and threw back to a guy further than he threw it to me,” Oerter recalled. “The coach walked over to me and said you need to go over there with them.”

Oerter died at a hospital near his Fort Myers Beach home, wife Cathy Oerter said. He dealt with high blood pressure since he was young and struggled with heart problems, she said.

“He was a gentle giant,” she said. “He was bigger than life.”

Oerter won gold medals in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968. Oerter and Carl Lewis are the only track and field stars to capture the same event in four consecutive Olympics. Oerter, however, is the only one to set an Olympic record in each of his victories.

“His legacy is one of an athlete who embodied all of the positive attributes associated with being an Olympian,” said Peter Ueberroth, chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee. “He performed on the field of play with distinction and transferred that excellence to the role of advocate for the Olympic movement and its ideals.”

Born in New York City, Oerter was 6-foot-4 and once competed at nearly 300 pounds. He dispensed with coaching and conventional training methods, molding himself into a fierce competitor who performed his best when the stakes were highest.

“I can remember those games truly as if they were a week ago,” Oerter told The AP.

In Melbourne in 1956, Oerter threw 184 feet, 11 inches on his first toss and watched in amazement when nobody else, including teammate and world-record holder Fortune Gordien, came close to beating him.

He came from behind to win again in Rome, and overcame torn rib cartilage and other injuries to make it three in a row at the Tokyo Games in 1964.

At 32, he was a long shot in the 1968 field headed by world-record holder Jay Silvester. However, Oerter responded with a personal-best of 212-6 to leave Mexico City with the gold.

He came out of retirement and won a spot as an alternate on the 1980 team that didn’t compete because of the boycott ordered by President Carter.

“Al Oerter is one of the greatest track and field athletes, and one of the greatest Olympic athletes, of all time,” said USATF CEO Craig A. Masback.

“What made him even more special was his excellence off the track, in pursuits ranging from community outreach to art. The track world has lost a legend, a Hall of Famer, and a true gentleman. USATF extends our deepest sympathy to Al’s family.”


BYU Track Star arrested

From AP-

PROVO, Utah – For a star runner at Brigham Young, this was hardly a clean getaway.

Kyle Perry was arrested last week after getting out of his car and striking a pedestrian — with a mop.

Perry’s vehicle apparently got too close to the man, who was pushing a bucket with mops across a street June 14, witnesses told police.

“Angry words were exchanged,” Provo police Capt. Cliff Argyle said. “Mr. Perry exited his vehicle and grabbed a mop out of the pedestrian’s mop bucket and started to strike the pedestrian.

“The pedestrian grabbed another mop and used it to defend himself,” he said. “Eventually the pedestrian was shoved over a planter box and fell onto his back.”

The man, who had a bump on his head, blocked Perry’s car until police arrived and arrested the track star for aggravated assault, Argyle said. Any legal action from the mop fight is up to prosecutors.

In 2006, Perry won the Mountain West Conference title in the 1,500-meter run. He finished 12th in the same event at the NCAA track championship. His performances were limited this year by injuries.

I’ll leave readers to make the appropriate wisecracks. Right now I can’t think of anything. Maybe Mr. Perry can pitch long…..err mopup relief.


Indian runner fails gender test

From AP-

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women’s 800 meters in the Asian Games this month has failed a gender test and is expected to be stripped of the medal, according to reports Monday.

Santhi Soudarajan took the gender test in Doha, Qatar, after the victory.


The test reports sent to the Indian Olympic Association on Sunday said Soudarajan “does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman,” The Times of India reported. The test was administered by a medical commission set up by the games’ organizers.

There are no compulsory gender tests during events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federation, but athletes can be asked to take a gender test. The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, and an internal medicine specialist.

Dr. Manmohan Singh, chairman of the medical commission of the Indian Olympic Association told the Indian Express newspaper that the Olympic Council of Asia had been informed of the results of Soudarajan’s gender test.

Sports officials in the athlete’s home state of Tamil Nadu said that they have no information on her whereabouts.

I thought this kind of cheating went out with the fall of East Germany.

Whether Ms Mr Soudarajan failed some hormone test or was caught with a dangly part is unknown. We’ll just have to use our imaginations and hope this runner gets some serious mental help.

Hat tip- Bullwinkle who says it took balls to come in second.

Update- According to this AP article, Mr. Mr Soudarajan had Y chromosones present and most likely never had sex change surgery.


Houstan Texans Look at Sprinter Justin Gatlin

Leaving no stone unturned in looking for potential talent, the Houstan Texas are taking a look a sprinter Justin Gatlin.

The Houston Texans worked out the world’s fastest man, Justin Gatlin, on Tuesday but that doesn’t mean he’s making a fast entrance into the NFL. The Texans didn’t make a big deal out of the Tuesday visit. They looked at Gatlin like they did with two other receivers — Kevin McMahan of Maine and Jovan Witherspoon of Central Michigan. NFL teams usually bring in players for Tuesday workouts while the 53 players on the regular roster take a day off.

The only difference in this workout was the name recognition of Gatlin, the 100-meter gold medal winner in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Gatlin holds the world record for running the 100 meters in 9.76 seconds. In April, he tested positive for the banned substance testosterone and accepted an eight-year ban from track and field.

Though the Texans wouldn’t be willing to sign him for this season, they are one of the first NFL teams to look at him for future contracts, which teams can start signing in late December.

The reason for the slow reaction by NFL teams to Gatlin’s availability is his lack of football experience. At the University of Tennessee he ran track instead of playing football. He hadn’t played football since 10th grade.

That’s likely to be a problem. That he’s a dirty cheater apparently is not. Still, they say you can’t coach speed.


Gay Runs Fast

I don’t care much about track and field unless it’s the Olympics (and not that much even then, now that the Cold War is over). Still, this headline is rather amusing: “Gay sets sights on 200 meter record.”



Former Olympic champion Bob Mathias dead at 75

From AP-

SAN FRANCISCO – Bob Mathias, a two-time Olympic champion in the decathlon and former U.S. congressman, died Saturday. He was 75.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said in a statement that Mathias died in his home in Fresno, Calif. His brother said the cause was cancer.

Bob Mathias became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in a track and field event in 1948 in London, when he won the decathlon at 17. It was only his third decathlon competition, having qualified for the Olympics by winning two events in the United States.

At the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Finland, he became the first athlete to repeat as Olympic champion in the decathlon. Earlier that year, he played fullback for Stanford in its Rose Bowl appearance. Though the Washington Redskins drafted him, he never signed. Mathias also won the 1948 Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.


After retiring from sports, Mathias served as a Republican congressman representing California from 1967-74, serving four terms. Following his political career, Mathias became the first director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

He also is a member of the U.S. Olympic and national track and field halls of fame.

Mathias was the Associated Press male athlete of the year in 1952.


Mathias is survived by his wife, Gwen, and several children.

I wouldn’t even know the name except for a Sports board game called Decathalon which was made in the 70′s. Others will remember Mathias for much more. RIP.


Report says Marion Jones failed Drug test

From AP

Five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones, once the charming, dominating face of track and field around the world, failed an initial drug test at the U.S. championships in June, people familiar with the results told The Associated Press on Friday.

Jones’ “A” sample tested positive June 23 for the banned performance enhancer EPO at the event in Indianapolis, one source told the AP on condition of anonymity because the official results are not yet public.

The 30-year-old sprinter made a triumphant return to the sport’s center stage in Indianapolis, with a victory in the 100 meters, her 14th U.S. title but first since 2002.


Jones’ mix of talent and personality helped her dominate the sport in the late 1990s after a standout career in track and basketball at North Carolina.

At the 2000 Sydney Games, she became the first woman to win five Olympic medals in track and field. Jones, who trained with Trevor Graham at the time, won gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay and bronze in the long jump and 400-meter relay.

Since then, however, Jones, one of several athletes who testified to the federal grand jury investigating BALCO in 2003, has been dogged by doping suspicions.


Jones was making a comeback this season after years of struggle.

After taking 2003 off for the birth of her son, she struggled but made the U.S. 2004 Olympic team in the long jump. Jones, who also competed in the 4×100 relay, failed to medal at the games.

If the test results are true, it looks to me as if Ms. Jones took a gambe in order to get back to the top of her sport. How Jones could ever think that she’d get away with it is beyond me. Expect to hear denials and the flaxseed oil or something I ate excuse soon.

At present I’m reading ‘Game of Shadows’ about the Balco scandal. It details Marion Jones use of steroids. Jones is a proven cheater and should retire or better yet be banned for life,


LSU’s Xavier Carter Wins NCAA 100 and 400 Meter Championships

Xavier Carter did something no one has done: Won the NCAA 100 and 400 meter championships.

Xavier Carter of LSU became the first person to win the 100 and 400 meters at an NCAA track and field championships on Saturday, running down the competition in races just 31 minutes apart. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore, who also plays football for the Tigers, had personal bests in both events — a school-record 10.09 seconds in the 100, followed by a 44.53 in the 400.

Carter had intended to run the 200 and 400, but changed his plans because of the crowded meet schedule. He had run only one 100 since high school before coming to the NCAA meet.

His exhausting final day was not done. He left the track to prepare for the meet’s final event, the 1,600 relay. On Friday, he ran the second leg of LSU’s winning 400-meter relay team.

Carter burst through over the final 30 meters to beat defending champion Walter Dix of Florida State in the 100. He broke out of the blocks slowly and was well behind Dix halfway through the race, but his late burst gave him the victory in 10.09 seconds. Dix, also a sophomore, was second. Demi Omole of Wisconsin was third in 10.21.

That’s quite impressive. The 400 meter is at the crossroads between sprints and endurance events whereas the 100 winner is “the world’s fastest man.” Putting those together, let alone in a single weekend, is stunning.


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