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Celebration Bittersweet for Poland

July 21, 1996|From Times Wire Services

The first few hours of the Atlanta Olympics were tinged with tragedy for Poland, wiping out that nation's thrill at winning the first medal of the games.

Evgeniusz Pietrasik, 48, chef de mission for the Polish Olympic team, collapsed on the field during Friday night's opening ceremony and died at an Atlanta hospital.

A medical examiner said Saturday that Pietrasik died of a heart attack that did not appear to be heat-related. An autopsy showed a history of heart problems, said Allen Glover, an investigator with the Fulton County medical examiner's office.

Hours after Pietrasik's death, Poland won the first gold medal of the Centennial Olympics when Renata Mauer won the women's 10-meter air rifle competition.

Burikhon Jobirov, president of the national Olympic committee of Tajikistan, also suffered a heart attack at the stadium during the opening ceremony and was in stable condition Saturday at Georgia Baptist Medical Center.

A journalist from Slovenia, meanwhile, suffered a seizure at the opening ceremony and was taken to Georgia Baptist, said Lyn May, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

They were among 391 people treated at the stadium, mostly for minor problems such as diarrhea and respiratory infections.


Australian sprinter Dean Capobianco will learn Thursday whether he will be banned from the Atlanta Games over a positive drug test.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation said its rule-making Council would take up the case at a special meeting the day before the start of track competition.

Capobianco, Australia's national 200-meter champion, tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol at a meet in Hengelo, Netherlands, on May 27.

Steroid use carries an automatic four-year ban under IAAF rules. But the Doping Tribunal of Athletics Australia cleared Capobianco this week, saying the testing procedures could have been flawed.

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