The four members of Argentina's show jumping team at the Atlanta Olympics were suspended for six months after being found guilty of "severe cruelty" to their horses.
The international equestrian federation (FEI) reported Monday on the results of a hearing by its judicial committee into the alleged mistreatment of horses by the Argentine riders at Georgia's Pine Top Farm. The panel listened to evidence and inspected photographs of the training methods used by the Argentine team.
The federation said the riders took their horses over obstacles with wire and nails across the top.
"To use for training a course of the kind amounts, in the committee's view, to severe cruelty of which the entire Argentinean Olympic jumping team were guilty," the FEI statement said.
The FEI said the team's Olympic results were erased, the riders were suspended from all international competition for six months starting Nov. 1, and the riders must pay an unspecified amount to cover the cost of the hearing.
Argentina finished 17th in the team show jumping event at the Games. The riders were Oscar Fuentes, Ricardo Kierkegaard, Federico Castaing and Justo Albarracin.
Thomas Muster avoided a suspension over his Davis Cup doubles walkout when the International Tennis Federation decided the $8,000 fine it already imposed was enough punishment.
Muster strutted angrily across the court in Sao Paulo, Brazil, last month, waving his racket and trying to draw the umpire's attention to fans he said had been spitting, cursing and throwing objects at him. They even tried to blind him with mirrors, he said.
Then he walked off court to the jeers of the crowd and his Austrian teammates defaulted their singles matches, giving Brazil a 4-1 victory and a place in the World Group.
Sweden was seeded No. 1 and the United States No. 2 for the 1997 Davis Cup World Group. The other seeded teams in order were France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia.
The draw for the competition will be held today with eight other teams being positioned in the 16-team bracket. The other teams are Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland. A field of 127 teams is entered in '97 Davis Cup play.
Ernie Irvan was released from Carolinas Medical Center after an overnight stay following a crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway in which he was knocked unconscious Sunday.
Irvan, 37, was injured in a three-car accident during the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR Winston Cup event. Track medical personnel said Irvan was unconscious for about four minutes.
Jerry Petty, medical director for the speedway, said safety personnel took particular precautions with Irvan because of head and chest injuries he suffered in a 1994 crash.
Name in the News
Andy Hampsten, 34, one of the world's top cyclists who won the 1988 Tour of Italy, retired after 10 professional seasons.