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Fredericks Out; Baumann Banned

September 18, 2000|From Times Wire Services

An emotional and solemn Frankie Fredericks, a four-time Olympic silver medalist in track and field's sprints, withdrew Sunday from the Sydney Games because of an Achilles' tendon injury.

"This is one of the toughest days of my life," said the 32-year-old Fredericks, who finished second in the 100 and 200 meters in the 1992 and '96 Games. "I thought this would be my time to win the gold medal.

"It wasn't an easy decision to make . . . it was very difficult. I wish someone would have made it for me. I'm very sad I can't take part, but for my health it's best not to."

Fredericks said the pain in his tendon began in December during heavy training. His doctors advised resting for two months, but when the pain didn't disappear, Fredericks had surgery in February. The pain returned in May, and he rested again, competing for the first time this year Sept. 3 at Rieti, Italy. He didn't run well there, clocking 20.79 in the 200, much slower than his career-best of 19.68.

"I wasn't going to run 20.5 or 20.3 just to say I've run in the Olympics. [The doctors] could not guarantee there would be no risk. I'm not willing to take that risk.

"The doctors are optimistic that I can run well next year."

Having declared himself out of the Games, Fredericks tabbed world record-holder and two-time world champion Maurice Greene to win gold in the 100.

"He's the man to beat," Fredericks said. "I can't see anyone else."


Germany's Dieter Baumann, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 meters, was banned for two years after failing a drug test last year.

International Amateur Athletic Federation spokesman Giorgio Reineri said an arbitration panel had overturned the German federation's decision to clear Baumann.

Baumann, 35, tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone last November but was exonerated by the German federation after claiming his toothpaste had been spiked.


Members of Jamaica's track team threatened to boycott Olympic relay events to protest team officials' decision to give Merlene Ottey a spot in the women's 100 meters.

A group of Jamaican runners, considered medal contenders in the relays, gathered in the international zone of the Olympic village to publicize their threat, carrying placards reading, "Merlene out, Peta-Gaye in. No relays."

Danny McFarlane, a 400-meter runner, said team officials had announced that Ottey would compete in the 100 in place of Peta-Gaye Dowdie, who beat her in the Jamaican Olympic track trials.

"We don't think it's fair. If it happens, we are not going to run in our relays," McFarlane said. He said he would bow out of the 1,600-meter relay but run in his individual event.

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