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Sprinter Edwards Suspended

USC alumna appeals the two-year ban. Devers is expected to take her spot in the 100 meters.

August 12, 2004|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

ATHENS — Torri Edwards, expected to contend for an Olympic medal in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, was suspended for two years for taking a banned stimulant, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday, a ruling that barring a successful appeal leaves her ineligible for the Athens Games.

Edwards could not be reached Wednesday for comment. Her track club has previously said that a two-year suspension is unfair. USADA has announced 25 sanctions this year; Edwards becomes the 14th track and field athlete on the list.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport has set up offices in Athens during the Olympics. It is expected to rule on the case before track and field events begin Aug. 18. The tribunal's decision would be final.

Unless the suspension is lifted, Edwards' spot in the 100 will go to Gail Devers, a two-time Olympic champion in the 100 who finished fourth at the U.S. trials. In an account published in Wednesday's New York Times, Devers' agent, Greg Foster, said Devers would run in the 100 if Edwards could not; Foster confirmed her intent in remarks made later Wednesday to Associated Press.

Marion Jones, who won the 100 at the Sydney Games four years ago, finished fifth at the trials. If Devers runs, Jones will not get a lane in the 100 in the 2004 Games.

Devers also is due to compete in the 100-meter hurdles. If she competes in both events, she will race on five consecutive days.

Meantime, Edwards' spot in the 200 would go to LaShaunte'a Moore, who placed fourth in that event at the trials.

Edwards, 27, a graduate of Pomona High and USC, tested positive in April at a meet in Martinique for the banned stimulant nikethamide. She said she took it inadvertently, saying she didn't know it was in glucose pills that had been bought for her on the island.

Under a policy called "strict liability," an athlete is responsible for anything in the body, even if he or she had no intent to take a banned substance.

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