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Capel Out of Relay Over Test

August 29, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

John Capel, the world champion last year in the 200 meters, was pulled from the 400-meter relay team by U.S. coaches after they learned he had tested positive for marijuana at a meet in Munich on Aug. 9.

Nick Davies, spokesman for the International Assn. of Athletics Federations, confirmed the positive test. It was first reported Saturday by the Tampa Tribune. Capel competed in track and football at the University of Florida.

The typical punishment for a first marijuana offense is a public warning and disqualification from the meet at issue. Davies said Capel had been disqualified from the Munich meet.

A second offense can bring a two-year suspension.

U.S. officials, replaced Capel with Shawn Crawford, the Olympic 200-meter champion.

"You know the story," George Williams, the coach of the U.S. men's track and field team, said Saturday. "I told you exactly what I would do if I had anybody with issues."

Rules state that if one runner on a team is disqualified at a meet because of a doping offense, the entire team is considered "contaminated" and loses any medals it might have earned.

That is why the IAAF recently recommended that the U.S. 1,600-meter men's relay team from the Sydney Games be stripped of its gold medal. Jerome Young, who ran in the preliminary rounds of that relay, had tested positive for steroids in 1999. The International Olympic Committee has not ruled on that case.


Hungarian weightlifter Ferenc Gyurkovics was stripped of his silver medal and kicked out of the Olympics for using steroids. Puerto Rican wrestler Mabel Fonseca was also expelled for a positive drug test.

Gyurkovics used oxandrolone, the IOC said. He competed in the 105-kilogram (231-pound) class and set an Olympic record by lifting 429 pounds in the snatch Tuesday but finished second to Dimitry Berestov of Russia in the overall totals.

Ukraine's Igor Razoronov will get the silver medal and Russian Gleb Pisarevskiy the bronze.

Fonseca tested positive for the steroid stanozolol. She finished fifth in the 55-kilogram (121-pound) category.

The IOC announcement extends to 22 the record number of athletes punished for doping in Athens. The previous record was 12 at the Los Angeles Olympics. Five medals have been revoked -- two golds, two bronzes and one silver.

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