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Sunday, December 13, 1998 Published at 09:35 GMT


World: Europe

Olympic medal appeal rejected



Five former Olympic swimmers have failed in their appeal to be awarded gold medals following revelations of drug-taking among East Germans.


[ image: Sharron Davies: Runner-up in Moscow]
Sharron Davies: Runner-up in Moscow
The swimmers - the UK's 1980 silver medallist Sharron Davies, and an American relay team beaten by former GDR rivals in 1976 - had their appeal turned down by the International Olympic Committee.

"You have to rule out the withdrawal and reallocation of medals," said IOC Director-General Francois Carrard at the executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

"It would create a lot of new judicial problems."

But he added: "The matter is not closed. There is a strong desire to explore some other forms of solutions to recognise some situations."

Mr Carrard said in the interests of fair play the only solution would be for athletes accused of taking drugs to hand over their medals to the Olympic museum or to beaten competitors.

Trials highlighted scandal

The East German swimmers did not test positive for drugs at the time they competed at the Olympics. Revelations about doping surfaced years later.


BBC's Harry Peart: IOC does not want to rewrite Olympic history
Two trials of former swimming officials in Berlin this year highlighted abuse which helped East German women dominate swimming from the first world championships in 1973 to the collapse of the Communist state in 1989.

Davies, who said she appealed to highlight the problem rather than get a better medal, finished second in the 400 individual medley at the 1980 Moscow Olympics behind East German Petra Schneider.

Schneider has since said she unknowingly took drugs.

The four Americans were members of the 4x100m medal relay squad which finished second to East Germany at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The executive director of the United States Olympic Committee Dick Schultz said he was disappointed.

BBC Sports Correspondent Harry Peart says the IOC has always resisted taking retrospective action conceding that there are too many variables to rewrite Olympic history.

The drugs issue is expected to re-emerge next year, when the IOC stages a special conference on doping in February.



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