• U.S.

Olympic Monitor, Mar. 11, 1996

3 minute read


JESSICA FOSCHI OF OLD BROOKVILLE, NEW YORK, WANTS to be an Olympian. But, pursuing that dream, the promising 15-year-old swimmer has become entangled in the politics and legalities of drug testing, a controversy stretching from the U.S. to China.

Last August Foschi tested positive for a banned, performance-enhancing steroid. Under the rules of FINA, the sport’s international governing body, she should be suspended for two years–eliminating her from the Olympics. However, Foschi said she did not know how the substance got into her body and that she never knowingly used illegal drugs. A panel for U.S. Swimming believed her. Last November the U.S.S. gave her two years’ probation, a penalty that lets her try out for the Olympic team.

That decision, however, put U.S.S. in a hypocritical position. How could it impose probation when it has pressed for stiffer penalties on Chinese swimmers who failed recent tests? U.S.S. president Carol Zaleski appealed for a clarification. Last month the U.S.S. board of directors said that while it believed Foschi, it had to suspend her. Then FINA issued a mere “strong warning” to Australian swimmer Samantha Riley after she tested positive for a banned but non-performance-enhancing drug. Zaleski reappealed, this time to get Foschi’s ban rescinded.

Foschi is back on probation, but FINA must review the case; and Beijing is now criticizing what it sees as FINA’s double standard. All that hasn’t stopped Foschi. U.S.S. said last week that she would be allowed to swim in the Olympic trials, which begin this week in Indianapolis.


The scene last week was a nightmare come to life. Four masked terrorists held 25 passengers hostage on Atlanta’s MARTA subway system. SWAT teams stormed in, killing all but one terrorist–but not before the captors murdered four hostages.

Relax. This was an Olympics security drill. “It was successful as a learning experience,” says MARTA’s Laura Gillig. Also planned: scenarios with chemical-bomb explosions–with fewer theoretical casualties, officials hope.


When Wade Miller called Atlanta to order volleyball tickets, everything went smoothly until he gave the agent his Santa Fe, New Mexico, address. She said she couldn’t sell tickets to anyone living outside the U.S.; he would have to call his own national Olympic committee. Miller says he spent the next half an hour trying to convince the agent and a supervisor that New Mexico was part of the U.S. An Olympics official later apologized to “everybody out in New Mexico.”


Top American cyclist Lance Armstrong is skipping the Olympic road trials in May, but don’t count him out of the July 31 Olympic road race. He’s hoping to amass enough World Cup points to earn him an automatic spot on the U.S. team. To do that, he will concentrate on the sport’s premier event, the Tour de France in June. “The Tour will be the key for the Olympics,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The [Olympic gold medalist] will come from the Tour.”

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