IOC won't recognize DeMont
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The International Olympic Committee refused Monday to offer special recognition to Rick DeMont, the American swimmer stripped of his gold medal after a positive drug test 29 years ago.
Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee said it would recognize DeMont at its board meeting in April in a gesture intended to clear his name and acknowledge that he was not a drug cheat.
The 44-year-old DeMont, now a swimming coach at the University of Arizona, hoped the IOC would consider restoring his gold medal or at least offer some form of official acknowledgment that he was not an intentional doper. But the IOC's legal commission ruled out any action Monday.
Canadian IOC member Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said he raised the issue of recognizing DeMont at the meeting but found no support.
"The juridical commission didn't consider it very long and was not inclined to recommend anything further," Pound said. "I ran it up the flag pole and nobody saluted."
DeMont said he was not disheartened by the decision.
"I wasn't really expecting a gold medal," he said from his home in Tucson. "The USOC and an IOC member and the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency have all cleared my name. To me that seems like a real positive step to come out of this tornado that I have been living in."
DeMont's lawyer, David Ulich, said favorable comment from the IOC "really would have been icing on the cake."
Ulich doesn't think the IOC's refusal to give him DeMont special recognition minimizes the action of the USOC. Ulich said the IOC was concerned about setting a precedent, and that it's refusal does not reflect personally on DeMont.
Several years ago, the IOC rejected a petition to reopen the DeMont case.
Pound lamented that DeMont had been listed by an Australian newspaper during the Sydney Games as No. 2 on the all-time list of Olympic drug cheats behind Ben Johnson.
"That's what motivated me to raise the issue," Pound said.
But the commission was concerned about setting a precedent that could lead to dozens of other athletes contesting Olympic results going back many years, he said.
"The commission was inclined to say it was a United States athlete, it's a United States problem, they (the USOC) acknowledged there was no intent, and that's probably enough," Pound said.
DeMont said the short amount of time between last week's USOC recognition and the IOC meeting might not have allowed members enough time to study his case. He said he will not actively pursue IOC recognition or a gold medal, but he knows others will be lobbying on his behalf.
"This situation will keep coming up because it's something that needs to be made right," he said. "But I'm closing the book for now."