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De Bruin has hearing on tampering charges

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — The fate of Ireland’s triple Olympic gold medal winner, Michelle Smith de Bruin, is likely to be known this week following a lengthy hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Charged by FINA, the world swimming authority, with “tampering” with an out-of-competition drugs test taken last January, De Bruin’s case was heard by a three-man doping panel last Friday.

Harm Bayer, the German magistrate who chaired the hearing, refused to elaborate on any findings except to say that a decision would be announced soon.

“We know the road we are going down now, but some details have to be tidied up and nothing will be made public before the swimmer herself has been informed,” Bayer said.

An indication of the thoroughness of the proceedings was given by the presence of several condoms lying on the table where the hearing had been held. In the past, condoms have been used by athletes who hide them inside their bodies to produce untainted urine samples during tests.

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The testers who were present at De Bruin’s home last January said there was a strong whiskey odor from the sample. If the swimmer receives a ban, she has said she will appeal the decision to the Court of Abitration for Sport, also in Lausanne.

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