PHOENIX, Arizona, July 2. SWIMMING World has learned that the International Swimming Federation (FINA) has backed out of its appeal of Jessica Hardy's doping suspension reduction.
Originally, both FINA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed the American Arbitration Association's decision to reduce Hardy's suspension to one year from two years due to what the AAA deemed was a positive test derived from a tainted supplement.
At the time of its initial ruling, the AAA stated that it would keep open the possibility of a six-month suspension in case the International Olympic Committee did not waive the implementation of an amendment to its Rule 45 governing the eligibility of athletes to complete in the Olympics. The new amendment, enacted shortly before Hardy's positive test, stated that anyone suspended for more than six months due to a doping violation would automatically be banned from competing at the Olympics following the suspension.
The AAA, however, has taken the six-month suspension reduction off the table and finalized its ruling stating that Hardy only has to serve a one-year suspension that concludes at the end of July.
Upon the AAA's finalization of its decision, FINA dropped its appeal. FINA has plenty of other issues to deal with as the swimsuit controversy continues to boil.
WADA, however, is appealing any deviance from a two-year ban for doping to buttress its "strict liability" standard that athletes are 100 percent responsible for any substance that enters their bodies regardless of intent.
A showdown on the implementation of IOC Rule 45 amendment still looms on the horizon with initial hearing dates expected by the end of this year right around the time of the FINA World Cup, which is likely the first international competition that will feature Hardy's return to the pool.