LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 27. JESSICA Hardy may learn her Olympic fate much earlier than was previously thought likely. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) have agreed to ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for a definitive ruling on IOC Rule 45.
Rule 45, specifically entitled "Regulations Regarding Participation in the Olympic Games – Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter," states that any athlete receiving a doping sanction of greater than six months is barred from competing in the next Olympic Games following the expiration of the doping sanction.
"In the interest of ensuring that all eligible athletes are able to compete in their respective Olympic qualification process, and to establish a degree of certainty as we head toward the Olympic Games in London, the USOC and the IOC have agreed to place the question of the regulation before the CAS for a definitive ruling," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "I'd like to thank the IOC for their willingness to proceed in this manner and for the quality and the tone of the discussions that we have had regarding this matter."
The rule was passed on June 23, 2008, putting Hardy in its jurisdiction as her positive drug test for clenbuterol occurred in July 2008 at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Last year, CAS supported a reduction of Hardy's mandatory two-year suspension to one year due to a tainted supplement. This reduction still left her in harm's way when it came to Rule 45, since her suspension was more than six months.
The previous consensus on the likely outcome for Hardy relied upon Hardy making the 2012 U.S. Olympic Roster during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Rule 45 then would have been applied, and Hardy would have been removed from the roster. This would have given her an actual damage to sue against to be rectified. This same situation would have potentially occurred with a variety of athletes, with all of these proceedings being heard by CAS. With an early ruling, Olympic athletes will have a more definitive expectation of how Rule 45 will apply.
While USOC is the petitioner in the process, the arbitration procedure will be conducted in a manner so that the CAS ruling will be widely accepted.