by Phillip Whitten
PHOENIX, December 2. NO one would say anything in public, but for two months the rumors persisted: Polish Olympic hero Otylia Jedrzejczak would be indicted for causing the fatal car crash that killed her 19 year-old brother, Szymon, and almost killed her.
Now the rumors have become reality: Jedrzejczak has been charged with unintentionally causing a fatal car crash. If convicted, the world and Olympic champion could face from six months to eight years in prison.
According to the French sports newspaper l'Equipe, the Polish swimmer — who inspired international admiration when she auction off her Olympic gold medal for US$86,000 one year ago and donated the money to a hospital that treats young leukemia victims — was questioned recently by prosecutors before the court at Plonsk, 70km northwest of Warsaw, where the accident took place.
Jedrzejczak, 21, who was released only two weeks ago from the hospital where she was undergoing daily therapy, has been swimming very easily and doing some light dryland exercises since her release. She does not expect to return to full training for another four to six months.
Only three days ago, Jedrzejczak was announced as the female "European Swimmer of the Year" by Swimming World Magazine.