LOS ANGELES, California, April 28. JESSICA Hardy has been cleared to compete in the 2012 London Olympics, according to her attorney Howard Jacobs.
The announcement is surprising considering yesterday's announcement that the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee were asking the Court of Arbitration for Sport to provide a definitive ruling on how IOC Rule 45 will be applied going forward.
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.
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.
Today, however, Jacobs announced to the media that Hardy has been cleared of being under Rule 45's jurisdiction:
Jessica Hardy has been cleared to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games, based on a formal acknowledgement by the International Olympic Committee ("IOC") that she is not subject to the IOC's "Regulations Regarding Participation in the Olympic Games – Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter," known as the "Osaka" or "6 Month" rule, as a result of her July 2008 positive test for clenbuterol, which caused her to withdraw from the 2008 Beijing Games. This clears the way for Jessica Hardy to compete at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, and assuming that she qualifies, to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Jessica Hardy responded to this news as follows:
"I am ecstatic that the IOC has recognized my unique situation, and that this rule does not apply to me. With this final hurdle now behind me, I can now focus 100 percent of my efforts on preparing for and representing my country at next year's Olympic Games, a lifelong dream that was taken away from me in 2008. I continue to be grateful for the numerous expressions of support I have received from teammates, competitors, and fans all over the world during this ordeal."