By Phillip Whitten
NAPLES, Italy, June 3 . TRIPLE Olympic medalist Massi Rosolino is hopping mad after an Italian newspaper, La Republica, published allegations by a Mafioso
that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Rosolino's lawyer said today the Sydney Olympic gold medalist in the 200 IM will file defamation of character proceedings against the newspaper.
The lawyer, Alfonso Furgiuele, said Rosolino was planning to sue La Republica after the paper reported that his name had appeared on a list supplied by an ex-trafficker of doping substances to Italian doping investigators
"It's serious that newspapers can end up publishing contents of such a highly defamatory nature," the lawyer said, adding that he had contacted Italy's national prosecutors' office.
"Whoever has damaged my client's reputation must pay. In this case, Rosolino will make legal claim for defamation against two people and all the evidence will show in the end that the accusations were completely false," he said.
Rosolino told a news conference today that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs and was considering leaving Italy for Australia because of the allegations.
"I have an Italian and an Australian passport and I could decide in the future to swim under the Australian flag," said the 23-year-old, whose mother is Australian.
The Aussies, it seems, are taking that possibility seriously. One Australian Olympic swimmer contacted SwimInfo in an effort to reach Rosolino.
"I have never used any doping substances nor have I ever known anyone who could have led me astray like that," Rosolino told a news conference in Naples.
"I am sick and tired of being knocked down in the newspapers for something which I have always been completely against."
Rosolino said the allegations had left him angry and bitter.
After the 2000 Olympics, another Italian newspaper revealed that Rosolino was one of a large number of Italian Olympic medalists who tested with astronomically high levels of human growth hormone in tests conducted in June 2000. However, no action was taken against the athletes because baselines for hGH have not been established, and scientists cannot distinguish between natural (endogenous) and externally-administered (exogenous) hGH.