Jessica Hardy Stops Positive Test Appeal; USADA Confirms Hardy Withdraws From Team; USA Swimming Releases Statement; Hardy’s Camp Releases Statement

LONG BEACH, California, August 1. ACCORDING to an article in the Press-Telegram out of Long Beach, Jessica Hardy has elected to postpone her positive drug test appeal. This move guarantees that Hardy will not compete at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

"We didn't want to turn this into a circus and there wasn't enough time left for us to get all the information that would clear her name," Hardy's stepfather Bill Robinson told the Press-Telegram. "But we continue to maintain she never knowingly took an illegal drug."

The paper continued by reporting that Robinson felt that Hardy had grounds to shorten an impending two-year ban for a positive test.

Full text of Press-Telegram article.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has also confirmed that Hardy has withdrawn from the team.

Here is the complete release from USADA:
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today that U.S. Swimmer, Jessica Hardy, of Long Beach, CA, tested positive for the prohibited substance clenbuterol at the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 4, 2008, and has agreed to withdraw from the 2008 United States Olympic Team in the best interests of the team.

While Ms. Hardy could have contested the drug test results before the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (NCAS) and thereafter potentially filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport thereby keeping her Olympic berth in doubt until the eve of the Games, Hardy instead agreed to step aside to allow her teammates to put their focus on their performances.

"While it is an unfortunate circumstance for an Olympian to come this far only to lose a coveted position on the Olympic Team, Ms. Hardy is working expediently and agreeably to resolve the situation with as little impact to the U.S. Olympic team as possible," said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. "While some might have chosen to exhaust their legal options to try to force their way into the Games, Jessica instead chose to put her team's interests ahead of her own."

A panel of AAA arbitrators issued an arbitration award today that was jointly agreed to by Hardy and USADA after Hardy had a full opportunity to review the laboratory test results and to have those results analyzed by independent experts. Hardy did not contest the laboratory findings and was granted additional time by the AAA Panel to investigate possible causes of her positive drug test. The award provides for a two-year period of ineligibility but allows Hardy to come back to the Panel to present evidence which could reduce her period of ineligibility.

Hardy, 21, tested positive for a low level of clenbuterol, an anabolic agent, during the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska on July 4, 2008. Clenbuterol is prohibited as an anabolic agent and as a beta-2 agonist.

USA Swimming then released the following statement in response to today's results:

Statement from USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus:
"As a result of Jessica Hardy's withdrawal from the U.S. Olympic Team, USA Swimming will follow the published U.S. Olympic Team selection procedures, which were approved by the USOC, and posted in their final format on February 22, 2008. According to the pre-approved procedures, swimmers from the existing roster will be placed in the open events. Rebecca Soni will swim the 100m breaststroke and Kara Lynn Joyce will swim the 50m freestyle."

Hardy's lawyer Howard Jacobs then released the following statement:

Jessica Hardy has cooperated fully with USADA since its notice to her on July 21 that she tested positive for a very low level of clenbuterol, a banned substance, during the Olympic Trials. Based upon information obtained as recently as today, August 1, she accepts the fact that the testing was properly done and the results properly reported. She sadly accepts the fact that this necessarily means she will not be able to compete in the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, and faces a possible two-year suspension of eligibility.

Jessica did not knowingly or intentionally take any banned substances. Active investigations are being conducted to determine the source of this very low level of clenbuterol. Following completion of this investigation, Jessica will seek to have her period of suspension reduced substantially. It is anticipated that a hearing on this issue will take place within the next several months.

Jessica is heartbroken at this turn of events, as making the U.S. Olympic Team was her cherished dream and proudest moment. She intends to resume her swimming career as soon as possible, and to again fulfill her Olympic dream in 2012. She thanks her many teammates, fans, and friends who have been so supportive during this difficult time. Their faith in her was justified and she will soon give them more reason to be proud of her and her accomplishments.