Originally created 01/31/98

U.S. bobsledder banned from Olympics for drugs



NAGANO, Japan -- A member of the U.S. bobsledding team was barred from the Winter Olympics after testing positive for a banned stimulant, officials said Saturday.

Michael Dionne tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine during an international competition in November, according to an announcement by the international bobsleigh and toboggan federation.

A test of the second sample confirmed the positive result.

The three-month ban is retroactive to the date of the competition, Nov. 22, and means he will not be eligible to compete in Nagano. The Olympics run Feb. 7-22.

U.S. Olympic Committee officials said the bobsled team was due to arrive in Nagano later Saturday, but they were not sure if Dionne would be on the plane.

They had no further comment, and the federation provided no further details on the ban.

Dionne, of Alpharetta, Ga., was listed as a push-athlete in the bobsled.

He and Gerald Mock finished third in the two-man events in that November competition at Calgary. Twenty sleds from 11 countries participated.