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Gold Medalist Banned: Why Did Shawn Crawford Get Banned From Olympics If He's Already Retired?

By Jason Van Hoven - Posted: 04/19/13 02:50PM EDT
Shawn Crawford

Crawford, of Culver City, Calif., announced his retirement from the Olympics last June. He has won three Olympic medals throughout his career: one gold and two silvers. (Photo: Creative Commons / Erik van Leeuwen)

In an ironic twist, American sprinter Shawn Crawford, gold medalist in the 200 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has been banned for two years from the Games by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for failing to comply with out-of-competition dope testing even though his agent says he retired last year, according to Reuters.

The USADA issued a statement that the gold medalist has been banned for two years because he specifically had failed to notify drug testers of his whereabouts during the last 18 months.

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But, the banned gold medalist's agent Kimberly Holland said in an email on Friday that Crawford had already announced his retirement from athletics after failing to make the U.S. team last June in Eugene, Ore., where he finished seventh, for last year's London Olympics, per USA Today.

"Crawford retired after the trials last year," said Holland. "He's 35 years of age, and has moved on."

"Unfortunately, his announcement wasn't enough, as he had to complete retirement paper work to be removed from the testing pool."

Olympic athletes are required to give details of their whereabouts to drug-testers for a certain period of each day so they can be located for out-of-competition tests.

USADA said that Crawford accrued three "Whereabouts Failures", which the USADA said constituted "failure to provide required quarterly whereabouts filings and/or failure to be available for testing due to inaccurate or incomplete information provided by the athlete," as the Daily Mail pointed out.

The Herald-Sun reported that the banned gold medalist has also lost all results, prizes and points dating to Nov. 17, the date of his third failure.

His two-year ban began on Wednesday, when it was officially imposed.

Crawford was also a silver medalist in both the 4 x 100 relay at Athens and the individual 200 meters at Beijing. He actually finished fourth in the latter race but was promoted to second after Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles and American Wallace Spearmon were disqualified for running out of their lanes.

Crawford later gave his silver medal to Martina, saying that he believed he deserved it, although Martina lost an appeal to be officially reinstated.

"To read something of this magnitude, that his career ends with a red mark? We have to change that," Holland said. "It hurts to hear that his career would end in such a way when he's contributed so much to the sport."

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