Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

U.S. protests Irish try to increase Smith's wealth

The United States is protesting an International Olympic Committee decision to allow Michelle Smith of Ireland to swim in the 400-meter freestyle.

Smith, who won her country's first swimming gold medal in the 400 individual medley Saturday, was added to the entry list for today's event despite turning in a qualifying time after the July 5 deadline.

FINA, the sport's international governing body, rejected Ireland's request, but was overruled by the IOC, according to Mark Schubert, assistant coach for the U.S. women's team.

"It's outrageous," Schubert said. "It's the worst example of politics in sport that I've ever seen.

"The IOC put pressure on FINA to put Michelle in the event," he said. "We've had several cases over the years where the United States asked to substitute sick or injured swimmers in events and was turned down."

Schubert said other countries had joined the U.S. protest, but he did not know who they were.

Late Sunday, U.S. Swimming spokesman Charlie Snyder said the case had gone to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international panel given final review power in all athletes' disputes at the Games.

A decision must be made before 10 a.m. today, when the preliminaries begin.

In addition to the 400 IM, Smith officially was entered in four other events _ 100 and 200 butterflys, 200 IM and 200 freestyle _ before being added to the 400 freestyle.

Schubert said the Smith case is another example of what he termed "selective enforcement" of FINA rules.

He said the United States has been chastised for wearing logos that are larger than allowed, but he pointed out the Russian women's team displays large name-brand logos on its swimmers without criticism.