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Clark reprimanded but not fined for gaffe

Published Sep. 16, 2005

Diving bronze medalist Mary Ellen Clark has been reprimanded by the U.S. Olympic Committee for wearing the wrong outfit during her award ceremony.

After finishing third in Saturday night's 10-meter platform event, Clark wore her Speedo warm-up jacket instead of the official USOC outfit provided by Champion.

"The issue has been resolved," USOC spokesman Mike Moran said Monday. "There are no further sanctions."

Clark faced the possible loss of $15,000 in Operation Gold money for her finish, monthly USOC stipends, and other perks _ including the team visit to the White House.

Clark, 33, was focused on her competition and forgot to bring her Champion outfit, "just an honest mistake," U.S. Diving spokesman Dave Shatkowski said.

Moran said USOC's contract with Champion provides monetary support for athletes.

HOSPITAL VISIT: Silver-medal wrestler Matt Ghaffari of the United States made a surprise hospital visit Sunday to Fallon Stubbs, who was injured in the blast at Centennial Park that killed her mother, Alice Hawthorne.

"He was very nice to me," Stubbs, 14, said from her room at Georgia Baptist Hospital. "I didn't even know his name but he gave me a little hat with an American flag on it that he wore on the medal stand, some T-shirts and an Olympic pin."

Ghaffari let her wear his medal.

He made a second round of visits Monday and planned to give Stubbs more presents. "If we can get somebody to get us Dream Team tickets, we want to go," he said. "She wants me to be her bodyguard."

He visited other patients, too. "He gave me these pins and this oversize shirt that I'm sure he fits into," said Christian Sobb, 24, of Raleigh, N.C., who still was sore from the shrapnel that pierced his pelvic bone.

Ghaffari said he had planned to go to volleyball Sunday but decided instead to go as an ambassador of all Olympians to see Stubbs.

Ghaffari said he also wanted to shake hands with the law officers who helped clear Centennial Park but couldn't track them down. "I wanted to tell them the Olympic medal and Olympic spirit uplifts everybody," he said. "You're the hero, I'm the sportsman."

RUSSIANS APPEAL FINDINGS: The Russian Olympic committee appealed the disqualification of two of its medalists for doping offenses.

The Russians maintained the new performance-enhancing drug the athletes used is not on the list of banned substances. IOC official Jean-Philipe Rochat said an arbitration panel met for 90 minutes Monday before adjourning until today.

Swimmer Andrei Korneyev and Greco-Roman wrestler Zafar Gulyov tested positive for the stimulant bromantan. Korneyev was stripped of his bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke and Gulyov lost his bronze in the 105{-pound weight class.

Lithuanian cyclist Rita Raznaite, who finished 13th in the sprint, also was disqualified, but the Lithuanians did not file an appeal.

LEHRER'S PAIN: The pain starts with a constant headache, shoots down into kayaker Heidi Lehrer's neck and shoulder, and streaks through her hip and right leg.

Lehrer, representing Antigua-Barbuda, has nerve damage near her seventh vertebra, an injury she said occurred during the crash of an Olympic athletes bus. She said her brother, Jacob, an Olympic canoeist, also was hurt.

"Now it's just a joke," Heidi Lehrer said. "We haven't practiced. We got out there for the first time today. We tried to get out there the day after, two days after, and we couldn't paddle. We had to come back in."

Not expected to contend for a medal, Lehrer still plans to compete Wednesday in the women's single kayak.

"I've had my entire Olympics ruined," she said. "It's like they're putting it under the rug. How would they even know what happened? They never talked to us."

O'SULLIVAN TRIPPED UP: Irish distance runner Sonia O'Sullivan says a bug and a sponsorship battle upset her campaign for an Olympic title in the 5,000 meters.

A prerace favorite, O'Sullivan says she failed to finish Sunday's final because of diarrhea. She also was forced to change her uniform in public minutes before Friday's heats, because of a row over sponsorship deals.