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Skater competes day after grandfather dies

Published Feb. 26, 2006

Kimberly Derrick took the ice with her head bowed and brushed away a tear as she stepped to the starting line. The U.S. short-track skater competed without her biggest fan in the audience Saturday night.

Derrick, 20, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 1,000 meters, the day after her grandfather died while attending the Winter Games. Darrel Edwards , 74, suffered an apparent heart attack after coming to Turin to see his granddaughter skate in her first Olympics.

"This was the most emotional day of my life," she said in a statement after the race. "I'm proud to be at the Olympics and at the same time, my heart hurts so much. When I got onto the ice I was overcome by emotions, but I knew I had to race."

She took an early lead in the four-woman race, but quickly fell back to second, then third and finally last. She bumped Liesbeth Mau Asam of the Netherlands while trying to pass in a turn, but never came close to catching the top two skaters, Canada's Amanda Overland and South Korea's Choi Eun-kyung .

Derrick was disqualified for impeding, but it didn't really matter. She crossed the line in last place, her hands on her knees. Only the top two advanced. The U.S. women have never won an Olympic medal in the 1,000.

Edwards had traveled from Memphis to cheer on Derrick, who also was part of the 3,000-meter relay team that finished fourth.

"I knew I had to race because that's what my grandfather would want me to do," Derrick said. "He was my biggest fan, the one who held my hand while chasing my dream. He was and forever will be my pillar of strength."

JOVANOVIC SETTLES: U.S. bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic said he has settled lawsuits against the makers of a protein powder he claims produced a positive drug test that kept him from the 2002 Olympics. "The matters have been resolved," he said after his team finished seventh in the four-man. "That's all I can say about that." Jovanovic sued MuscleTech Research and Development and General Nutrition Centers in December 2003, contending the powder he was using shortly before the 2002 Games was tainted. He tested positive for the steroid 19-norandrostenedione, which led to a two-year suspension and ineligibility for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

U.S. MATCHES DONATION: The U.S. Olympic Committee will donate $40,000 to the charity Right to Play, matching the amount given by gold-medal winning speed-skater Joey Cheek.

"It does wonderful work," said Jim Scheer, USOC chief executive officer, at a news conference where the gift was announced. Cheek donated his winnings from two medals - $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver - to the charity created by Norway's one-time speed-skating star Johann Olav Koss.

"I wish I had an Olympic bonus to give like Joey Cheek, but I don't," Canada's Clara Hughes said after winning the women's 5,000-meter speed skate. So, she said, she will donate the $10,000 in her bank account.

DOPING PANEL NAMED: The IOC formed a special panel to investigate the doping scandal surrounding Austria's cross-country and biathlon teams. President Jacques Rogge appointed a three-man disciplinary commission to look into all elements of banned coach Walter Mayer 's involvement with the team.

Mayer's presence in Italy triggered a police raid on the Austrians' private lodgings and no-notice doping tests by the IOC on six cross-country skiers and four biathletes. The tests came back negative Friday, but the IOC and Italian police are pressing ahead with the case.

The disciplinary panel is made up of German IOC vice president and lawyer Thomas Bach, Ukranian member and former pole vaulter Sergei Bubka and Swiss IOC executive Denis Oswald.