Sprinter Mitchell Suspended

Sprinter Dennis Mitchell was suspended for two years Tuesday for failing a drug test 16 months ago.

Track and field's governing body said his test showed high levels of testosterone.

The IAAF arbitration panel concluded that Mitchell, the 100-meter bronze medalist in the 1992 Olympics, was "guilty of a doping offense" and had no right of appeal.

The 33-year-old sprinter will regain his eligibility in time for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

A call to Mitchell's home in Florida was answered by his wife, who expected to hear from him shortly. Mitchell's lawyer, Suja Thomas, said from New York she would comment later.

"This decision is final and binding," said Giorgio Reineri, a spokesman for the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

Reineri said he did not consider this a light punishment.

"This is the rule for everybody," he said. "According to our constitution, a ban starts the day after the positive doping test."

The IAAF said Mitchell will be ineligible from April 1, 1998, until March 31, 2000. Any performances by Mitchell during that period are "null and void."

A three-member panel of USA Track and Field cleared Mitchell in December. The USATF did not release the details of Mitchell's defense or the reasons for its decision to exonerate him.

But London's Daily Telegraph reported this year that Mitchell won his case on grounds that his positive result stemmed from having sex four times and drinking five bottles of beer the night before the test.

The IAAF arbitrators met July 24-25 and the organization said today the USATF decision in December was "erroneous."

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