Swimming: Lawyer disputes tests on De Bruin

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The Independent Online
THE lawyer of the Irish Olympic champion, Michelle De Bruin, has angrily disputed reports that traces of artificially-produced testosterone have been found in one of her urine samples.

The solicitor, Peter Lennon, said the reports were "further attempts to discredit Michelle". He added: "This is a very malicious piece of publicity on the part of the International Olympic Committee."

Lennon said that the latest type of test undertaken on De Bruin's urine samples had not been approved by the Olympics authorities. "The IOC seem to be saying that in this case 'we are going to effectively hang, draw and quarter Michelle De Bruin regardless'."

Their latest move, he alleged, was designed to "create further doubt and suspicion". "They are putting this information into the public domain as part of a softening up process," he said. "It is an attempt by the IOC to interfere with the course of justice."

On the question of a banned substance being found, Lennon said: "I am not in the business of discussing hypotheses. I am in the business of ensuring that someone as noteworthy as Michelle De Bruin gets a fair trial from the parties who are accusing her of wrong-doing.

"In this particular case, we have the IOC, who have no particular involvement, releasing evil rumour and innuendo into the public domain."

Reports from Spain said the Olympic Committee medical chief, Prince Alexandre de Merode, had talked of a new test to probe for artificial evidence of the banned testosterone hormone and that these new methods had been used on urine samples provided by Ms De Bruin at her Irish home in January. The unnamed officials said a Barcelona laboratory had uncovered signs of artificially-produced testosterone.

De Bruin could not be punished even if the result was confirmed, because the test has not been recognised officially as a method for catching competitors who take drugs.

De Bruin created a sensation by winning three gold medals and one bronze in Atlanta two years ago. Last month, IOC officials said indications of tampering in two urine samples provided by her would be investigated.