OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Athletics: Torrence triumph has tinge of regret

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GWEN Torrence, of the United States, achieved the greatest triumph of her career when she won the 200 metres in Barcelona yesterday, but could not help reflecting on what might have been.

The 27-year-old American finished second behind Katrin Krabbe, of Germany, in both the 100m and the 200m at the World Championships in Tokyo last year and accused Krabbe, who decided not to compete in Barcelona, of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Torrence's Olympic gold medal came two days after it was revealed that Krabbe had tested positive for drugs during out-of-competition tests in Germany.

The American was asked if she felt satisfied with her victory in view of Krabbe's positive test. Torrence replied: 'Yes and no. Those gold medals will never be mine. I always felt she was on drugs. I really believed she was a cheat. I had a suspicion and I said it vocally. I would always congratulate Juliet (Cuthbert) and Merlene (Ottey) after a race, but I don't hug cheaters. I felt so bad in Tokyo after congratulating Krabbe.

'People don't win a gold medal in the World Championships and then start taking drugs. One year afterwards it comes out - she has cost us money. I wish I could get those gold medals back.'

Krabbe has been involved in two doping scandals this year. The German was banned with her team-mates, Grit Breuer and Silke Moller, in February after the trio returned identical urine samples during random tests taken in January. However, the ban was lifted because the German athletics federation was not authorised to carry out out-of-competition tests.

Torrence, who is black, said she felt Krabbe would still manage to avoid a ban. 'Somehow she will find a way of getting back. She is the great white hope,' Torrence said.

Earlier in the week Torrence said she believed she was running against doped athletes when she finished fourth in the 100m but after her success yesterday she retracted her claim. 'The reason I did not win a medal was Gwen Torrence,' she said.

After a tight battle with the Jamaican, Merlene Ottey, on her inside in the first 100 metres, Torrence burst off the bend and ran a brilliant last 100 to finish in 21.81sec, ahead of another Jamaican, Juliet Cuthbert, with Ottey finishing third.