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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Drug Scandals Overshadow Great Day for Russia

SYDNEY, Australia — When it rains, it pours. With few events to lift the Olympic spirit Tuesday, drug scandals further darkened a leaden sky.

Andreea Raducan, the tiny Romanian gymnast who brought back shades of the great Nadia Comaneci, was stripped of her all-around title after testing positive for a banned drug. She lost her gold but is appealing the decision.

And Marion Jones’ husband, world champion shot putter C.J. Hunter, was all choked up, claiming he would never take steroids, after International Olympic Committee drug chief Prince Alexandre de Merode said the American failed four separate tests for steroid use this summer.

In competition, it was a big day for Russia, winning three gold medals overall, including two in Greco-Roman wrestling.

The IOC said the 16-year-old Raducan hadn’t intended to gain an illegal edge on her rivals. Instead, it expelled the team doctor who gave her a pseudoephedrine-laced cold medicine to treat "a bit of a fever and flu," said de Merode.

"We consider it was an accident," he said, but insisted the rules had to be applied in taking away the medal.

Such rigid application of the rules was too much for Ion Tiriac, the Romanian Olympic Committee president.

"I’m going to fight all the way for that little girl," said Tiriac. "I don’t think even today she even understands what happened to her. She doesn’t get it. She said, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’"

Raducan was the second athlete at the Sydney Games to lose a gold, and she was the sixth to test positive for drugs.

The doping infractions of Hunter, who is not competing in Sydney because of a knee injury, were in a different category.

"I don’t know what has happened and I don’t know how it has happened. How it may affect me is the least of my concerns," Hunter said.

Top IOC officials ridiculed Hunter’s doping defense and accused the United States of being in a "state of denial" about the problem of performance-enhancing drugs.

IOC Vice President Dick Pound and executive board member Jacques Rogge said Hunter was using the "typical excuse" by blaming nutritional supplements.

After the Raducan debacle, the Hunter scandal threatened to destroy one of the Olympics’ greatest stories.

Marion Jones, his wife, was all joy after winning the 100 meters over the weekend. During Tuesday’s off day at the track, the scandal could only hurt her preparations for Wednesday’s long jump and 200 qualifying heats.

"This has been a very difficult last couple of days for C.J. and I, and I am here pretty much to show my complete support for my husband," Jones said at a news conference.

Officials said all of Hunter’s tests showed him with levels of the steroid nandrolone at 1,000 times the allowable amount.

Jones is not accused of using banned drugs herself, but she inevitably will face questions about whether she knew her husband used nandrolone.

"I would hope that all of you would respect the fact that I am competing still here in the Sydney Games. I have four more events to do," Jones said.

The scandal affecting Jones and Raducan put the IOC in a bind.

"We feel we have no choice" in taking away Raducan’s medal, said IOC Director General Fran?ois Carrard. "It’s tough, but that’s what it’s all about. In the fight against doping, we have to be tough and be blind to emotions and feelings."

On the road Tuesday, cyclists had to be blind to danger. In a race marked by several spills, Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard won her second gold medal of the Sydney Games.

Emerging through the sheets of rain on the finishing straight, she outsprinted Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany and Diana Ziliute of Lithuania.

On the wrestling mat, Russia took gold when Varteres Samourgachev beat three-time medalist Juan Luis Maren of Cuba 3-0 at 63 kilograms.

The U.S. softball team won gold, beating Japan 2-1 in extra innings.

In the medal standings, the United States stayed on top with 62 medals, including 25 gold. China was outperforming itself with 50 medals and 22 gold. Russia had 51 medals, but only 17 gold.