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October 18, 1999

Diver’s Suspension Ends October 8 After FINA Reduces Penalty to Two Months

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — FINA, the international aquatic federation, has reduced elite 3-meter springboard diver Tracy Bonner’s suspension to two months as a result of ongoing discussion between the organization, U.S. Diving and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Ending October 8, Bonner is now fully eligible to dive competitively both nationally and internationally.

Bonner, 26, was suspended from competition by the FINA Doping Panel for one year beginning on August 8, 1999, after a test for banned substances revealed a prescribed medication she takes for the treatment of narcolepsy. Issued only two days before the 1999 U.S. Summer National Diving Championships in Houston, Texas, Bonner, with the full support of U.S. Diving, filed a statement of appeal with CAS on August 10. She was granted a stay by CAS on August 12, and allowed to compete at the national championships.

On September 23, FINA communicated to CAS asking the Court to recognize an agreement reached by FINA, U.S. Diving and Bonner to decrease the original 12-month penalty and render a decision pronouncing a suspension of two months, to end October 8, 1999 — coincidentally Bonner’s 26th birthday.

“U.S. Diving is pleased that FINA has reduced Tracy’s suspension to two months and has permitted the use of her prescribed medication for narcolepsy in future competitions,” said U.S. Diving Executive Director Todd Smith.

Bonner placed third in women’s 3-meter springboard at the nationals, and claimed her third consecutive gold medal on synchronized 3-meter with partner Kathy Pesek. The win qualified the duo for a berth at the 2000 World Cup, January 25-29, in Sydney, Australia, where they will compete for one of seven national synchro spots at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Featuring pairs of divers on 3-meter springboard or 10-meter platform, synchronized diving will make its Olympic debut as a full-medal discipline in 2000. Because the Olympic event will utilize a finals-only format, each nation must first qualify to compete by placing in the top seven at the 2000 World Cup. One berth is reserved for the host country, Australia. Bonner and Pesek won a bronze medal in the event at the 1998 World Championships.

(mirrored from original article (*))