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Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - Page updated at 04:48 P.M.

Sports Briefing
Olympics will allow transsexual athletes


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Athletes who have undergone sex-change operations will be eligible to compete in the Olympics for the first time under new rules being finalized by the IOC.

The International Olympic Committee convened a meeting in Sweden last month of medical experts in the field and will announce its policy in the next few weeks.

"We will have no discrimination," IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch said yesterday. "The IOC will respect human rights."

Details are still being worked out, but Schamasch said transsexual athletes will be eligible for the Olympics once they have passed a certain amount of time after sex-change surgery.

"The trend is to have an ineligibility period," he said. "Then after certain conditions have been fulfilled, the athlete will be able to compete in his or her new sex."

The exact length of the waiting period hasn't been determined. Schamasch said officials want to make sure that any side effects of hormone therapy have worn off.

Schamasch said he didn't know whether there were any potential transsexual athletes in line to compete in next summer's Athens Olympics, but noted that several international sports federations have asked the IOC for guidance.

• The Greek government withdrew legislation that would have made it easier for brothels to operate in Athens during the 2004 Olympics.

Doping

Oakland Raiders running back Tyrone Wheatley hit a photographer outside a federal courthouse in San Francisco yesterday, hours before testifying before a grand jury probing nutritional-supplements lab BALCO.

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Wheatley was one of five NFL players — including four Raiders — to appear before the panel. Others included former NFL defensive player of the year Dana Stubblefield and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Johnnie Morton.

Also appearing yesterday was Marion Jones, who won an unprecedented five track medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The grand jury's probe is being conducted like an investigation into a heroin or cocaine case, according to the San Jose Mercury-News and ESPN Magazine. Athletes are being asked about drug use and sources of any banned performance-enhancing drugs, including testosterone, human growth hormone and endurance-boosting EPO.

The Mercury-News quoted an unnamed source: "THG is just the tip of the iceberg."

Tennis

The year-end No. 1 ranking already his, Andy Roddick went out and lost 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3) to Rainer Schuettler in the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston.

Roddick fell to 0-3 in 2003 against the sixth-ranked Schuettler, who mixed speeds throughout the windy round-robin match to keep the American off-balance.

Roddick will play No. 4 Guillermo Coria today for a semifinal berth. Coria defeated No. 7 Carlos Moya 6-2, 6-3 yesterday.

Andre Agassi, meanwhile, qualified for the final four by outlasting No. 8 David Nalbandian 7-6 (12-10), 3-6, 6-4.

College athletics

Trustees delayed a vote that could have retired Illinois mascot Chief Illiniwek.

Trustee Frances G. Carroll withdrew her resolution to get rid of the mascot and said she would reintroduce it in March, when most students will be on break.

Auto racing

CART released its 2004 schedule and warned it could run out of money next month before shareholders consider a buyout offer to keep the series going. The schedule includes races in Portland on June 20 and in Vancouver, B.C., July 25.

Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., won the pole for the season-ending NASCAR Busch series race on the reconfigured Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.

Horse racing

Victor Espinoza rode four winners on the eight-race card at Hollywood Park for the fourth time in his career.

— Times news services

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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