Bulgarian banned 2 years for doping

By wire services
Published January 12, 2006

LONDON - French Open quarterfinalist Sesil Karatantcheva was hit with a two-year doping ban.

The Bulgarian, who beat Venus Williams in the third round at the French, was punished after twice testing positive for the steroid nandrolone, the International Tennis Federation said Wednesday.

She failed one drug test after losing at Roland Garros on May 31, then failed an out-of-competition test in Tokyo on July 5, the ITF added.

Both tests were treated as a first offense by an ITF tribunal that met Dec. 14-15 in London. The ban took effect Jan. 1, and the ITF said she has three weeks to appeal.

OLYMPICS: Picabo enters booth

Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street will be a correspondent at the 2006 Winter Olympics, covering next month's games for NBC's Today Show.

BODE TO SPEAK TODAY: U.S. team spokesman Marc Habermann said Bode Miller is scheduled to make a statement today to clarify the comments he made about skiing drunk.

SWIMMER DIES FROM INJURIES: Eric Namesnik, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident last weekend. He was 35.

CYCLING: Athletes demand apology

A pro cycling organization demanded an apology from WADA chief Dick Pound, who wrote in the Guardian, a British newspaper, that the sport supports a culture of "deliberate cheating."

The Swiss group Cyclistes Professionnels Associes called the comments "disrespectful and defamatory" and gave Pound until Jan. 20 to apologize.

SOCCER: Dutch peddle Nazi helmets

A Dutch company is selling replica Nazi helmets bearing pro-Dutch slogans for the German-Dutch soccer rivalry.

The orange plastic helmets have small Dutch flags and bear slogans such as "Attack!" and "Go, Netherlands Go". Frank Huizinga of the Netherlands soccer association is not amused.

"We reject every link between soccer and the war," Huizinga said. "There are so many ways you can make a joke, but this ... shows no creativity at all."


MARATHON: Mebrahtom Keflezighi, the U.S. silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics, said he'll compete in the Boston Marathon.

SOCCER: Manchester United extended its unbeaten run to 10 games with a 1-1 draw against Blackburn.

VOLLEYBALL: The sport's top pro series announced it is resurrecting the Cuervo Gold Crown - three major tournaments that will offer more than $100,000 per event, along with a $25,000 bonus for the top teams.