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Citing family, Agassi bows out

By Compiled from Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 7, 2000

NEW YORK -- Andre Agassi has withdrawn from the U.S. tennis team that will compete in the Sydney Games.

In a U.S. Tennis Association release Wednesday, Agassi cited "personal reasons" for pulling out, presumably related to his sister and mother, who have breast cancer.

"For personal reasons, as a consequence of a family medical situation, I will not be able to participate in the upcoming Sydney Olympics," Agassi said in the release. "My time and attention should be with my family during this period."

USTA officials said they will name a replacement in the next few days.

MORE TENNIS: French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten dropped out of the Games after refusing to wear official team apparel, the Brazilian Olympic Committee said. Kuerten said he had to honor his contract with Diadora SpA, an Italian sportswear company.

BASKETBALL: Sheryl Swoopes was helped from the court with a left ankle sprain with a minute to play in the U.S. team's 62-45 exhibition victory over Slovakia at Adelaide, Australia. Swoopes was listed as day to day. Teresa Edwards also was injured, sustaining a hip pointer in the first half. She also was listed as day to day. ... In a contest that was more of a layup drill than a competitive game, the U.S. men's team routed the Japanese national team 105-49 at Saitama, Japan. A hand injury kept Kevin Garnett out of the game. Garnett said the injury was "nothing major."

DRUGS: Six runners trained by famed women's track coach Ma Junren failed drug tests and were among 40 athletes and coaches dropped from China's team. Ma was among the 13 officials dropped. Drugs were not involved in all the removals, the Chinese said. Six of the seven runners, including former 5,000-meter world record holder Dong Yanmei, failed blood tests for the banned performance-enhancing drug EPO. ... A second athlete in as many days was kicked off the Canadian team after a positive drug test. Casey Wade, a director for the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which performed the test, said equestrian rider Eric Lamaze tested positive for cocaine. Wade had no further comment. Lamaze could not be reached for comment. He also tested positive in 1996 and was suspended from competition for four years. The suspension was commuted to seven months after he appealed on the grounds he took cocaine four times in three months before the 1996 Olympic trials for personal use, not to gain a competitive edge. ... Sydney airport customs officials seized banned performance-enhancing drugs from a member of Uzbekistan's delegation today, International Olympic Committee official Jacques Rogge said. In a statement, the Australian Customs Service said it seized "what appears to be a small quantity of human growth hormone" in the baggage of an Olympic team official.

GRECO-ROMAN WRESTLING: Rejecting an emergency request by the U.S. Olympic Committee, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to keep Matt Lindland off the American team. Stevens, acting without comment, left intact court rulings that forced the USOC to reinstate Lindland. Committee members sought to keep Keith Sieracki, the trials winner at 1671/2 pounds, on the team instead.

TRACK AND FIELD: World shot put champion C.J. Hunter had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, threatening his participation in the Olympics. Hunter had surgery on a torn lateral meniscus Sunday and he said his status "is day to day." He is scheduled to compete Sept. 22. ... The U.S. women's 400-meter relay team for the Olympic final will consist of Chryste Gaines, Gail Devers, Inger Miller and Marion Jones.

- Staff writer Darrell Fry contributed to this report.

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