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OLYMPIAN SAYS USOC CONDONED MEDICATION

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Olympic shooting silver medalist Ruby Fox said the U.S. Olympic Committee allowed her to take medication containing testosterone and then banned her for taking it.

Fox, who finished second at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and had won a spot on the 1992 Olympic team for Barcelona, said the committee initially acknowledged that its drug-control hotline gave her erroneous advice.But the committee now says that she should have read a list of banned medications instead of relying on the hotline.

"I've cried until I can't cry anymore," said the 46-year-old.

She said the Olympic Committee drug hotline told her twice that the medication was not banned.

But, Olympic officials told her last week that after testing positive for testosterone, she will not be a member of the U.S. shooting team.

U.S. Olympic officials are standing behind the decision despite earlier assurances that she would not be penalized.

Fox underwent a radical hysterectomy 17 years ago and as part of her hormone-replacement therapy, she took Estratest, which contains a small amount of methyltestosterone.

In large doses, testosterone can increase muscle mass, so it is banned under Olympic rules.

"It would be different if we were talking about shot-putting, running or (speed) skating," said Fox's physician, Dr. Robert J. Goodrich of Lake Havasu City. "But shooting? No one has ever told me that male hormones make you shoot better."

Fox said that on Feb. 12, she registered her use of the drug with the Olympic Committee by calling the drug hotline in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In April, Fox qualified for the shooting team and randomly was tested for drugs.

The test was positive, but her husband called the drug hotline to again ask whether Estratest was banned. Again, the hotline said no, Fox said.

She stopped taking Estratest after the April test. In May, another test showed she was drug free.

But Fox received a letter last week saying she was banned from further competition in connection with the Summer Games.

In a letter dated May 8, Dr. Wade Exum, director of the Olympic Committee's drug-control administration, told Fox that he had determined that the hotline operator erred Feb. 12 in telling her that Estratest was not banned.