Sports court overturns Olympic doping rule

October 6, 2011 - 5:10 AM
Olympic Doping Rule

FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 file photo USA's LaShawn Merritt reacts after winning the Men's 4x400m Relay final at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea. The highest court in sports has overturned a disputed IOC doping rule, clearing the way for reigning Olympic 400-meter champion LaShawn Merritt to defend his title at next year's London Games, officials with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus, File)

LONDON (AP) — The highest court in sports has overturned a disputed IOC doping rule, clearing the way for reigning Olympic 400-meter champion LaShawn Merritt to defend his title at next year's London Games.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Thursday that it invalidated the International Olympic Committee rule that bars any athlete who has received a doping suspension of more than six months from competing in the next summer or winter games.

The CAS panel said the rule was "invalid and unenforceable" because it amounted to a second sanction and did not comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

The case centered on Merritt, the American 400-meter gold medalist in Beijing who had been ineligible under the IOC rule to compete in London even though he completed his doping ban earlier this year.