U.S. swimmer Jessica Hardy fails doping test: reports
Swimmer Jessica Hardy reportedly tested positive for a banned substance at the recent U.S. Olympic trials.
A source requesting anonymity told the Associated Press late Wednesday that Hardy's A sample tested positive, and NBC's Olympic website reported the B sample also turned up positive.
If true, Hardy, 21, reserves the right to appeal any disciplinary action through the American Arbitration Association and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, whose final ruling is binding.
A first-time offender typically receives a two-year ban from international competition.
Evan Morgenstein, Hardy's agent, told AP that, in a phone conversation with Hardy, she told him: "I never did anything wrong. I never cheated."
Morgenstein further hinted Hardy's tests produced conflicting results.
"I'm very, very concerned about the confusion of her test coming up positive-negative-positive," he said. "She is the one person I would never believe would do anything — anything — to cheat, ever."
Hardy, 21, is one of 596 athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team for the Beijing Games.
But USA Swimming's selection procedure prohibits new members from joining the Olympic team after July 21.
That means Megan Jendrick and Dara Torres could be the lone American entrants in the 100-metre breastroke and 50-metre freestyle, respectively — unless other swimmers already named to the squad can compete in Hardy's stead were she banned.
Hardy won the 100 breaststroke at the Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., and she qualified in the 50 freestyle, the 4x100 freestyle relay and 4x100 medley relay.
"I don't think if you had told me a month ago that I would make it in all three [latter] events that I would have believed you," she said at the trials. "I'm expecting good things for sure."
Set world record at Montreal
Hardy rose to prominence in the 2005 world championships at Montreal, where she shattered the world record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of one minute, 6.20 seconds.
That record was broken by Australia's Leisel Jones (1:03.86) in 2006, but it still stands as the U.S. record, as does Hardy's time of 30.53 seconds in the 50 breaststroke.
Hardy, from Long Beach, Calif., trains at USC with longtime coach Dave Salo.
With files from the Associated Press