A group of former Olympic track stars who turned professional several years ago are asking to be reinstated as amateurs so they can compete in next year's Olympics and other international amateur meets.
Lacey O'Neal, a Washingtonian who competed as a hurdler in the 1964 and 1972 Olympics, said she and four other athletes will ask the Athletic Congress to reinstate them at the congress' meeting this weekend in Las Vegas.
The Athletic Congress is the new national governing body for track and field, but any final reinstatement would have to be approved by the international governing body, the IAAF.
Joining O'Neal at the meeting will be Olympians John Smith, Lee Evans, Brian Oldfield and John Carlos, all of whom turned professional when the now-defunct international Track Association was founded in 1973. O'Neal said they would request that all track athletes who turned pro be reinstated if they so wish.
The rules on amateurism, O'Neal said, "have never been enforced so we figure we can justify our position by the lack of enforcement by the rest of the nations. $"Most of our competitors are professional athletes, their governments subsidize them and (Americans) have circumvented the rules because we have youngsters on athletic scholarships, which is a form of subsidization."