New York City Marathon officials yesterday disqualified Rosie Ruiz as a finisher in last year's race, a move that could lead to her losing the medal as the top woman finisher in Monday's Boston marathon.
After an investigation, the seven-member Games Committee of the New York Marathon ruled that Ruiz, 26, an office worker, did not complete that race last October.
"It's sad but true. Rosie did not finish the New York Marathon," said Fred Lebow, president of the New York Road Runners Club, which organized the event.
The decision to invalidate her finishing time of 2 hours 56 minutes 29 seconds was announced at a news conference yesterday in New York. Nina Kuscsik, a committee member, said the step could lead to Ruiz losing the Boston medal since she qualified for Boston through her time in the New York Marathon.
The decision in New York was based on a review of videotapes of the race and the testimony of a Manhattan photographer and another runner.
Photographer Susan Morrow said that on the day of the race she met Ruiz on a subway and the runner told her she had dropped out with a sprained ankle at 10 miles. Runner Cynthia Wuse, whose finishing time was two seconds less than the time recorded for Ruiz, said she never saw Ruiz.
Meanwhile, Boston marathon officials will wait at least until Tuesday before announcing their did-she-or-didn't-she decision.
"Absolutely nothing will be done until Tuesday," Will Cloney, the race director said yesterday. "I had hoped to make an announcement today (Friday), but we had a meeting of the board of governors last night and they decided to hold off and double-check every last bit of information. They are not cautious, but being every deliberate."
Asked if the circumstantial evidence gathered so far indicated Ruiz had not run the race, Cloney said, "We have so much (evidence), it seems almost silly."
Ruiz, who appeared at a New York press conference Thursday to claim she won the Boston women's race, was in seclusion yesterday, according to her unofficial advisor, Steve Marek, president of Suburban Road Runners in Westchester, N.Y.
Marek also indicated that several attorneys have approached Ruiz and "are interested in taking the case. And all who have defamed her reputation could be held liable.
"It's pretty obvious that if somebody takes away something that's rightfully hers it would be pretty damned stupid not to do something about it. I don't want to threaten Mr. Cloney. I presently don't believe he should take her crown unless there's 100 percent evidence."
Jacqueline Gareau of Montreal, who finished second behind Ruiz, was in Boston Thursday night at the request of television station WBZO. The station reported that Gareau would be declared the winner of the race yesterday.
Cloney claimed the station brought Gareau to Boston under false pretenses.
He appeared with her on the air Thursday night and said, "I told her how sorry we were, that there was no way we could compensate her for losing her moment of glory."
Serge Arsenault, president of the Montreal International Marathon and a close friend of Gareau's, said, "I'm so tired of what's happened to her. I told her to jump on the next plane and come back to Montreal.
"She thought she was going to Boston to get the first prize. She doesn't give a damn if it's first or second. Jackie's more tired of what's going on than after running 10 marathons. The TV people tried to use her."