Antonio McKay, a two-time Olympic relay gold medalist who had been suspended by The Athletics Congress for three months for using stimulants, has been cleared by a TAC appeals panel.

McKay tested positive in January for the banned stimulant phenylpropanalomine at a level of 29 micrograms per milliliter. Any level above 1 is considered grounds for penalization.

Charles DesJardins, chairman of the three-person panel, was quoted in USA Today as saying part of McKay's defense was that neither he nor his doctor realized medication prescribed for the flu contained the banned substance.

New rules adopted by the sport's national governing body contain a provision that such ignorance is not a valid excuse.

"I cannot understand how they overturned the decision to suspend," TAC President Frank Greenburg was quoted by the newspaper. "This would set a very bad precedent." . . .

The U.S. Olympic Committee's year-round drug-testing program will cost more than $1 million and involve 4,400 athletes in 37 sports.

The program is part of a joint U.S.-Soviet agreement for year-round testing that replaces a system in which testing was done primarily at specific competitions. The USOC said the testing will be done at 197 sites, including most domestic competitions, in addition to the U.S. Olympic Festival and the Goodwill Games.