Randy Barnes, the world record-holder in the shot put, appealed yesterday to a three-member panel of The Athletics Congress to lift his two-year suspension for steroid use. Under TAC rules, he will receive a decision by Monday.
During a marathon closed hearing at a Washington law firm, Barnes contested the result of an Aug. 7 drug test after a meet in Malmo, Sweden, that indicated he had used the banned substance methyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid.
"In six years of competition, I have never taken any prohibited substance," Barnes said in an affidavit to TAC asking for a stay of his suspension. "I have been subjected to dope tests on approximately 30 occasions since 1985 and have always tested negative. I have always submitted to and passed every dope test administered to me, including random and 48-hour tests."
Barnes refused further comment yesterday through his attorney, John M. Dowd, who served as special counsel to Major League Baseball in the investigations of Pete Rose and George Steinbrenner.
Barnes, 24, was suspended by the International Amateur Athletic Federation Nov. 6 after a whirlwind of speculation concerning his test result. The French sports newspaper L'Equipe reported in September his urine sample contained traces of a steroid. Barnes was not notified of the allegedly positive test until Sept. 12 and not informed of the second part of the process -- the testing of his B sample conducted Sept. 25-26 -- until Oct. 30.
Barnes strongly disputed the testing procedures, saying "numerous departures from the IAAF's procedural guidelines for doping control. . . . demonstrate the total unreliability of the test results."
Documents filed by Dowd alleged that officials who took Barnes's urine sample failed to record the control numbers used on the envelope sealing the samples. "The collection, transfer and testing of the urine samples attributed to Randy Barnes were wholly unreliable," according to the papers. Without the numbers, "there is no reliable evidence that the tested samples belong to Mr. Barnes."
Under IAAF rules, a two-year suspension is mandatory for first-time steroid offenders, but TAC has its own rules that allow for a hearing on an appeal before honoring the IAAF suspension. Barnes would miss the 1991 world championships in Tokyo and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona if the suspension is upheld.
Barnes, of Charleston, W.Va., set the outdoor record for the shot put in May with an effort of 75 feet 10 1/4 inches. He broke the record of East German Ulf Timmerman, who defeated him for the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.