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Kirk loses a second chance to make Olympic swim team

Original post made on Jul 24, 2008

Stanford grad Tara Kirk wasn't the only athlete to miss a trip to the Beijing Games by finishing third at the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials earlier this month in Omaha, Neb. Kirk, however, finds herself in a unique situation following the likely suspension of Olympian Jessica Hardy for testing positive for a banned substance.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 24, 2008, 10:58 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by VLH
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Keith, your article is an excellent example of bias and irresponsible reporting. Your statements are one-sided and accusatory and don't offer a neutral presentation to this subject. You have not presented ALL of the facts, only those that reflect poorly against Jessica and in pity of Tara. I wonder how your article would go if the situation was reversed?

It is great to support your local athlete, but perhaps you should be more careful electing yourself judge and jury and declaring a verdict before all of the facts are in and reviewed by those that are actually more qualified than you to assess the situation and outcome.

As of yet, there has not been any decision on Jessica's status with the US Olympic Team nor whether her tests were even accurate. That has yet to be determined, yet you have already told your readers there will be a "likely suspension of Olympian Jessica Hardy for testing positive for a banned substance." Whatever happend to the American right of "innocent until proven guilty??"

It is reporters like you that too often are irresponsible with their power of information. Abusing this power by being presumptuous in what you report, too quick to judge and make conclusions to appease your personal bias or those of your readers. In turn you insult your readers by not allowing them to arrive at thier own conclusions or judgements based upon all of the facts thare are reported in an unbiased manner. Perhaps read the article covering the same topic in the NYTimes for an example of a more neutral presentation of the facts.

Perhaps you should expend your energy in support the US TEAM rather than trying to hurt the reputation of one individual before it is justified.

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Posted by BL
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2008 at 6:11 pm

I found the article to be factual and balanced, contra what Jessica's mom, um, I mean, "VLH" writes in her comment. What facts that "favor" Jessica were omitted? Given a positive drug test, I don't think it's a leap to say that a suspension is "likely" -- other news outlets are reporting the same thing. And being on the US Olympic team is a privilege, not a right. As such, there is no right of "innocent until proven guilty".

VLH's comments sound a lot like what Marion Jones was saying ... until she confessed.

No tolerance for positive tests. There will always be excuses, especially by the family of the dopers.

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Posted by Alan
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 24, 2008 at 10:42 pm

If Jessica Hardy tests are positive and she truly isn't going to be swimming in the Olympics, than how is it in the best interest of the US Team not to have Tara Kirk swimming for the US at the Olympics? VLH, why don't you put the interest athletes that work hard and compete fairly against those the (alegedly) don't?

If Jessica Hardy's test are a false positive, then it truly is a tragedy for her. However, if an athlete that cheats to get ahead denies a spot to someone deserving of a spot like Tara Kirk than that is a tragedy for the entire US Olympic swim team.

These results were known on July 8th why did it talk so long, until the dead-line has passed for it to be known.

I say let Tara Kirk swim; she deserves it.


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Posted by VLH
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2008 at 7:07 am

1) I am not Jessica's mom. I don't even know Jessica personally. Again, you are presuming and assuming based on nothing. This neighborhood selector only offers options within California. Welcome to the 21st century and the internet, I don't live in California.

2) My point is that regardless of whether Jessica intentionally or unintentionally took illegal substances, it is not the job of the reporters out there in the media to be the one that decides her fate or her guilt. That is the job of the experts and officials. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty, but more often than not the media takes it upon themselves to act as judge and jury making statements that are conjecture or biased opinions based on only few facts, ultimately condeming someone before they have had any chance to defend themsleves and in turn ruining people's lives. That is careless reporting. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, for reporters and editors, that is what the OpEd page or section if for, not the news article intended to report the facts.

3) If you read other articles, there are many other facts that are not mentioned or referenced at all in this article. Yes, Jessica's fate on the team is in jeopardy, but if you read this article he is saying that is likely to happen, she has two opportunities for appeals. That is not mentioned at all here. I only know what I read too, but I also read from more than one source. If you read other sources, there are reports that Jessica has NEVER tested positive in the several years of her competing and being tested and there were three tests done over three different days during the trials. the first and the last tests were NEGATIVE. Was this mentioned here, no. And I am not 100% sure, but if I recall correctly, the first test was after the 100 breast final... Jessica tested NEGATIVE, indicating she won that race, fair and square.

4) I agree it is unfortunate that Tara lost by .01 seconds. I am not overly familiar with swimming but I would guess that that small of a difference could be attributed to not stretching out her arm far or fast enough, her turn not be quick enough. I friend of mine missed the Seoul Olympic by .5 secs, due to a bad flip turn. Who knows?
It is not Jessica's fault that it took them this long to test samples, if they had done all this last week, then that would have been before the cutoff to submit the team roster and possibly allowed for substitutions if necessary. All of the athletes have a responsiblity to be careful what they take when it comes to vitamins and supplements (I don't know but may be Tara takes them too), but there are many of them that do it and not all realize what is in them, despite how diligent and careful they are in finding out. For all anyone knows it could be a honest mistake on Jessica's part or on the lab's part. You are not perfect nor is Jessica, Tara or anyone else.

Personally, I don't think Jessica is guilty, obviously, and I don't think she did anything at all intentionally and I don't think she "cheated". I am sure she trained just as hard as Tara. I do agree those that "cheat" should be punished but, don't judge so quickly until you know all of the facts. Regardless, both Tara and Jessica worked very hard to get where they are and become the athletes they have become.

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Posted by Ok...
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2008 at 7:38 am

VLH, your "additional facts" seem secondary to me. The article said Hardy tested positive, her lawyer confirmed it, and that she was likely to be suspended. It's a short article, whose primary topic is what will happen IF the girl is in fact suspended!

You jumped all over the story for "bias" and "irresponsibility" - why? Your POST is longer than the whole article, and this isn't even your local paper. I'm not sure what ax you have to grind but thanks for your two cents on our local reporting. Nice job, Weekly and reporter Keith Peters.

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Posted by Kyarukirai
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2008 at 10:23 am

Excellent article, Keith. Tough luck for Tara.

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Posted by Baron Parker
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2008 at 11:20 am

Just a couple of other comments:

The article mentioned the positive tests for banned substances, which is accurate. It also mentioned a "likely" suspension, based on historical precedence, also accurate. No judgement on fate or guilt or innocence was stated in the article. The judgement guilt or innocence rests with the IOC, not local laws or the U.S. Constitution. So please spare us with the "innocent till proven guilty" rant -- the rules of engagement are sport and event specific, and not subject to the U.S courts. Also spare us the diatribe of irresponsible journalists deciding their fate -- the fate is in the hands of the IOC. You may disagree with the handling of this circumstance by the IOC, but leave the PAWeekly out of it. The article was fairly and accurately written.

Another side note: Ms. Hardy is an experienced, gifted, and accomplished athlete who has been in the sport for a number of years. If indeed the results of the tests are accurate and upheld, then one has to wonder why she had such a substance in her system. And no matter which way you cut it, its a pretty stupid situation that could have easily been avoided my Ms. Hardy or her trainers.

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Posted by Retired
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Reporters don't have to decide Jessica's "guilt." The positive test has already decided that. No one in Jessica's camp has denied the validity of the test. Not her, not her lawyer, not her coach. Really, the only thing in question is the length of her suspension.

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Posted by Jackson White
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2008 at 1:14 pm

What worries me is the time frame of this particular drug stop taking it and in 4 days it is undectable well her coach could have been getting it for all his swimmers by 1 team member using a drug that is freely available in America puts a ? over all Olympic team swimmers.....she should go just for that reason alone!

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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 26, 2008 at 10:03 am

according to the Mercury News, Tara is still appealing. This is an ongoing story in the next few weeks. It is not an open and shut case.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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