NOTEBOOK From Athens

Edwards loses appeal: In a key test of strict new anti-doping rules Tuesday, U.S. sprinter Torri Edwards was ruled out of the Olympics, an arbitration panel upholding a two-year suspension imposed after she'd tested positive for a banned stimulant. The panel, from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, held Edwards, 27, responsible for taking glucose tablets laced with the nikethamide at a meet in April in Martinique, an island in the French Caribbean. She had said she didn't know the tablets contained the stimulant. The panel said she should have known and upheld the two-year ban, the typical sanction for a first doping offense.
Greek sprinters withdraw: -- Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou withdrew today from the Athens Games, nearly a week after they missed a drug test and were later hospitalized following a suspicious motorcycle crash. Kenteris also said he cut ties with his coach, Christos Tsekos, who had been suspended by the Greek Olympic Committee, along with the two runners.
Violence mars celebration: A fatal shooting and an unseemly spat between soft drink companies has marred the hometown celebration for a weightlifter who became the first Thai woman to win an Olympic gold medal. A gang brawl led to the shooting at a victory party hosted Tuesday night at the home of the parents of Udomporn Polsak in the northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province, police said Wednesday. Further dampening the spirits of the Olympian's family was bickering between distributors of Coca Cola and Pepsi, who both staked claims to give away their drinks in front of the family house.
Special delivery: If U.S. whitewater canoe racer Matt Taylor wins a medal, it might not be the best thing he takes back home to Atlanta. Taylor and his wife, Kieran Cannistra, are expecting a baby. Despite being eight months pregnant, she was traveling to Athens on Tuesday. The couple has made arrangements with a hospital near Olympic Stadium in case she goes into labor.
Champion sheik: His cousin rules Dubai and his family owns some of the top racehorses in the world. Now, Sheik Ahmed Al Maktoum stands out on his own as the United Arab Emirates' first Olympic champion. Al Maktoum tied an Olympic record with 189 points, winning the gold medal in men's double trap with such ease he was just shooting for fun at the end. The 40-year-old Al Maktoum finished with a 10-shot lead. Second place was just as significant -- Rajyavardhan Rathore won India's first-ever individual silver medal. Wang Zheng of China won the bronze with a 178.
Back at work: Merlene Ottey's seventh trip to the Olympics probably will be her last. The 44-year-old sprinter is competing in Athens for her new country, Slovenia. Ottey won eight Olympic medals for her native Jamaica and her 14 world championship medals are the most in track and field history. Disputes over her selection for the Sydney Games left her bitter, though she won a silver with Jamaica's 4x100-meter relay team. Ottey moved to Slovenia to train with Srdjan Djordjevic and eventually gained citizenship from the tiny Alpine republic, whose only resemblance to the Caribbean is a small strip of the Mediterranean coast.
Associated Press
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