Hammer thrower nails USADA in arbitration

A hammer thrower had her 2-year drug suspension reduced to 4 months yesterday, handing the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency a rare loss in arbitration.

An arbitration panel said it found Jessica Cosby's explanation about taking a "water pill" to help her urinate to be believable and that it wasn't taken to enhance her performance.

Cosby's positive test came shortly after she finished seventh at worlds last year. Upon returning home from Germany, she said she had trouble urinating and her mother gave her a pill containing banned diuretics. The next day, she failed a random drug test.

Cosby said her problem stemmed from depression that set in after a series of events leading up to worlds. She found out her fiance cheated on her, she canceled her wedding, her coach quit, and she lost her coaching job at UCLA.

She testified that upon returning home, she was depressed. Her feet were swollen, she felt "puffy" and couldn't urinate. Her mother gave her one of her pills, which Cosby said she took without doing any research because she was desperate.

Typically, an athlete's first failed drug test results in an automatic 2-year suspension. But the arbitration panel reduced the ban, saying it found Cosby's explanation of severe depression to be believable, and that "it does not believe that taking the water pill had anything to do with sport. She was not trying to enhance and she was not trying to mask."

In other drug-testing news:

* Olympic officials, acting on a tip from the World Anti-Doping Agency, are retesting some doping samples from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin to check for use of the blood-boosting drug CERA. The IOC stores Olympic doping samples for 8 years so they can be analyzed retroactively once new testing methods become available.

* German hurdler Thomas Goller has been suspended after testing positive for anabolic steroids. Goller, 32, won the national 400-meter hurdles title last year.

Philly File

* Two local products were among four St. Bonaventure basketball players fined $250 each after pleading guilty to one charge of disorderly conduct in connection to an on-campus fight in which two men sustained minor stab wounds March 21. Junior guard Malcolm Eleby (Franklin Learning Center), freshman forward Brett Roseboro (Quakertown) and two teammates also were ordered to pay $125 each in court surcharges.

Sport Stops

* Manny Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said talks could begin as early as today for a bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

* The United States was upset by Denmark at the hockey world championships in Cologne, Germany, beaten 2-1 for its second straight overtime loss. The Americans lost by the same score to Germany and must defeat Finland in the last group game to reach the next round.