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Waters finally calm for Bowie's Hall

Sun Staff

A good wind is filling the sails of Olympian Kevin Hall.

The sailor from Bowie has been cleared to compete in Athens by the International Olympic Committee and the international organization that governs his sport. And the veteran of many national and international races has already lined up his post-Olympic employment.

Hall, 34, is a survivor of testicular cancer who requires monthly injections of the hormone testosterone to replace what his body can no longer produce. But those shots put him at odds with anti-doping policies and require a waiver called a Therapeutic Use Exemption.

On the surface, securing that waiver would seem to be "a matter of the right person lifting the right rubber stamp at the right time," as Hall himself said back in April.

But the process dragged out until this month as three different agencies debated which one should handle Hall's case. Finally, the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency stepped aside to let the medical board of the International Sailing Federation conduct the review.

"We're dealing with international individuals - volunteers - in different time zones responding by e-mail," said Jonathan Harley, the executive director of US Sailing.

Once the protocol was settled, getting the waiver was easy.

Hall will be sailing the Finn single-handed dinghy against as many as 25 competitors in a class of boat he only began sailing competitively a year ago.

After he completes his work in Athens, Hall will begin his next job: navigator of Team New Zealand in its quest to reclaim the America's Cup in 2007. He will be joined on the crew by Terry Hutchinson of Annapolis, who will serve as tactician.

It will be Hall's third America's Cup campaign. In 2000, he was a trimmer aboard Paul Cayard's AmericaOne. Three years later, he was navigator aboard Seattle-based OneWorld Challenge, which was swept, 4-0, by Oracle Racing in the Louis Vuitton semifinals.

10 join Hall of Fame

For the first time in 14 years, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame will be inducting members.

The 10 new members will be introduced Thursday at a ceremony at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theater. They are: swimmers Matt Biondi and Janet Evans; speedskaters Bonnie Blair and Dan Jansen; Jackie Joyner Kersee of track and field; the 1996 women's soccer team; Paralympian Randy Snow for his accomplishments in basketball, tennis and track and field; and filmmaker Bud Greenspan.

Alice Coachman and Florence Griffith Joyner, both of track and field, will be inducted posthumously.

The induction ceremony will be broadcast on the USA Network on July 24.

Keeping engines running

The members of the U.S. gymnastics team are having to peak multiple times in the two months leading up to the summer games.

The U.S. national championships were the first week in June, the Olympic trials are this weekend in Anaheim, Calif., and, a month from now, the men and women still standing will compete at selection camps, where the two Olympic squads will be selected.

Finally, the athletes have to hope they have enough left in their mental, emotional and physical tanks to peak one more time in Athens.

Kelli Hill, coach of two-time national champion Courtney Kupets of Gaithersburg, said her athlete's 10-month rehabilitation from an Achilles' tendon tear may actually be a blessing.

"It's probably kept her fresher," said Hill. "It definitely made her appreciate getting back to competition."

Officially, heat relief

When people aren't talking about Olympic security, they're talking about Olympic heat.

Athens is, after all, the city that normally shuts down in August so that everyone who hasn't melted into the pavement can flee to the islands.

But the Hellenic National Meteorological Service says athletes and spectators have nothing to fear. The average temperature (90 degrees) is only one degree warmer than in Atlanta, the site of the 1996 summer games, with relative humidity lower than in Atlanta, Barcelona (1992) or Los Angeles (1984).

The chance that the temperature will exceed 100 degrees is 4 percent or less. And, the weather wizards say, temperatures begin to drop in the second half of August.

In fact, the weather service concludes: "Even when there is hardly any wind, the cool sea breezes reach the center of Athens."

If that positive spin doesn't work, perhaps the weather service should try converting the temperatures in former Olympic host cities to the Kelvin scale. Which sounds worse, 32 degrees Celsius in Athens or 305 degrees Kelvin in Atlanta?

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