Windsurfer Hall loses Olympic appeal

The Baltimore Sun

Farrah Hall's Olympic dream will have to wait at least four years.

The Annapolis windsurfer's final plea before a federal arbitrator was dismissed after nearly two days of testimony. The ruling means that Florida windsurfer Nancy Rios, and not Hall, will represent the United States in the RS:X women's event at the Summer Games in Beijing.

"My heart goes out to Farrah Hall, who put her heart and soul into making the Olympic team. She has a bright future in our sport," said Dean Brenner, chairman of US Sailing's Olympic Committee.

At issue have been the results of the October team-selection trials, which were held in Long Beach, Calif. Hall, 26, initially won the decisive final race, but Rios protested the results, contending that a crash and a tear in her sail affected her finish. A jury sided with Rios, punching her ticket to China.

What followed were more than six months of protests, hearings and debates over rules and procedures. After losing previous appeals, Hall's arbitration was assigned to C. Mark Baker, appointed by the American Arbitration Association. Baker was Hall's last hope.

Hall's contention was that after the ruling at the trials, she was not afforded due process and that US Sailing did not properly adhere to its rules.

After 1 1/2 days of testimony from Hall and her witnesses in Providence, R.I., Rios and US Sailing asked for dismissal. Baker granted the motion, and both sides agree that the decision is final.

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