An Olympic doping laboratory was charged yesterday with destroying a sample that belonged to U.S. cyclist Tyler Hamilton, a...

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“Unknown perpetrators” are blamed by prosecutors: An Olympic doping laboratory was charged yesterday with destroying a sample that belonged to U.S. cyclist Tyler Hamilton, a gold medalist.

Prosecutors charged “unknown perpetrators” with destroying a backup sample of Hamilton’s blood.

After winning his event at the Athens Games, Hamilton took a doping test, and an initial sample and backup sample were kept by the lab. A test of the initial sample showed evidence of a blood transfusion, but the case against Hamilton was dropped after his backup sample was frozen, leaving too few red blood cells to analyze.

Hamilton tested positive again at a September race, with both samples confirming the result.

Prosecutors also charged Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis with taking banned substances during the Olympics. Sampanis was stripped of his bronze medal in the 137-pound category.

Medal benefits charity: Otylia Jedrzejczak auctioned her swimming gold medal from the Athens Games to raise money for children with leukemia. She sold the medal she won for the 200-meter butterfly to Polish food company Victoria Cymes on Sunday for $82,750.

The money will go to the Wroclaw Medical University.


FIFA salutes Ronaldinho, Prinz: Brazilian striker Ronaldinho won FIFA’s World Player of the Year award. He plays for FC Barcelona of Spain.

Germany’s Birgit Prinz won the women’s award, ahead of American Mia Hamm.

Man found guilty in Nebraska player’s death: A man accused of shooting and killing Nebraska women’s player Jenna Cooper was found guilty of second-degree murder in Lincoln, Neb.

Lucky Iromuanya, 23, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 24. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder in the death of Cooper, attempted second-degree murder for injuring student Nolan Jenkins, and two counts of using a firearm to commit a felony.

Dominguez mulls options: Celaya, a second-division men’s team in Mexico, will not appeal a ruling by FIFA rejecting its bid to hire national-team standout Maribel Dominguez.

Celaya signed Dominguez to a two-year deal last week but FIFA ruled that regulations require a clear separation between men and women players. Dominguez said she would look for other opportunities, possibly in Europe, while continuing to play for Mexico’s national team.


Spadafora pleads guilty: Paul Spadafora, a former IBF lightweight champion, pleaded guilty in Pittsburgh to two felonies — aggravated assault and a weapons charge — for shooting his girlfriend, Nadine Russo, last year.

A sentencing date has not been set. Spadafora and Russo are engaged.


Chancellor honored: Van Chancellor, coach of the Olympic women’s team and the WNBA Houston Comets, was honored by USA Basketball as national coach of the year. The U.S. women won the gold medal.


Federer, Myskina earn awards: Roger Federer of Switzerland and Anastasia Myskina of Russia were honored as the 2004 world champions in singles.

Seattle Times news services