30 Apr 2011

World record holder cleared to compete at London Olympics

12:26 pm on 30 April 2011

World record-holding swimmer Jessica Hardy has been cleared to compete at the 2012 London Olympics if she qualifies for the United States team.

Hardy holds the world record for the 100 metre breastroke but her participation was in doubt because of a disputed doping sanction.

She's been given special approval to compete by the International Olympic Committee because of the unusual circumstances of her case.

Hardy served a one-year suspension after testing positive for the banned steroid clenbuterol at the 2008 US Olympic trials.

Any athlete banned for a doping offence for longer than six months is ruled out of competing at the next Olympics.

The offence normally carries a two-year ban but Hardy was given a reduced penalty after taking nutritional supplements that the manufacturers had guaranteed were safe, only to discover later that the supplements were contaminated.