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ROWER SHIPPED OUT FOR POSITIVE DRUG TEST

A Latvian rower was expelled from the Olympics after testing positive for steroids, the fifth athlete kicked out since the Sydney Games began.

Andris Reinholds tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone, Prince Alexandre de Merode, chairman of the International Olympic Committee medical commission, said Saturday night.

Reinholds, 29, finished ninth in the men's single sculls. A random test during competition last week showed a nandrolone level four times above the allowable threshold, the IOC said.

De Merode said the Latvian delegation claimed the positive test resulted from Chinese herbal medicine made in the United States, and said the Latvians produced plastic bottles of the product.

De Merode said the organization would investigate how the product got into the Latvians' hands.

Previously, three Bulgarian weightlifters and a Belarussian hammer thrower were expelled for positive tests. At least 20 other athletes were caught in pre-games testing by their sports federations, national Olympic committees or the new World Anti-Doping Agency.

Mountain biking is rough and tough at the best of times, but poisonous snakes and swooping magpies have added extra danger at the Sydney Olympics.

During training, riders had encounters with snakes including the poisonous eastern brown and red belly black. Several riders in the women's 35.7-km cross-country final on Saturday were targeted by magpies guarding their nests close to a challenging downhill section of the bushland course.

But it wasn't the animals that got to Alison Dunlap, the world's third-ranked mountain biker and America's best hope for a medal, during Saturday's race. It was the terrain that reached out to bite her.

Dunlap crashed on the second lap, dropping her out of the lead pack and essentially out of the race. She never recovered and ended up finishing seventh.

"I was really going great, in second place, everything looked good," she said. "But I came to a place where I had to basically thread a needle, between a rock and a tree. My handle bar clipped the tree and my hip hit rock."

Fewer people tuned in for the start of track and field competition than for the opening ceremony.

Friday night's taped telecast, which included Marion Jones winning a 100-meter quarterfinal, drew a 15.0 national rating with a 26 share for NBC. That's up from Thursday's 14.9 rating and Wednesday's 14.6.

The previous Friday, when NBC aired just the opening ceremony, drew a 16.1 rating and 29 share, the highest numbers of the Sydney Games so far.

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