SYDNEY – Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe has dropped a defamation case in an Australian court against the publisher of a French newspaper and a journalist over doping claims because neither of the defendants responded to the claims.
Thorpe was suing the French newspaper L’Equipe, its publisher, and journalist Damien Ressiot, over an article published in March 2007 during the world swimming championships in Melbourne. The newspaper claimed Thorpe gave a urine sample in May 2006 that showed abnormal levels of testosterone.
Thorpe’s lawyer, Tony O’Reilly, said that despite being served with the proceedings several times, counsel for L’Equipe and Ressiot failed to appear in the New South Wales state Supreme Court.
“In these circumstances Ian has decided not to pursue the proceedings as he sees little point in obtaining a verdict in the absence of Mr. Ressiot and the publisher of L’Equipe,” O’Reilly said.
In August 2007, the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) cleared Thorpe, stating there was no evidence to support the allegation he used performance enhancing drugs.
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