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Van Gelder Suspended for 1 Year, Will Miss 2012
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The Dutch gymnastics federation officially suspended still rings superstar Yuri van Gelder for one year for cocaine use, but IOC rules make him ineligible for the 2012 Olympics.

The Dutch gymnastics federation's disciplinary committee officially suspended still rings superstar Yuri van Gelder for one year following his positive cocaine test in June.

Van Gelder, the 2005 world champion on still rings, tested positive for cocaine in June at the Dutch Gymnastics Championships, held in Rotterdam. He received an immediate temporary suspension by the Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation (KNGU) until a separate disciplinary commission could decide his fate.

Van Gelder's one-year suspension is retroactive to the date of the test, and he can return to competition July 13, 2010. Rotterdam plays host to the 2010 World Gymnastics Championships on Oct. 17-24.

However, the suspension has left van Gelder ineligible for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. According to International Olympic Committee rule 45, an athlete who receives a sanction greater than six months is not allowed to compete in the next Olympics.

The 26-year-old van Gelder, who has called his actions "stupid" and "idiotic," said he accepted the federation's judgment.

"You have to pay for your mistakes," he told the ANP news agency Monday.

The still rings specialist is the most successful Dutch gymnast in history, winning a world title in 2005 and European titles in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

In its ruling, the disciplinary committee stated it took into consideration two factors when applying the minimum one-year penalty instead of the maximum two years: Cocaine is not a performance-enhancing drug, and van Gelder took immediate responsibility to condemn his own actions.

KNGU President Jos Geukers said the federation supports the committee's ruling.

"The penalty imposed by the disciplinary committee is in accordance with national and international doping regulations," he said. "The KNGU sees no reason to appeal it."

The committee stated in its ruling that the case should serve as a warning to athletes to avoid experimenting with drugs, or to seek help if necessary.

External Link: Dutch Gymnastics Federation

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