German Swimmer Bernhardt Drops Legal Battle

July 21, 2008 10:26:17 AM PDT
German swimmer Vipa Bernhardt gave up a legal effort to gain a place on the Olympic team and will not travel to Beijing. Bernhardt, who swam for the University of Florida, won a court injunction last week aimed at giving her a place on the Olympic team despite her failure to qualify.

Following the injunction, the German swimming federation DSV added Bernhardt's name for a late nomination to the Olympic team, which is selected by the German Olympic Sports Union (DOSB), the highest sports body in the country. Bernhardt was supported by her Frankfurt club.

But the swimmer withdrew her name Monday, one day before the DOSB was to rule on her application, DSV president Christa Thiel said Monday.

"The subject is closed, there will be no more legal steps," Thiel said.

Bernhardt finished third at the German trials in the 200-meter breaststroke. She argued that second-place Anne Poleska should not have been allowed to compete at the meet because she had competed for an American club.

Poleska, the 2004 bronze medalist in the 200 breaststroke when she swam for the University of Alabama, said the information was based on a false report on the Internet. The German swimming federation allows athletes to compete for schools, but not clubs.

Bernhardt's attempt to gain a place on the team was criticized by the swimming federation and Olympic officials.