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The Puerto Rican Olympic Committee Friday banned two sisters...

By RAY GARRIGA

SAN JUAN, P.R. -- The Puerto Rican Olympic Committee Friday banned two sisters from future participation in events sanctioned by the organization because one of the identical twins ran for the other at the Los Angeles Olympics.

The decision, handed down in a resolution by an investigating commission for the committee, came almost two months after Margaret de Jesus admitted she ran for her sister Madeline in the qualifying round of the women's 4 x 400 relay on August 10.

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The relay team's coach and chief trainer at Puerto Rico's Catholic University, Francisco Colon Alers, was also handed a lifetime ban from international competition.

At the same time, the other relay team member, Angelita Lind and sisters Marilande and Evelyn Mathieu were hit with a one year suspension, according to the statement released Friday by the commission -- known by its Spanish acronym COPR.

In its report, the commission exonerated the team's athletic trainer Gabino Irizarry and Puerto Rican chief coach Freddie Vargas of having previous knowledge of the de Jesus switch.

The resolution was signed by the president of the commission which investigated the case, Osvaldo L. Gil, and panel member Esteban Rodriguez Maduro. The third member of the commission, Antonio Rodriguez Fratichelli, was preparing a separate opinion.

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Madeline testified before the commission that she planned to have Margaret -- a dead ringer for herself -- take her place in the line-up after Madeline injured herself in the long jump competition.

Madeline said she informed Colon of the plans. But Colon testified he did not believe the twins would pull the switch until he was informed once the race was under way.

The relay team qualified but Vargas pulled it out of the finals when he discovered the illegal swap.

Margaret, who had failed to qualify for the Olympic team, had traveled to Los Angeles for the games.

The parties penalized parties have 20 days to appeal the COPR decision.

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