Goalie's Positive Test Disqualifies Canadians

Goalie's Positive Test Disqualifies Canadians
Posted by FoM on August 02, 1999 at 13:00:35 PT
By Camille Powell,Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug. 1—After a Canadian roller hockey player tested positive for banned substances, his team was stripped of the gold medal at the Pan American Games. Goalkeeper Steven Vezina, 23, tested positive for two stimulants, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, as well as an anabolic steroid, Nandrolin. 
He was randomly selected to be tested after Canada's 7-6 victory over the United States in the roller hockey final Tuesday.In accordance with Pan Am Games rules, the gold medal was awarded to the United States. Argentina receives the silver medal, Brazil the bronze."This is not an easy situation," said Carol Ann Lethren, the president of the Canadian Olympic Association. "The fact that it is an individual impacting an entire team makes it difficult."Andrew Pipe, the chairman of the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport, described nandrolene as a drug that is used in the agriculture industry to increase muscle mass of animals for consumption. Pipe added that the level of nandrolene detected in Vezina's urine--16,000 parts per million--was the largest he had seen. Vezina has been banned from competing in amateur sports in Canada for four years, because of the positive test.Cuban Troubles During the first week of the games, there have been reports of agents stalking Cuban athletes outside of the athletes village at the Canadian Forces Base. One local newspaper is running a contest inviting readers to predict the number of Cuban athletes that will seek asylum during the games, promising a trip to Cuba to the winner.Another paper printed a picture of a local store with a sign in its window reading, "Cuban defectors welcome!"In response, the Chefs de Mission from the 42 participating nations issued a statement Saturday in which they "strongly denounce these negative actions that have affected not only Cuba, but all of the Americas and that have interfered with the Olympic movement and spirit of equality and good sportsmanship.""What really broke the camel's back was at the end of the week, some Cuban athletes were in the supermarket and ran into agents," U.S. Chef de Mission Herman Frazier said in an interview today. "The athletes happened to be some of his combative athletes--karate and judo--and [Cuban sports official Alberto Juantorena] said that eventually there might be an incident."Six Cubans reportedly have sought political asylum in Canada. . . . The U.S. women's basketball team clinched a berth in the medal round, beating the Dominican Republic, 92-80. The men (2-0) followed tonight with a 73-71 victory over a tough Brazilian team. Monday, August 2, 1999; Page D08 © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post CompanyCanuck Fails Drug Test at Pan Am Games - 8/01/99
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 02, 1999 at 22:01:34 PT:
Vezina Apologizes, But... 
Steve Vezina tested positive for banned substances at the games and the team has been stripped of its gold medal.(CP/Jacques Boissinot) Tuesday August 3, 1999 The Ottawa Citizen BEACONSTE-ADELE, Que. (CP) - Steve Vezina managed to apologize and not sound terribly apologetic at the same time Monday as he met the media for the first time since failing a dope test at the Pan American Games. The goaltender, whose positive test for stimulants and massive amounts of steroids cost Canada its gold medal in roller hockey, was not even sure if he could aptly be called a cheater. "I'm a professional athlete and an ice hockey player first and you're allowed to take these substances," Vezina said. "A cheater? I don't know. "Mark McGwire is the best hitter in the National League but he was proud to say he was taking Andro (Androstenedione) and he was a hero. I take a little bit to help me get ready for ice hockey and it seems it would be less bad if I robbed a bank. "There would be less media. It's weird how people react sometimes." There was outrage in Winnipeg on Sunday when news broke that the 23-year-old Vezina had tested positive for pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, which he said came from the decongestant Sudafed, and Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. The drugs, common among pro hockey players who do not have to submit to doping controls, cost the 10-member team the gold medals they won with a 7-6 win in the final over the United States last week. "They don't need to be mad, but if they are, I understand why," Vezina said of his teammates and coaches. "I apologize. "I feel sorry for myself and my teammates. They worked as hard as I did to win that gold medal." But the gist of Vezina's talk at a golf club 75 kilometres north of Montreal was that using drugs was normal for pro athletes and he was unaware which substances were banned from mostly amateur international games. He turned to steroids because he had dropped from 180 to 167 pounds and he wanted to regain weight to prepare for the upcoming ice hockey season. He said he took Nandrolone in June - after the Canadian roller hockey team training camp - but he thought the drug would be out of his system by the start of the Pan Am Games. "I stopped using them before the Games," he said. "I didn't have all the information about using anabolics." He stopped using creatine, a controversial nutritional supplement, because it caused cramping in hot roller hockey arenas, and opted for Nandrolone, which can be bought over-the-counter in the United States. Results of his post-competition urine test showed 16,000 parts per million of Nandrolone in his system - a huge amount of a drug normally used to bulk up cattle. Two parts per million is enough to test positive. "I don't know why - I'm not a doctor," he said. "I followed a normal dose." He took two Sudafed tablets before the final game, which he suggested was standard procedure in pro hockey when playing several games over a short period. Vezina didn't mention Nandrolone on a form handed to all Canadian athletes before the Games, which asked them to list what drugs or medicines they had used. And he didn't read a "thick" book he was issued on banned substances. "I didn't tell me the consequences," he said. "They just said some things are banned." Vezina is banned automatically from international competition for four years, but the positive test apparently won't harm his pro career. Agent Paul Hamel said Vezina recently signed a two-year contract with a minor-league ice hockey team in the United States, which he refused to name. "We got two other offers from a higher level," Hamel said. "I talked to them and would not withdraw their offers." Vezina, a distant relative of Georges Vezina, a goaltending great from the 1920s, has played for 12 teams in eight leagues in recent years. He played last season for the Utah Grizzlies of the International Hockey League. In the summer, he also plays for the Buffalo Wings of Roller Hockey International, for whom he expects to resume play on Friday night. "It's going to be tough for a while," he added. "But I'm a battler. "I'm not going to bury my head in the sand. I'll keep my head high. I'll be back in Buffalo on Wednesday. I'm sorry, but life goes on." He was less clear on whether he would continue to use the drugs. At first, he said he would only know better if he every plays in an amateur games again, but later said: "I'll try to find a different way. You learn from your mistakes." As his news conference - carried live by several television stations - began, Vezina read a statement in which he apologized to his teammates, the Canadian Olympic Association, his fellow athletes and all of Canada. He said his conduct was unacceptable for an "international" athlete. Pubdate: August 3, 1999© The Canadian Press, 1999
Vezina Apologizes, But... 
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