Drug Czar Wants Testing of Americans Handed Over 

Drug Czar Wants Testing of Americans Handed Over 
Posted by FoM on June 27, 2000 at 09:03:06 PT
By Christopher Smith
Source: Salt Lake Tribune
In the wake of allegations that the USOC has been coddling dopers, the White House's drug policy boss wants the fledgling U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to immediately take over drug testing of American athletes bound for the Sydney Games.   But U.S. Olympic Committee officials doubt there is enough time before the flame is lit in September to transfer administration of the program from the Drug Control Administration, a branch of the USOC. 
 Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said that turning over the program to the independent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency would ease athletes' concerns over the trustworthiness of the Drug Control Administration, which recently has been rocked by allegations of systematically covering up positive drug tests.   "One could argue that USADA ought to step up and get directly involved now, pre-Sydney," McCaffrey told leaders of amateur, Olympic and professional sport during a symposium Monday on performance-enhancing drugs. "Given recent developments, we need to transfer responsibility for U.S. anti-doping now, not later. We owe it to our athletes and the world to unquestionably run clean at Sydney."   This month, charges and counter-charges have been flying over the USOC's commitment to weeding out athletes who cheat by using performance-enhancing drugs. Wade Exum, who directed the USOC Drug Control Administration for much of the past decade, resigned June 5 and charged, among other things, that USOC bosses did not punish as many as half of all American athletes who tested positive for banned substances in recent years.   "Dr. Exum's allegations that we encouraged athletes to dope and we were not serious about catching dopers are simply not true," said Scott Blackmun, USOC senior managing director of sports resources. "When he first raised these issues, I hired outside counsel last year to take alook at it and they came back and said there really wasn't anything there. Despite our best efforts, we cannot find anything that is broken."   Exum's attorney, Beth Kelly of Denver, said evidence supporting the former USOC drug chief's claims would come forward when his lawsuit against the USOC is filed the week of July 17. The suit also will demonstrate Exum's contention that USADA is not truly independent of the USOC.   "The USADA concern will be part of the complaint, that it is not as independent as the USOC is claiming it to be," said Kelly. "The facts will come out as part of the judicial process, which we believe is the appropriate forum."   Blackmun said the Drug Control Administration is willing to transfer the authority to drug test American athletes heading to Sydney if USADA is prepared to undertake the task. But he questioned whether USADA -- which has only two employees and is still in its formative stages -- could effectively take the reins with only two months before the Summer Games.   "I don't want to do anything to make our doping program any less effective between now and Sydney," said Blackmun. "We've got crew chiefs lined up and people in place for the Olympic trials, where most of the athletes going to Sydney get tested, and it would be very difficult from a logistical standpoint to make that transition, but we will do everything in our power if they're ready."   USADA CEO Terry Madden did not hear McCaffrey's comments and couldn't be reached for comment late Monday. But earlier in the day, Madden said he plans to have USADA operational by Oct. 1 and that the agency will be independent of USOC.   "We are going to protect the athlete's health but we will not rest until we catch the cheaters," said Madden, a former USOC executive.   McCaffrey said he will push to empower USADA with "quasi-governmental authority" to broaden its efforts beyond the Olympic team, to possibly be a sports drug-testing clearinghouse for high school, collegiate and professional sports. The drug czar also wants USADA to join the International Anti-Doping Association and to add a federal representative to USADA's board of directors, to help insure transparency and accountability.   If USADA can't be brought up to speed in time for the pre-Sydney drug-testing of American athletes, McCaffrey expects the new agency to be in full control of U.S. anti-doping efforts by the Winter Olympics in 2002.   Arlington, Va. Published: June 27, 2000 Copyright 2000, The Salt Lake Tribune  Related Articles:Drug Czar Changes Tune On IOC Testing To Call for Pound's Removal at IOC Accepts IOC Invitation Drug Chief Chides `Hysterical' Reaction
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by CD1 on June 27, 2000 at 12:19:43 PT
Now I see that General McCaffrey wants to expand his power tendrils to the Olympics. I guess he did pick up a few tips from the tyrants during his visit to China.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: