U.S. Report Will Criticize I.O.C. on Drugs

U.S. Report Will Criticize I.O.C. on Drugs
Posted by FoM on September 08, 2000 at 20:26:57 PT
By Jere Longman
Source: New York Times
With the Summer Games set to open a week from today, a report financed by the White House office of national drug policy has issued a stinging rebuke to the International Olympic Committee as ineffectively combating the pervasive use of performance-enhancing drugs. The 107-page report, obtained by The New York Times and scheduled for public release today, says the I.O.C. failed to establish a sufficiently independent body to administer an anti-doping campaign and cites allegations that the I.O.C. interfered with research on drug testing. 
The report also says some coaches and athletes estimate as many as 80 or 90 percent of participants in some Olympic sports use performance-enhancing drugs. "While no one in the Olympic movement seriously advocates doping by athletes, the financial stakes for Olympic athletes, corporate sponsors, the TV broadcast and cable industries and sports governing bodies, coupled with the pharmacopoeia of performance-enhancing substances, the athletes' drive to win and the absence of an effective policing mechanism create an environment that encourages doing anything -- including doping -- to win," the report said. The report was the culmination of a $1 million, two-year study conducted by the National Commission on Sports and Substance Abuse, at Columbia University. The study was meant to be the most comprehensive review to date of doping in Olympic sports. The report comes as the I.O.C. has made one notable advance in the fight against drug use. Last week it approved a blood test in Sydney for EPO, a drug that increases oxygen-carrying capacity and is believed to be widely used in endurance sports. This week 27 athletes were removed from the Chinese Olympic team, a number of whom had failed blood tests at home. Despite this advance, however, there will be no tests in Sydney for such drugs as human growth hormone, insulin growth factor and products that essentially serve as artificial blood. The intent to cheat apparently remains widespread, as evidenced here by a customs seizure of human growth hormone from a Uzbekistan coach on Thursday, and the banning of a Czech weight lifter and a Canadian equestrian athlete for drug use. "When the Games begin in Sydney, millions of children will watch every event," Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House drug policy office, says in a statement accompanying the report. "They'll copy the moves of the basketball players and the strokes of the swimmers. Unless we continue to rid the Games of doping and drugs, these children will also take the same drugs as they see their stars cheating with." The report notes that despite the I.O.C.'s creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency last year, the agency has the authority only to make recommendations to the Olympic committee. Its independence has been questioned, in part because the agency is being headed by Dick Pound, an I.O.C. delegate from Montreal. Pound has said he will step down next year. "There is no independent and accountable international organization with authority to create and administer an effective anti-doping program for Olympic sports," the report said. A troubling conflict of interest exists among the governing bodies that regulate various Olympic sports, the report said. The need to promote sport and attract corporate sponsorship often clashes with the determination to catch cheaters, because cheating brings negative publicity and can diminish corporate enthusiasm, the report said. "Persistent patterns of irregularities in enforcement raises serious doubts about the commitment of the sports' governing bodies to protect the interest of honest athletes, the virtues of sport and the health and safety of the competitors," the report said. Scientists interviewed by the Commission on Sports and Substance Abuse reported that their attempts to develop tests for banned substances "were stymied by late decisions and a seeming lack of will at the highest levels of the I.O.C.," the report said. Richard Quick, coach of the American women's swim team, and others have been critical of the I.O.C. in recent weeks, claiming that funding for human growth hormone has been slowed, making it impossible for a test to be ready for the Sydney Games. The I.O.C. denied today that it was interfering with research on drug tests. The Olympic committee pointed out that it had committed $25 million in the next two years to fight doping, that its anti-doping agency was conducting 2,400 out-of-competition tests this year, and that the suspensions of about 30 athletes around the world in recent weeks were a sign that a deterrent to cheating had been created. "I'm not saying we've won the war on drugs, but we're close to winning the war on EPO and we've put a fear in people who are cheating," said Franklin Servan-Schreiber, an I.O.C. spokesman. Noting the huge financial gains available in this age of professional Olympic athletes, the report also accuses parents, coaches and trainers of actively encouraging doping, or turning their heads to it, and it calls for indifferent corporate sponsors to demand that athletes be free of drugs. "Even nations, caught up in patriotism and national pride, often look the other way when it comes to doping," the report said. In making recommendations to clean up the problem of widespread drug use, the report calls for an independent anti-doping agency that does not answer to the I.O.C., an international research effort of $50 million to $100 million over a five-year period, more comprehensive out-of-competition testing, more accurate labeling of dietary supplements, so-called athlete passports that would give a public history of an athlete's doping tests and the adoption of standardized lists and penalties for banned substances. "For sports governing bodies, tacit approval of performance-enhancing drugs places their credibility in jeopardy," the report said. "For society itself, what is at stake is the integrity and meaning of sport and the future health and ethical values of a generation of children." Published: September 8, 2000Source: New York Times (NY)Copyright: 2000 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comAddress: 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036Fax: (212) 556-3622Website: Articles:Drug Czar Ruffles IOC Feathers Czar Changes Tune On IOC Testing
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Comment #2 posted by MikeEEEEE on September 09, 2000 at 08:05:04 PT
The World Olympics 
The International Olympics will allow McCareFreak to get his massage out, notice I spelled it wrong. This is just another in an endless amount of ploys this adminstration will go to, stay tuned for more non-sense.
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Comment #1 posted by Dan B on September 08, 2000 at 23:29:35 PT:
The Children Would Not Know If Not For You...
McCaffrey says:"When the Games begin in Sydney, millions of children will watch every event," Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House drug policy office, says in a statement accompanying the report. "They'll copy the moves of the basketball players and the strokes of the swimmers. Unless we continue to rid the Games of doping and drugs, these children will also take the same drugs as they see their stars cheating with." My response:The children of the world would never know the athletes were using these drugs were it not for the efforts on the part of people like you (McCaffrey), who want to expose the "performance enhancing drug" users to the public. Really, that goes for all the efforts to create a "drug free America" (an impossibility, by the way), in that the reason why we have so many drug users in this country is that we have glamourized the use of some drugs by making them illegal. Were they not illegal, they would not cause such a media frenzy every time they are found by the "authorities." Don't believe me? Ask yourself these questions: When was the last time you heard/read a report about some superstar drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes? My guess is "never." Can you say the same thing about the last time you heard/read a report about a superstar using some illegal drug? 
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