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IOC to Examine U.S. Doping Cases

September 23, 2003

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ The IOC wants answers from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The USOC’s handling of positive drug tests dating to the 1980s will be scrutinized at International Olympic Committee executive board meetings starting Wednesday. One disputed case could cost the United States a relay gold medal from the 2000 Sydney Games.

Proposed legislation for USOC reform most likely will be examined as well. The USOC and Congress are trying to revamp the organization following ethics scandals, resignations and political infighting.

The IOC is concerned a Senate bill violates the Olympic charter by failing to give adequate voting rights to American IOC members, athletes and national sports bodies. The IOC has endorsed a separate plan drawn by a USOC panel.

A USOC delegation led by acting president Bill Martin will report Thursday on the committee’s drug testing. The USOC’s former doping control chief contended that many athletes failed tests but competed in the Olympics after the USOC cleared them on grounds of inadvertent use.

``We want to know if the procedures have been improved and make sure these things cannot happen again,″ IOC first vice president Thomas Bach told The Associated Press.

The U.S. delegation will provide details of the program from 1985 to 2000, USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said. Since 2000, drug-testing matters have been handled by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

``The report will show there was no coordinated effort to suppress or cover up results,″ Seibel said.

The delegation also will stress the USADA’s program is ``significantly better″ than the previous USOC system, Seibel said.

The group also will include USOC chief executive Jim Scherr, general counsel Jeff Benz, anti-doping expert Rich Young and former USADA chairman and 1972 Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter.

According to documents released last spring by former USOC drug control director Dr. Wade Exum, U.S. athletes tested positive for banned substances more than 100 times from 1988-00. Only a handful were barred from competing; 19 went on to win medals.

Exum said Carl Lewis, a nine-time Olympic champion, tested positive at the 1988 Olympic trials for small amounts of three banned stimulants found in cold medicines. The USOC first disqualified him, then cleared him on appeal.

Track and field’s governing body has said the USOC acted properly. The IAAF said the sample levels were so low they would not qualify as positive findings today. The IOC ruled out any punishment against the USOC or the athletes.

A more recent case could lead to retroactive action. The IOC and World Anti-Doping Agency are investigating accusations that sprinter Jerome Young tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 1999 but was exonerated on appeal by U.S. officials. Young won a gold medal in Sydney a year later as part of the 1,600-meter relay squad.

The accusations were first reported by the Los Angeles Times, and WADA chairman Dick Pound has urged that Young and his teammates be stripped of gold medals. Pound expects a decision before Oct. 1, citing a three-year deadline for resolving cases from the 2000 Games.

Young, who won gold in the 400 meters and 1,600 relay at last month’s World Championships, said he never committed a doping offense.

Last month, the USOC said the Court of Arbitration for Sport had dealt with the matter. The Swiss court ruled in January that USA Track & Field did not have to disclose details of 13 positive cases from 1996-00.

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