sanluisobispo.com (full link below) reported yesterday about numerous U.S. Olympic athletes who were allowed to compete internationally despite confirmed positive doping tests. Furthermore, several track and field athletes are explicitly named in this article and among them are the '88 Olympics gold medallists
- Carl Lewis,
- Joe DeLoach and
- Andre Phillips.
According to the article, the Orange County Register found more than 100 cases with failed tests that would lead to disqualification at the
olympics, but were ruled 'inadvertent use'. In 1988, 12 athletes from six sports (with a very prominent presence for track and field) got of
with a warning from the US Olympic Committee instead of a suspension for drug use.
Maybe this is not much news for people who have been following this story. But I do not remember myself that so many athletes were explicitly named (Floyd Heard is also named, and sportsnet.ca lists tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez, also an olympic gold medallist).
Anyway, even though I do not know sanluisobispo.com, nor the OC
Register, the article is a fascinating read in how (and why) these doping cases played out the way they did. And about the hypocrisy involved.
Mind you, the story is also clear we are not talking about steroids, but about pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenlypropanolamine. Nevertheless, these are (and were at the time) banned substances. And I believe that in many other countries (not all. of course), athletes who were caught using these substances in '88 did not get of with a warning - they were suspended before the Olympic Games. Also, if reported at the time to the IAAF (as these cases should have been), the athletes involved would have been suspended.
The Orange County Register says this 'may have been within the letter of the law' (US regulations, that is), but also speaks of 'cursory investigations and limited deliberations'. Quoted is US Olympian Anita De Frantz: ''[...] shame on the folks who did that. They brought shame upon the USOC". Quoted also
is the IOC member Dick Pound: "Inadvertent use is complete nonsense," [...] "The offense is the presence of a banned substance in your system.
Now if Nazi frogmen abducted you and injected you against your will then you might have a case."
The Seoul Games are of course most remembered by the positive steroid test of Canadian Ben Johnson. His gold medal in the 100 meters went to
Carl Lewis who finished second in the race. The Register writes about this: "But the world didn't know that Lewis, [...], had tested positive for banned stimulants at the U.S. Olympic Trials two months earlier."
Love to hear from more of you on this subject
- should the athletes have been suspended
- should we now revise the olympic history (e.g. the result of the Seoul 100 meter)?
- was Charley Francis right after all in his original claims that most of Ben Johnsons competators were also using banned substances?
PS Full links:
http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanlui ... 643304.htm
http://www.sportsnet.ca/skiing/story/10 ... 4477084379