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SLOC Calls for 100% Testing Proposal: All athletes face pre-Games drug tests

SLOC Calls for 100% Testing Proposal: All athletes face pre-Games drug tests

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30 of 47 DOCUMENTS USA TODAY July 12, 2001, Thursday, FINAL EDITION

SLOC calls for 100% testing Proposal: All athletes face pre-Games drug tests

MOSCOW -- Every athlete competing at the 2002 Winter Olympics will take at least one unannounced, out-of-competition drug test before the Games begin in February if an unprecedented plan by Games organizers works. Never before has an organizing committee endeavored to make sure 100% of the athletes take no-notice tests before the Gamesbegin. "It's a very good initiative," said Jacques Rogge, vice president of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission.

"If we accomplish it, it will change, in my view, the world of Olympic sport," Mitt Romney, Salt Lake Organizing Committee president, said Wednesday after meeting with the IOC's executive board. At the least, it will be another step in trying to change the world perception toward U.S. anti-doping efforts. The USA has come under fire in recent years, especially after news of U.S. shot putter C.J. Hunter's positive drug tests came out at the Sydney Olympics. Within weeks of closing ceremonies in Sydney, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) began operations, and the USA has impressed the international anti-doping community with the moves it has made since. "It's been a remarkable progress," Harri Syvasalmi, secretary general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said Wednesday. "It's fair to say it's really been a fast track, and we are very happy about that." The progress includes the U.S. Olympic Committee's decision in

Page 2 SLOC calls for 100% testing Proposal: All athletes face pre-Games drug tests USA TODAY July 12, 2001, Thursday,

February to subject U.S. professional athletes competing in the Olympics to the same out-of-competition, no-notice testing as all other Olympians. SLOC's plan would extend that testing to all NHL players, whether American or not. Though anti-doping officials lauded the plan, they also cautioned that it is an ambitious one. "It's a realistic goal," Syvasalmi said of the 100%, "but I wouldn't be too upset if it's only 80%." SLOC has discussed its plan with a majority of the national Olympic committees and international winter sports federations, who will be doing a majority of the testing. SLOC, through USADA, aims to test any athletes not already given no-notice tests by those agencies after they arrive in North America -- either for pre-Games training or the Games themselves. SLOC estimates it will test between 500 and 1,000 athletes, or up to 40% of the 2,500 expected to compete, in order to hit the 100% mark. Reliable tests for human growth hormone still haven't been developed, and tests for endurance-boosting erythropoetin, or EPO, might not be widespread or inexpensive enough in time to ensure that all athletes in Salt Lake City have been tested for it. One more for Beijing: Romney also entered the fray over Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. "We should be building bridges and not walls. The Olympics builds bridges. For this reason, Beijing should not be discarded," he said, adding later that it was not an endorsement for Beijing but rather "an endorsement for considering all candidate cities fully." Paris and Toronto are Beijing's strongest competitors, and Osaka, Japan, and Istanbul, Turkey, are long shots. IOC members vote Friday on the 2008 host.

LOAD-DATE: July 12, 2001 LANGUAGE: ENGLISH GRAPHIC: PHOTO, b/w, Jacques Demarthon, AFP; An idea in place: Mitt Romney's Salt Lake Organizing Committee has discussed its proposal with other countries' federations. Copyright 2001 Gannett Company, Inc.

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