Since Mark Hodges became national team director in April, the United States Cycling Federation has stressed to the athletes that it no longer will tolerate their use of performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids.
While not exactly labeling their recent sanctions against Ken Carpenter of La Mesa, Calif., as part of that campaign, USCF officials say the action is indicative of their more disciplined approach.
Carpenter, who emerged as the nation’s top sprinter during the 1987 Pan American Games, left a training camp in April after the USCF announced it would test for drugs the next day.
“My departure had nothing to do with finding out there was drug testing,” he said later in an interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. “I had some family problems at home.”
USCF spokeswoman Diane Fritschner said last week that officials had no reason to doubt Carpenter. But because he did not inform them of his decision to leave the camp, his financial support from the USCF was suspended for 60 days.
As a result, the USCF did not pay for Carpenter’s current European tour. In all likelihood, neither did Carpenter. His South Korean sponsor, Sunkyong-SKC, probably footed the bill.
It was apparent from an interview with the Gazette-Telegraph that Mark Gorski, who previously trained with Carpenter but since has become his rival for spring supremacy, does not believe Carpenter’s excuse for leaving the camp.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out,” he said.
Another cyclist, David Lindsey, told the newspaper that he believes the punishment was not severe enough.
“As far as I’m concerned, he cheated,” Lindsey said. “I’m surprised the USCF is protecting him so much.”
But Fritschner defended the USCF.
“This is not the first time this has happened,” she said. “At a training camp in February in San Diego, two cyclists left before we could test them, and there was no action taken. But Mark Hodges wasn’t the national team director then.
“When cyclists enter our program, they agree to both pre-announced and surprise drug tests. Mark is going to reevaluate that agreement and try to put some substance behind it.”
International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch met with South Korean President Roh Tae Woo and leaders of the three primary opposition parties last week in Seoul. His message to the opposition leaders, particularly Kim Dae Jung of Party for Peace and Democracy, was that it is not possible for North Korea to act as co-host for the Summer Olympics.
As the foremost proponent of such a plan, which he believes would be a step toward reunification of the two Koreas, Kim has support from religious leaders, dissidents and students. One popular slogan seen on Seoul campuses reads: “We oppose the Olympics being organized by only South Korea, which will perpetuate the division of the Korean peninsula.”
Samaranch would like for Kim to curb his rhetoric in hopes that there will be no disturbances during the Games.
Outside the building where Samaranch met with the political leaders, about 100 persons demonstrated. Police said 68 were arrested, some of whom they claimed were plotting to kidnap Samaranch and hold him hostage until the IOC relented on the co-hosting issue.
There Goes the Neighborhood: Almost everyone agrees that politics should not enter the playing field, but who will be the referee when athletes in Seoul return to their living quarters?
The Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee (SLOOC) has divided the Athletes Village into four quarters according to region--Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
But to decrease the possibility of hostilities, SLOOC has separated Israel from the other Middle East countries and has moved Iraq as far away from Iran as possible.
“The only time they could possibly see each other would be at meal times,” a SLOOC official said.
Comment: Dr. Harold Henning was not often at a loss for words, but he was dumbfounded at the United States Olympic Committee executive board meeting last year when a member of the Athletes Advisory Council objected to a gift from the Friendship Fund to Romanian rowers.
Using a portion of the surplus from the 1984 Summer Olympics, the USOC established the Friendship Fund to aid sports programs in nations that sent athletes to the Games. As chairman of the committee that presided over the fund, Henning defended it vigorously.
After collecting his thoughts, Henning told the athlete, who represented rowing, that Romania deserved special consideration because of the courage it took for that nation to defy the Soviet Bloc boycott of the Games. If Romania won a medal or two more than it might have otherwise, that, Henning said, was the least the United States could do.
He won that battle, but he also lost a few. The Friendship Fund, which expires at the end of this year, is not likely to be continued.
Henning, 69, died two weeks ago of a heart attack in his Naperville, Ill. office. The international Olympic movement has lost a friend.
Canadian Ben Johnson’s injury is more serious than at first thought, virtually eliminating any possibility that he will meet Carl Lewis in the 100 meters later this month in France.
After Johnson, the world-record holder, pulled up in a Tokyo race last month, his agent, Larry Heidebrecht, said the sprinter aggravated a hamstring injury suffered during the indoor season. But a more thorough examination revealed a tendon injury.
A spokeswoman for the Canadian Track and Field Assn., Brenda Bedard, told Reuters last week that Johnson probably will not be able to compete again until the Canadian championships, which begin August 5.
Johnson and Lewis had tentatively agreed to meet in a series of three races, beginning June 27 in Lille, France. As a result of Johnson’s injury, the deal, reportedly worth about $1 million, will have to be either renegotiated or canceled.
Inspiring confidence? Dr. Evie Dennis, head of the United States’ 808-member delegation to the Summer Olympics, was in Seoul last week along with about 80 other USOC officials and U.S. team managers from sports that will be contested in the Games. But Dennis arrived a day later than scheduled. As she explained, she was en route to the airport in New York when she realized she had forgotten her passport. She had to fly home to Denver to retrieve it before continuing on to Seoul. . . . An injury to U.S. gymnast Scott Johnson may prevent him from competing in the national championships, July 7-11, in Houston. As the nationals are part of the selection process for the Olympics, Johnson would have to depend solely on his performance at the Aug. 4-7 trials in Salt Lake City to make the U.S. team.
Defying the British Amateur Athletic Board (BAAB), Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram said they will not run the 1,500 meters at Great Britain’s Olympic track and field trials in Birmingham, England, perhaps costing one or both of them berths in that event in Seoul. In the past, the BAAB has selected the Olympic team based on past results. But the policy was changed this year to assure places on the team for the first two finishers in each event at the trials, with the BAAB selecting the third entrant. Coe, twice a gold medalist in the 1,500, and Cram, world-record holder in the mile, said they want to compete in the 800 and the 1,500 in Seoul but do not want to participate in the trials. “It’s early days yet,” BAAB spokesman Tony Ward said. “Everything is a bit hypothetical. Circumstances in the summer could well see them change their minds.” But he said the BAAB will not change its policy.
The 21 women who advanced from the basketball trials in hopes of being among the 12 selected to represent the United States in Seoul will play an exhibition game Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C., against a men’s team consisting of YMCA and former college players. “What women’s team here could we play that would give us competition?” Olympic Coach Kay Yow of North Carolina State asked. “We have to do it (play against men) to get competition. That’s the only way we can be challenged.” The game comes at the end of a six-day mini-camp. Yow said there is a possibility that some players might be cut this week.
International Softball Federation President Don Porter of Oklahoma City said he believes softball will be a medal sport in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, if the organizing committee agrees to it. The problem, he said, is that softball is so new to Spain that the organizers fear the country will be embarrassed in the sport. So the U.S. Amateur Softball Assn. is helping the Spanish with equipment and coaching. All it really has to do is send Michelle Granger, the pitching sensation from Placentia’s Valencia High School. . . . If Fidel Castro changes his mind and allows his boxers to compete in the Games, they could easily win 6 of the 12 gold medals.
Now that Marv Dunphy has announced he will resign as Olympic men’s volleyball coach after the Games, there is speculation that the 1984 men’s coach, Doug Beal, wants to replace him. . . . Whoever coaches the 1988 team might have Karch Kiraly on his team. Kiraly, recognized as the world’s best volleyball player, is only 27 and probably cannot make as much money outside the sport as he does now. . . . In a recent tournament in China, the U.S. women’s volleyball team beat Japan twice in close matches and extended Cuba, perhaps the world’s best team, to five games. But the United States was beaten badly by world champion China in a match seen on television by an estimated one billion people. . . . Beginning a five-match series against East Germany Saturday night in Colorado Springs, the U.S. women won in five games. They play tonight in San Luis Opispo, Tuesday night in Fresno, Thursday night in Bakersfield and Friday night in San Diego.