In the second revelation on rampant Soviet doping practices in less than a week, a Moscow newspaper reported today that 290 Soviet athletes were punished for using forbidden drugs in the three years before last summer’s Olympic Games.
“In the three pre-Olympic years, the anti-doping laboratory of the Sports Committee had to work hard--290 of our athletes and trainers were punished for doping,” the newspaper Leninskoye Znamya (Leninist Banner) said.
Last week, the Soviet magazine Smena (Change) revealed that Soviet Olympic athletes had their urine secretly prechecked for steroid use in a heavily guarded $2.5-million laboratory on a ship docked near Seoul.
Leninskoye Znamya reported that the Soviet sports establishment is tightening control over illegal drug use by athletes by expanding its spot-testing and introducing new punishments.
“The struggle against doping is entering a new phase,” Vasily Gromyko, deputy chairman of the State Sports Committee, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Now we’re starting to spot-test athletes during training,” not just before competitions.
A new agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee will grant Soviet and American monitors the right to test each other’s athletes, Leninskoye Znamya reported. A Soviet delegation will fly to the United States for the first round of testing within days, the newspaper said.
The Soviet sports committee also plans to start publishing the names of athletes who are disqualified and punished for doping, the newspaper said.
The newspaper also revealed that world-class speed skater Liudmila Filimonova was barred from competition for two years after testing positive for forbidden hormones before the recent winter Spartakiad, a Soviet national competition.
She and her trainer repeatedly denied that she was taking steroids, but tests in East Germany and Moscow contradicted her, the newspaper said.
The Smena article said that dozens of cases of doping were revealed among competitors in a recent Soviet youth Olympics and that many athletes were encouraged to use steroids by their trainers or team doctors.
Some Soviet athletes, particularly in track and field and weightlifting, have withdrawn from competitions after secret tests revealed that they would not be able to pass official testing, Smena said.