Olympic Committee OKs Plan for Mobile Drug Tests

From Reuters

The International Olympic Committee gave the go-ahead today for plans to set up mobile drug testing laboratories to help in the fight against banned substances.

IOC spokeswoman Michele Verdier told reporters that the executive board, in the opening session of a three-day meeting, had approved the establishment of mobile testing units by the medical commission.

"The chairman of the medical commission, Prince Alexandre de Merode, was today given the mandate to draft rules with our lawyers toward setting up mobile drug testing laboratories," she said.

"Doping in sport is a cancer. We have been fighting it for 21 years.

"We signaled our intention to do our best to eradicate it at the Winter Games in Calgary. Everyone here knows what happened in Seoul," Verdier said.

Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics because he tested positive for steroids after winning the 100 meters race.

The draft rules would be circulated to the 30 international federations that take part in the Summer and Winter Olympics for their written approval before the next executive board meeting in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in April.

Verdier said the mobile units could be operative shortly afterward but added that it is not yet clear how the federations or National Olympic Committees will use them.

"Guidelines have got to be set. These are in the hands of the medical commission chairman and the lawyers. We have to go step by step."

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said at a meeting of the Assn. of National Olympic Committees a year ago that the laboratories would be used for random drug testing, mainly in developing countries that could not afford to set up their own IOC-approved dope testing centers.

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