Anti-doping violations keep 30 home
More than 30 athletes were prohibited from attending the Winter Games because of anti-doping rule violations, according to World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey.
The athletes were nabbed through pre-Games testing executed by their national governing bodies or international sports federations, Fahey said Wednesday.
Fahey declined to provide information about the athletes, the sports in which they compete or their nations, saying that WADA had not executed the testing and only received information about the violations from the various agencies that did.
Fahey said the news of the 30 violators represented good news, indicating that national governing bodies from around the world had stepped up their anti-doping efforts to ensure they weren't embarrassed by drug cheats once they arrived at the Winter Games. In the lead-up to the Beijing Games in 2008, more than 70 athletes were barred.
"The rigorous and robust programs in many countries have led to a number of athletes not showing up as they did in Beijing," Fahey said. "It means there are 30 less cheats in Vancouver over the next couple of weeks."
WADA Executive Director David Howman said the International Olympic Committee, which conducts testing at the Olympics, would execute 2,000 anti-doping tests, 500 of which would be blood tests. Though the test for human growth hormone that will be used here has never caught anyone, Fahey declared it "an effective test for HGH."
Fahey also dismissed claims occasionally made by officials in Major League Baseball that there is no effective test for HGH.
Major League Baseball says "we can't do testing because there is no test," Fahey said. "That's rubbish. What it does require is a blood test. I think there might be some concern about that ... in the Major Leagues."
Former White House Drug Czar Scott Burns, now executive director of the National District Attorneys Association in the District, will head the independent observer team that will oversee the drug-testing process at the Games.
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