Canadian Olympians clean, but 30 other athletes fail drug tests
VANCOUVER - Any athlete who tries to cheat at the Vancouver Winter Games by taking banned substance is more likely to get caught than at any other Olympics in history, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday.
John Fahey said more than 30 athletes have been prevented from competing in Vancouver for violating anti-doping rules in recent months. He declined to release the names of the athletes or the sports in which they compete, saying that's the responsibility of the national organizations that do the testing.
But Fahey said the number of disqualified athletes is 'significant' and shows the effectiveness of pre-Games testing.
"We're getting better. Anti-doping agencies are getting better. The weaponry that's being used is far more effective." He stopped short, however, of predicting a drug-free Olympics.
"Does this mean that the Vancouver Games will be clean? Well, I don¹t think anybody's in a position to make that declaration."
"I guess in sport, like in all other areas of society, human behavior is rarely predictable. There will always be athletes, and certainly their entourage, who will attempt to get an edge on their competitors in any possible way.
"I guess the one thing I will declare is that . . . it's more likely they will be caught than at any other Games in our history." In addition to better testing, Fahey credited improved co-operation between anti-doping agencies and law enforcement officials for allowing targeted rather than blanket testing.
For instance, he said in his home country of Australia, if customs officials notice a suspicious package destined for a coach or athlete, the nation¹s anti-doping officials will be alerted, and the athlete can expect a prompt visit, he said.
"It's good," he said. "It's weeding out the cheats. It's assuring the clean athletes of the world that they're not going to be lining up next to, or competing with, someone who is seeking or taking an advantage in an illegal manner." David Howman, the agency's director general, said none of the more than 30 athletes who failed pre-Games testing will be in Vancouver.
"There should be no athlete here who is under any cloud of suspicion, because we¹ve already said there's no subject of a current case who will be here." But, with more testing being done at the Vancouver Olympics than at the previous Games in Turin, there could still be athletes caught cheating in the coming days.
Howman said the International Olympic Committee expects to conduct 2,000 tests at the Vancouver Games and 500 blood tests.