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Olympics: Enhancing the Olympic spiritFOR 30 years or more the Olympic family have been accused of pursuing drugged-up steroids child growth with rather less fervour than, say, Steroids child growth Wteroids chased President Clinton. The International Olympic Committee were, said kann man trotz testosteron kinder zeugen critics, simply extracting the urine. Since last week, though, the testers have been taking the blood as wellwhich has created a whole new class of vampires working for the public good. When the decision to plunge a syringe into organised cheating was taken 12 days ago, the IOC stegoids to rush round recruiting blood-suckers or phlebotomists to complete steroids child growth tests steriods between Sept 2 and Oct 1 - mainly for erythopoietin EPO. Blood, sweat and tears are now inseparable. The journey into the veins of a bent Olympic athlete is taking the authorities up river into what might turn out to be a heart of pharmaceutical darkness.
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FOR 30 years or more the Olympic family have been accused of pursuing drugged-up athletes with rather less fervour than, say, Kenneth Starr chased President Clinton. The International Olympic Committee were, said their critics, simply extracting the urine. Since last week, though, the testers have been taking the blood as well , which has created a whole new class of vampires working for the public good. When the decision to plunge a syringe into organised cheating was taken 12 days ago, the IOC had to rush round recruiting blood-suckers or phlebotomists to complete the tests planned between Sept 2 and Oct 1 - mainly for erythopoietin EPO.
Blood, sweat and tears are now inseparable. The journey into the veins of a bent Olympic athlete is taking the authorities up river into what might turn out to be a heart of pharmaceutical darkness. The testers are attempting to jab a moving target. This week in Sydney senior Olympic medical experts have mapped out a terrifying future in which genetic engineering replaces steroid abuse and undetectable growth hormones are constantly being refined beyond the reach of Olympic labs.
This is not science fiction. Nobody talks about bearded ladies any more. The gossip in the five Olympic circles is now about DNA manipulation and human growth hormone hGH , phials of which were found in the luggage of an Uzbekistan official sauntering through Sydney airport. Other substances are being tried. One, IGF-1, normally used to treat Aids and cancer, is said to have become popular with weightlifters and other 'power athletes'.
The test for EPO - which was chosen ahead of one for hGH, which athletes can use with impunity - is starting to look like a symbolic but ultimately futile gesture in an unwinnable war.
Child's play for Ma's girls. Sprinter caught in possession of drugs. Chinese whispers greet Ma's return. Christie clashes with TV crew on day of controversy.
Ban ruins happy Olympic family image. Drug seizures cast shadow over Sydney. To fail the EPO examination, athletes would have to show positive in blood and urine samples and would need to have been pumping themselves with the stamina-building compound up to the day of the test. Privately the testers concede that only the 'idiots' will get caught.
When he raised these concerns, he says, officials told him to "chill out". But blood can also lie. Urine tests are already notoriously easy to manipulate. John Whetton, a prominent British tester, told Time magazine recently that some of the athletes he swooped on used elaborate urine transplants and catheters to evade justice. This week the Chinese chopped 27 of their own team members after blood tests threw up 'suspicious' results.
Chinese turtles will rest a little easier now that Ma Junren's girls no longer need their blood. Ma is the coach who sent out a gang of robots to smash the women's long-distance records in With the elimination this week of six of his unsmiling emissaries, 'Ma's Family Army' is down to a lone sentry: China, seemingly, are determined to avoid damaging Beijing's Olympic bid. A Canadian woman hammer thrower and a world champion weight-lifter from Taiwan are others to have have been shown the blood-red card.
In theory there will be more as the phlebotomists' syringes fill. Yet hGH will continue to do its transforming work undetected. In January, Australian customs officers reported record seizures of performance-enhancing drugs, with confiscations of steroids alone rising from in to in Craig Fleming, a senior officer, suggested in a report that Sydney could be the "dirtiest Games in history". The easiest mistake is to assume from all the evidence seeping out of Sydney that everybody in a vest or jockstrap is a walking Boots, though one official report has suggested that the proportion of performance-enhancing drug users could be as high as 50 per cent.
Another is to think that pharmacological infidelity in sport is a product of modern faithlessness and greed. Barnes asked a Dutch sociologist and historian of cycling, Benjo Maso, whether chemistry sets have always been part of sport. The disrobing of the Tour provides a useful parallel, because EPO, which increases artificially the oxygen-carrying capability of red blood cells, was found to be the drug of choice in cycling and is now top of the IOC's supposed hit list.
The mind still shrivels to recall that cycling's greatest race was blown apart when Willy Voet, a soigneur with the Festina team, was found by Belgian customs officers to be carrying doses of EPO, 80 phials of growth hormones, capsules of testosterone and 60 capsules of Asaflow, which fludifies the blood and so stops EPO users dying of heart attacks in the night.
The enemy is a chameleon, a master of disguises, an ever-evolving monster made in labs. The Sixties brought the first great wave of amphetamine use. The Seventies were characterised by wholesale and staggeringly crude steroid imbibing. A criminal investigation into steroid abuse in the former East Germany encompassed 1, witnesses, Olympic medals and hundreds of athletes, many of whom were given ruinous doses of steroids against their will or without them even knowing.
There is a sense, on the front line of society's eternal war against drugs, that the Olympics are moving towards some kind of moral end game, in which the IOC will either have to invest spectacularly in high resolution mass spectrometers and flying squads of random testers or tell the public honestly that the battle simply cannot be won.
The alternative is to pretend to be waging a war while positive samples are poured down toilets and covered up by unscrupulous national associations. This, according to Carl Lewis, one of the great Olympians, is what happens in America, who provide, through television and sponsorship, almost two thirds of the Games' revenues. In July, Lewis, a winner of nine Olympic golds, boycotted a dinner in California for past champions, accusing the US authorities of hiding four positive tests on American athletes at Atlanta in While Lewis ate alone, Dr Wade Exum, a director of the US Olympic Committee's drug-control unit for nine years, was suing his former employers for wrongful dismissal over in Denver.
Which brings us to the current anti-EPO campaign, 15 years in the making, according to the IOC's medical experts, but rushed into being 18 days before the opening ceremony. The Australians are proud because they designed the test "a breakthrough in the fight against drugs in sport", according to sports minister Jackie Kelly , even though the Sydney Games may already have embarked on a humiliating, globally broadcast suicide.
They tend to avoid these things by announcing in advance that they have new tests, and that if you're using a particular drug, to stop or you're going to get caught.
The Olympics are not the place to seek purity. It exists, for sure, but on a six-lane motorway of competing forces. As revealed in One Night in September, that excellent documentary about the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich in , the German government of that time were almost certainly complicit in helping two of the captured terrorists to escape. At the Games the noble and the nefarious have a lane each. The Olympic blood will take some rinsing.
Football scores and fixtures. Rugby fixtures and scores. Cricket fixtures and scores. F1 results and calendar. Racing cards and results. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Tuesday 14 August Enhancing the Olympic spirit FOR 30 years or more the Olympic family have been accused of pursuing drugged-up athletes with rather less fervour than, say, Kenneth Starr chased President Clinton. Since last week, though, the testers have been taking the blood as well, which has created a whole new class of vampires working for the public good.
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Jason Burt Failure to land the league title must mean an end for Arsene Wenger. Steve James What can happen if sport fails in its duty of care — as it did with Leaupepe. Simon Heffer Cricket will have no need for red cards if captains do their jobs properly.
Olympics: Enhancing the Olympic spirit - Telegraph
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