The chief medical officer of the United States Olympic Committee made the first public admission here Tuesday that there were positive drug tests at the recent United States track and field trials in Indianapolis.
But Dr. Robert Voy, speaking at an Olympic media seminar at the Olympic Training Center, would not say how many U.S. athletes were caught using banned performance-enhancing drugs or how that might affect the track and field team that the United States sends to Seoul for the Olympics next month."We do have positive tests now, and all the tests are not in yet," Voy said. "I can assure that, if an athlete's appeal is turned down - and that process will be completed before the Games - the athlete will not compete in Seoul."
Since tests were taken at Indianapolis on a sampling of both qualifiers and non-qualifiers for the Olympic team, Voy was not specifically saying that the positive results would knock any qualifiers off the team. He said that the positive returns were in the area of three percent to four percent of those tested.
"We will always find this," he said. "In fact, my expectation is that we will find that and maybe more from the trials. The only athletes who will try drugs before a meet like the trials, when they know full well that we are testing, are the gamblers, and gambling at something like the trials is bigger because there is more at stake."
Once the second of two samples of an athlete's urine has been labeled a confirmed positive, that athlete has 10 days to appeal before a USOC board, which can accept or reject the appeal. After that, it is up to a USOC executive committee to decide how an announcement, if any, will be made.
If the athlete had qualified for Seoul, his or her name may merely be left off the final list for the Olympics. If an athlete tested positive, but had not made the team, it is unlikely that any public announcement will be made.
"If it were up to me, I'd name names on all these things," Voy said.
Voy, respected as a pioneer in the relatively new field of drug-testing, also said:
-"Other countries, even Eastern Bloc countries, are concerned about drugs.... I suspect they are not as big drug users as we are. We know why they are better athletes-because they have better coaches and better trainers. We are a country not committed to excellence in sports."
-"There are only two sports - we have been testing all our sports over the last four years - in which we have found absolutely no drug abuse: Women's field hockey and figure skating."
-"Blood doping works, and we currently have no test in which we can detect it. A recent article in an American Medical Assn. journal said that blood doping is so effective that it will improve endurance in a 10K race as much as 67 seconds. I wasn't too happy with that article. It was like a free ad to athletes to tell them what to do."