A Communist Party magazine said the Soviet Union set up a secret drug-testing laboratory on a ship anchored off South Korea during the Seoul Olympics in an attempt to pre-screen athletes who might fail official drug tests.

The move was aimed at preventing a scandal that might embarrass the Kremlin, the magazine Zmena said Wednesday, adding that at least one athlete was barred from competing because he was believed certain to fail official drug tests in Seoul, the publication said.Zmena, or "Change," is the official magazine of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Youth League. It said the laboratory on the ship Mikhail Sholokhov was kept under heavy guard and was off limits to non-athletes and journalists.

The article implied that because the laboratory was officially sanctioned by the Soviet Olympic Committee, the committee condoned drug taking and took great pains to cover it up.