- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia The drug scandal that engulfed the Olympic Games suddenly swept up Sydney's most prominent athlete.
Marion Jones is pursuing an unprecedented five track and field gold medals. It was revealed late Sunday that her husband, shot putter C.J. Hunter, tested positive for an illegal performance-enhancing substance.
For Jones, the daunting task she set for herself on the track has turned into a test of inner strength, starting with the 200 heats and long jump qualifying tomorrow.
"Marion has done a great job so far in light of the recent situation," Michael Johnson said last night after capturing the men's 400 gold. "Hopefully she'll be able to focus on what she's here to do."
Hunter was not the only athlete caught in the swelling drug scandals in Sydney:
Andreea Raducan of Romania tested positive for a banned substance. She was stripped of her all-around gymnastics gold medal yesterday, and the team doctor who gave Raducan the drug in two cold medicine pills was expelled from the Games and suspended through the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City and 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials confirmed yesterday they are investigating whether team doctors of several national Olympic organizations are involved in covering up drug scandals.
The Romanian weightlifting team was banned from the Games after it was revealed that three members failed drug tests. The team was allowed to compete after paying a $50,000 fine to the International Weightlifting Federation an acceptable practice, according to federation rules.
The Bulgarian weightlifting team was banned from the Games after three members tested positive for steroids. Two were stripped of medals. Another was reinstated yesterday and won a silver.
Cuban high jumper Javier Sotomayor had been banned for two years for testing positive for cocaine use a charge he denied after the Pan American Games last year. But the ban was reduced to one year by track's governing body. Sotomayor, who won gold in 1992 in Barcelona, won a silver medal Sunday.
Five athletes including a Latvian rower who tested positive for nandrolone have been expelled from the Games for flunking drug tests.
A number of others, including weightlifters from Norway and Taiwan, were caught cheating in tests conducted before the Olympics.
But no athlete has been put more in the spotlight by the scandals than Hunter and, by association, Jones.
Jones has not been accused of using banned performance enhancers. But she cannot avoid questions about whether she knew her husband used nandrolone and how the disclosure of his drug tests are affecting her.
The 330-pound Hunter had been among the favorites for a shot put gold medal in Sydney before he withdrew two weeks ago. Reached in his hotel room, he declined to discuss his case or the impact it is having on his wife.
"I know what's going on, and I am aware of the allegations and am going to defend myself vigorously," Hunter said in a statement.
"I regret that this news is breaking when Marion Jones is running," said Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the International Amateur Athletics Federation. "It's terrible whether it's true or not. It has nothing to do with the Olympics."
After a day of unconfirmed reports and rumors, Gyulai announced that Hunter tested positive for nandrolone and faced a two-year suspension if found guilty of a doping offense.
Gyulai would not specify when or where the test was conducted, but IOC drug chief Prince Alexandre de Merode said an athlete tested positive for massive amounts of nandrolone at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, on July 28.
Today, de Merode said a check of IOC records found that Hunter also failed three other tests for nandrolone over the summer, and that international and U.S. track officials had failed to report them.
Officials of the IAAF and USA Track & Field were not immediately available for comment on the new report, although they have defended themselves against previous reports they covered up drug cases.
Hunter, who finished second at the U.S. trials in June and at the meet in Oslo, withdrew from the Olympics after surgery to repair cartilage in his left knee. He was credentialed as an athlete while acting as a coach for his wife, but the IOC said that credential was pulled today.
At the IOC's request, Hunter would be left without any credential. The USOC originally planned to replace that with a support staff pass and tickets that would still allow him to coach Jones in training and at the stadium.
Francois Carrard, the IOC director-general, said Jones is not under suspicion.
"This is an individual matter," he said. "If she does not test positive, we should not infer [guilt] from one individual to another."
Nandrolone helps athletes gain strength and muscle bulk by repairing the damage of high-level training and competition. It has been involved in hundreds of recent doping cases. Some scientists speculate nandrolone may be contained in improperly labeled nutritional supplements that many athletes use.
De Merode said the nandrolone sample from the Bislett Games was 1,000 times above the IOC's permitted level.
Jacques Rogge, vice chairman of the IOC medical commission, said such a high reading is possible when an athlete is tested within two days of a massive injection of the steroid.
Hunter was ranked No. 1 in the world last year after winning the world championship with a put of 71 feet, 6 inches. He is a three-time U.S. champion and the 1995 world indoor silver medalist. He finished seventh at the 1996 Olympics.
Masback said there may be pending positive cases involving U.S. athletes who are not in Sydney.
"It is a minor number, and let me be clear, the vast majority of positive tests that we have … are for cold medicines," he said. "I know that there are at least two positive tests in the pipeline at this moment that are cold medicine positives that the athletes have chosen to contest."
Raducan tested positive for pseudoephidrene, which is on the IOC's list of banned stimulants, said Thomas Bach, a member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board.
She underwent three different tests after each competition, Bach said. She tested negative after the Romanians won the team gold last Tuesday but positive after she won the all-around Thursday.
She tested negative after winning a silver in the vault Sunday.
Raducan was allowed to keep her other medals, a gold from the team competition and a silver from the vault.
The drug was given to her by a team doctor in two cold medications, said Ion Tiriac, the Romanian National Olympic Committee president. Raducan took two pills, one containing pseudoephedrine and the second an over-the-counter drug, Tiriac said.
"He has the real responsibility in this case," Bach said about the doctor. "He prescribed the medication to this girl. It's a good signal to all the people surrounding the athletes that they can be punished."
Tiriac said pseudoephedrine is "not at all on the [banned drug] list of the international gymnastics federation but is on the list of the IOC" and had been taken by other athletes. The drug, he said, "is a medicine that is not enhancing but diminishing performance."

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