- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 1, 2002

After the Southeastern Regional Masters Track & Field Championships at T.C. Williams High in Alexandria this afternoon, I am making myself available for random drug testing.
Why not put it out there?
I have nothing to hide, just like Paula Radcliffe, the European 10,000 meters champion who has asked the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to conduct random tests on her and to freeze her blood samples for future testing.
There have been some doubts about Radcliffe after the 28-year-old Brit the second-fastest mara-thoner in history ran the second-fastest women's 10,000 meters ever in Munich earlier this month.
Radcliffe has been vocal in the past about her objections to drug use. She was an attraction at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, when she held up a banner from the stands which read "EPO cheats out."
The reference pointed directly to Russian Olga Yegorova, who was allowed to run the 5,000 meters despite a positive test for the blood-boosting drug EPO (erythropoietin).
I figure before the speculation occurs and I am accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs, I'd better get out there early and put a lid on potential detractors.
I am not concerned what drugs some lab geeks will find in my blood and urine. I've been very careful. I keep my toothpaste locked up in a safe near the sink and only I know the combination.
My coach, who once told me I was too slow to be tested for drugs was he kidding? has not been passing some funny little pills to me lately. I refuse to take hormone replacement therapy not that guys necessarily need it.
Maybe I will be embarrassed when the lab results show I ate some fried fish and french fries two nights before a big competition, shame on me. And maybe the caffeine from the Coke I ingested four days ago has left traces.
Don't laugh. Even Masters track has a policy about drugs, as well as random drug testing, but mainly only at the World Championships every other year. Athletes over 40 have been busted.
Drug cheats have been encountered at every level of the sport, from youth to seniors.
The same day Radcliffe opened herself up as a 24/7 lab rat, the sport was dealt a blow when the Moroccan federation announced that 3,000 meter steeplechase world record holder Brahim Boulami had a positive A sample result for the forbidden substance EPO.
The IAAF quickly said that until a B sample is tested to confirm the positive A test, Boulami is not considered to have committed a doping offense. Stay tuned.
The 30-year-old Boulami shattered his world record in Zurich on Aug.16, circling the track as the boisterous crowd was driven into a frenzy.
So now we are left to feel like we witnessed a farce.
High school districts in Texas are not going to let that happen. According to an article from the Dallas Morning News last week, "Rockwall school district athletes in grades nine through 12 will be randomly tested for drugs starting this fall.
"The school board voted unanimously [Aug. 26] to test for alcohol, illegal street drugs and steroids. All varsity athletes will be tested at the beginning of their seasons, then 10 percent of freshman through senior athletes will be tested randomly each month during the school year. District officials estimate that 1,400 tests will be given during the year. They said some students would be tested more than once."
The article said that "the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that drug testing of student athletes is constitutional, and this summer, the court extended that to include children in extracurricular activities."
Apparently, school officials in nearby Mesquite district already have been testing student athletes for steroids.
Talk about the pressure on high school kids these days. You worry for weeks about passing your algebra test and then you fail the drug test.

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