- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 28, 2008

From staff and wire reports

Three local rowers were named to their first U.S. Olympic team Friday by coach Mike Teti.

Giuseppe Lanzone of Annandale and David Banks of Potomac will compete in the heavyweight four and McLean’s Sam Stitt is a part of the quadruple sculls.

Lanzone and Banks, both 26, graduated from McLean High School and Banks, 24, attended Churchill High School. All three train in Princeton, N.J.

Among the 45-person roster, Bryan Volpenhein and Paul Teti, Mike’s brother, are going to the Olympics for the third time, and Anna Cummins is competing in two events.

Volpenhein raced in the men’s eight in 2000 and 2004. He stroked the men’s eight to its first Olympic gold medal in 40 years at the Athens Games, then took a break from the sport to attend culinary arts school.

He will be back in the eight at the Beijing Games with Marcus McElhenney, Josh Inman, Dan Walsh, Steven Coppola, Micah Boyd, Wyatt Allen, Beau Hoopman and Matt Schnobrich.

The rowing competition is Aug. 9 to 17. The Americans won two medals at the Athens Games but before winning five at last year’s World Championships.

Viagra used for edge

LONDON | Athletes looking for a performance boost appear to be turning to a little blue pill more usually taken for its off-the-field benefits: Viagra.

But experts are divided over whether it actually offers athletes an edge.

Some sports authorities say the drug is now finding a following among athletes. It isn’t clear how many might be taking it in hopes of improving athletic performance.

It also has attracted the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The agency is studying Viagra’s effects in athletes, but hasn’t yet banned it. Viagra is not on the International Olympic Committee’s list of prohibited drugs, so athletes can take it at the Beijing Olympics.

Viagra, also known as sildenafil, is manufactured by Pfizer Inc. It originally was developed as a heart drug; its use as a treatment for erectile dysfunction was accidentally discovered.

But whether Viagra makes athletes faster, higher or stronger is uncertain.

“Just because you have more nitric oxide doesn’t mean that you are going to be a better athlete,” said Anthony Butch, director of the Olympic Analytical laboratory at UCLA. “If you have all the nitric oxide you need, and if you generate more from Viagra, it’s not clear what effect that would have.”

Still, some preliminary studies have shown that cyclists taking Viagra improved their performances by up to 40 percent.

Chinese swimmer banned

BEIJING | China’s top backstroker, Ouyang Kunpeng, has been banned for life for failing a doping test, a major embarrassment for the host country just six weeks before the Beijing Olympics.

In a statement, the Chinese Swimming Association said Ouyang tested positive for a doping substance on May 1. It gave no details about the substance. The CSA said Ouyang’s coach Feng Shangbao was also given a life ban.

Ouyang was not considered a contender for gold at the Olympics. China is expected to produce few winners in the pool and has won only one gold medal in swimming in the past two Olympics. The top candidate is probably Wu Peng in 200 meter butterfly.

Ouyang won three silver medals at the 2006 Asian Games.

Bulgaria pulls weightlifters

SOFIA, Bulgaria | Bulgaria’s weightlifting federation will withdraw its team from the Beijing Games after 11 lifters tested positive for a steroid, the latest scandal to affect weightlifting ahead of the Summer Olympics.

Eight members of the men’s team and three women tested positive during out-of-competition tests conducted June 8 to 9, a federation statement said Friday.

“As a result, the Bulgarian Weightlifting Federation took a decision to withdraw its national weightlifting teams - men and women - from participation in the Olympics,” the statement said.

The federation identified the banned substance as methandienone.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide