Athletics: Olympic cover-up

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The Independent Online
PRINCE Alexandre de Merode, the man who exposed Ben Johnson in 1988, may have to explain today why he allowed nine possible drug cheats to go unpunished at the 1984 Olympic Games.

De Merode, president of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, will be reporting on the progress made in drugs control to the IOC executive board which meets this weekend.

Don Catlin, the director of the Los Angeles laboratory responsible for the 1984 Olympic drug testing, has said that nine positive tests were never reported. Catlin confirmed a BBC television report which claimed the documentation was destroyed.

The largest number of tests - 157 - were taken on the day before the Olympics ended. The positives were said to be from the final two days of competition, which included the men's 1500m, marathon and shot, women's discus and 100m hurdles, and the boxing finals.

'(De Merode) told us they had taken it (the documentation) and shredded it,' the former IOC medical commission member, Professor Sir Arnold Beckett, said.

Beckett, 74, said he had remained silent for a decade because he considered it in the best interest of the Olympic movement, which he now considers flawed.

'In retrospect, it was a wrong decision,' Beckett said. 'I broke rank with good intent. Somebody has got to stop this madness.' Beckett was voted off the IOC medical commission when he opposed the line that clenbuterol, the drug used by disgraced German sprinter Katrin Krabbe, was a stimulant, not an anabolic steroid.

De Merode has said of other positive tests which were not followed up that the athletes were able to offer an acceptable explanation. There were at least two positive tests in Barcelona which fell into this category, and in both cases the laboratory papers were destroyed.