Drugs in sport: Call to jail Sydney cheats

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The Independent Online
THE AUSTRALIAN Olympic Committee has called on the government to jail athletes caught using anabolic steroids.

There are fears that the 2000 Sydney Olympics could become the "Drug Games" and the AOC president, John Coates, has written to Prime Minister John Howard and all state premiers pleading for "hard" drugs in sport to be treated as narcotics.

AOC officials also want potential Olympians to sign a letter promising to repay all financial grants from the committee if they test positive for a banned drug.

Meanwhile, in the latest confession of doping from former East German sports figures, the former national women's swimming team coach admitted in court yesterday that he secretly gave his athletes banned performance- enhancing drugs.

Rolf Glaeser, 58, who has worked as a coach in Austria since 1990, also apologised to his former swimmers, including the 1980 Olympic medallist Christiane Sommer, who won the medal under her maiden name, Knacke. Sommer testified against Glaeser during the trial, and said after his confession that she wasn't sure how to react, but suspected Glaeser was hoping to reduce his sentence.

Following the confession, Glaeser's case was separated from his co-defendants, all of whom are charged with causing bodily harm for administering steroids to minors. A verdict could come as soon as tomorrow. The charge carries a maximum of three years in prison, but other coaches and sports doctors similarly charged received only fines last week after confessing in a separate trial.

Glaeser told the court he first got the pink and blue pills in 1976 from a co-defendant, Dr Dinus Binus, who told him they helped muscle regeneration. He insisted he was not informed about possible dangers, and said he never linked the side-effects he saw, such as acne or weight gain, to the drugs. Glaeser mentioned an interview during the 1976 Montreal Olympics when he was asked about his team's deep voices, and he replied they were there to swim, not sing.