Olympic officials refuse to link EPO theft with Sydney games

Australian Olympic Committee officials have rejected speculation that the theft of 1,000 vials of EPO from the Alice Springs hospital in central Australia was connected with the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Australian Olympic Committee officials have rejected speculation that the theft of 1,000 vials of EPO from the Alice Springs hospital in central Australia was connected with the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

A spokesman for Alice Springs police said today that the performance-enhancing drugs were stolen when the hospital pharmacy was broken into on July 23. Police detectives were still investigating the incident.

Initial media reports, which emerged in the week after the heist was reported to police, said the EPO would be worth millions of dollars on the black market leading into the September 15-October 1 Olympics.

But AOC media director Mike Tancred said it was impossible to link the robbery with a growing demand for the banned substance by athletes preparing for the Sydney games.

"We don't have all the details from the police, but it would be drawing a long bow to say this crime was Olympic-related," he said.

EPO, or erythropoietin, boosts the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells and is on the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances for athletes.

Injected in synthetic form, EPO is undetectable using conventional doping tests and is believed to be widely used in endurance sports including cycling and running.

Australian scientists have developed a blood test to detect EPO and were scheduled to present the test to the IOC's independent medical commission panel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday and Tuesday.

The researchers hope the blood test will be validated by the IOC and introduced before the Sydney Olympics.

The IOC has never sanctioned blood tests, relying only on athletes' urine samples.

The Australian Sports Drug Agency, which will conduct doping tests before and during the Sydney games, said it was concerned about having a large quantity of stolen drugs flooding the illicit market.

"EPO is a controlled substance anywhere in the world because it does have legitimate uses for medical purposes," ASDA spokesman Vicki Kapernick said. "But it has been proven to make quite a big difference to an athlete's performance.

"One of our strategies to counter the use of undetectable drugs is simply to try and restrict the supply - I don't know if there is any connection between this (robbery) and the Olympics but it doesn't help," to combat doping.

Kapernick said the only way of ensuring athletes weren't tempted to use EPO was for the IOC to validate a test capable of detecting it.

Sydney 2000 organizers declined to comment on the theft or its ramifications.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral