Rogge recognises drugs reality

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Jacques Rogge, the new president of the International Olympic Committee, has much difficult terrain to cover before he outstrips the stigma of being Juan Antonio Samaranch's hand-picked successor. But he deserves some marks for the honesty of his approach to the drugs war.

While Samaranch was known for talking airily of banishing all cheating from the Olympics, of fighting drugs to the death, and then dragging his feet, Rogge concedes that the war can never be won. Yet it can be prosecuted with more energy and candour.

"There are some drugs," says the man dubbed Mr Clean, "that we can't test, we need more research. Doping is the same as criminality in society."

Which is to say that it will always be with us.

Rogge's duty is to cut off the easier options of the cheats. At times he may feel as futile as a dedicated vice cop on a Bangkok backstreet, but within a week of his appointment he has wafted in a little clean air. He is, for the moment at least, sounding like a man operating in the real world.