OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Fifth athlete tests positive

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The Independent Online
LITHUANIA took no time settling back into the Olympic family at the Barcelona Games after a 50-year absence enforced by the Baltic state's absorption into the now defunct Soviet Union. Romas Ubartas captured their first gold medal, their basketball players picked up a bronze and as the last of the competitors headed for their flights home yesterday morning it was revealed that their long jumper, Niole Medvedeva, had failed a drug test. A silver medal and they would have had a full set.

Michele Verdier, the International Olympic Committee's spokeswoman, said that Medvedeva's urine sample, taken after she had finished fourth in her event, had shown traces of the stimulant, mesocarbe. She was the fifth and final athlete to fail a test at the Games. The others caught were the marathon runner Madina Biktagirova, from Belarus, the Chinese volleyball player Wu Dan and the American throwers, Jud Logan and Bonnie Dasse.

The number of failures was half that at the Seoul Games, where Ben Johnson's expulsion sent shockwaves through the sport, and the decline was promising, according to the IOC's president, Juan Antonio Samaranch. 'I do sincerely believe we are winning this battle against doping,' he said.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation yesterday showed its determination to beat the cheats by extending Butch Reynolds' suspension, which should have ended today, until the end of the year because the 400 metres world record holder had competed while banned for steroid use.

The presence of paid performers in the Games is another source of controversy and on that issue Samaranch is equally determined. He wants more professionals to compete. He defended the appearance of the US 'Dream Team' basketball millionaires and suggested that in the past state athletes from eastern Europe 'had even more support than the professional athletes from the West'.

He hopes the next sports to invite in the big money earners will be football, baseball and cycling, but therein lies the danger of sponsorship encroaching on the Games. Samaranch, who intends to stand for a further term as president next year, said no advertising was allowed at Olympic venues. 'You just have to keep commercialisation under control,' he added.

Those who spotted a sportswear company's name writ large on T- shirts worn by the Unified Team's women's 4 x 400m relay runners at their medal ceremomy can rest assured that an inquiry is under way.

COLIN JACKSON, Roger Black and John Regis yesterday headed for Monte Carlo after their Olympic disappointments. Jackson will face virtually the Barcelona sprint hurdle final field in today's meeting, Black will take on the first two home in the 400 metres final, Quincy Watts and Steve Lewis, and Regis will run 200m.

Games keep promise, page 28