Lure of gold leaves Olympics prone to doping cheats

LONDON, July 17, 2008 (AFP) – The Beijing Olympics will see the biggest anti-doping effort in history but the omens for a drug-free Games are not good. Alongside steroids and the blood-booster EPO, testers have promised developments in tracing substances such as human growth hormone, which are undetectable with standard testing methods.

The chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, professor Arne Ljungqvist, said recently: “While it is to our advantage to not release all the details, enhanced testing will be administered in Beijing.

“You can expect continued efforts to detect human growth hormone and EPO.”

Regardless of the improved tests, past Olympics have shown that some competitors will risk everything to win medals — and there is no reason to believe Beijing will be any different.

It is a depressing statistic that in the blue riband Olympic sport, athletics, doping clouds hang over three of the last five men’s 100 metres winners.

Canada’s Ben Johnson notoriously caused the biggest drugs scandal in Olympic history when he tested positive for steroids after charging wild-eyed to victory in 1988 an