Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - Page 19 News List

IOC finds six new positive samples in Beijing retests

AP , LONDON

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is still uncovering drug cheats eight months after the Beijing Olympics ended.

The IOC, staying true to its pledge to fight doping, said on Tuesday that six athletes have been nabbed after retesting their blood samples for CERA, an advanced version of the blood-boosting hormone EPO.

A person familiar with the results told reporters the latest tests caught three track and field athletes, two cyclists and one weightlifter.

The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the names haven’t been released by the IOC, said a male track and field athlete who won one gold medal was one of the athletes. The other medalist was in cycling.

The IOC did not identify the athletes or sports involved, saying it was notifying the competitors through their national Olympic committees.

The Italian Olympic Committee said one of the six was an Italian athlete, though it declined to name him. The Italian news agency ANSA identified him as cyclist Davide Rebellin, silver medalist in the road race.

US Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel said the federation hadn’t received notification from the IOC of any adverse findings involving a US athlete.

“Unless we hear otherwise, we are treating no news as good news,” Seibel said.

National Olympic committee officials in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea also said they had not received any notification from the IOC.

Attempts to contact the Chinese Olympic Committee were unsuccessful. A person who answered the phone at China’s General Administration of Sports would not comment.

The IOC reanalyzed a total of 948 samples from Beijing after new lab tests for CERA and insulin became available following the Olympics. The testing began in January and focused mainly on endurance events in cycling, rowing, swimming and athletics.

“The further analysis of the Beijing samples that we conducted should send a clear message that cheats can never assume that they have avoided detection,” said Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC medical commission.

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