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THE 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES : 6 Athletes Fail Tests for Drugs : Green, Two Others Stripped of Medals

August 18, 1987|BILL DWYRE | Times Sports Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — In a bizarre setting, U.S. hammer thrower Bill Green, silver medalist in the Pan American Games, was stripped of his medal after testing positive for excessive amounts of the male hormone testosterone.

Green, 27, of Torrance, finished second in competition here Aug. 10, behind teammate Jud Logan of North Canton, Ohio. Logan threw 253 feet 5 inches, a Pan Am record, and Green 250-4.

The announcement of Green's positive drug test was made at a press conference that included:

--The naming of five other athletes, none of them from the United States, as having had positive drug tests.

--The announcement by Mario Vazquez Rana, president of the Pan American Sports Organization, that two or three more athletes have tested positive and that their names would come to light soon. Other sources later said that two U.S. track and field athletes were in that group

--A statement by the United States Olympic Committee that Green has advised them he will challenge the test procedures and results. The exact form of the challenge was not specified, but the implication was that he would sue PASO.

--Continuing contradictions by Rana and the acting medical chief of PASO, Eduardo DeRose, over how many medalists are being tested, and what PASO's testing procedures really are.

The other athletes named as having tested positive to one of the more than 3,700 drugs on the banned list of the International Olympic Committee were Bernardo Ocando of Venezuela in shooting, Javier Jimenez of Colombia in weightlifting, Orlando Vasquez-Mendose of Nicaragua in weightlifting, Pedro Torres of Venezuela in weightlifting and Elnes Bollings of the U.S. Virgin Islands in basketball.

Ocando, a bronze medalist in individual pistol shooting and a silver medalist in the team event, tested positive for a beta blocker, which slows the heart rate. Jimenez and Torres, neither of whom won a medal, tested positive for a strength-enhancing steroid. Vasquez-Mendose, who won a bronze medal, tested positive for a diuretic normally taken to achieve a weight loss. Bollings, who won no medal, tested positive for a stimulant found in an over-the-counter drug used for dieting.

Green was the only one in the group to test positive for testosterone. Steroids are synthetic forms of the same thing, usually producing the same goal--increased strength. Rana's announcement said that Green was at a ratio of 11.2-1, testosterone to epitestosterone. A normal male ratio is around 1-1, and the ratio level the IOC has established to call an athlete positive is 6-1.

"We had a lot of discussion about that before the '84 Olympics," said Dr. Tony Daly of Los Angeles, who was in charge of drug testing at the '84 Olympics. "The Germans did a lot of testing about that prior to '84, and they said the most natural testosterone ratio levels they ever found in males was 2.5-1. So, to be fair and to just make doubly sure we were correct, what the IOC did before the '84 Games was double the 2.5 and add one more, probably for good measure, arrived at a cutoff of 6-1."

Green had left Indianapolis by the time the announcement of his drug test was made. Reached at his home in Torrance, he said, "I really don't have anything to say at this time."

The USOC statement on Green that implied future legal activity said, in part: "The athlete has advised the USOC that he wishes to pursue further remedies to challenge the testing procedures and results."

Green was the only United States finalist in the hammer throw in the '84 Olympics, eventually finishing sixth. He held U.S. records in his event twice in '84, and his last U.S. record, 251 feet, was broken by Logan, the current U.S. record-holder, just before the Olympics in '84.

Green, who threw a personal best of 255 feet in April in a dual meet in Los Angeles, competed for Cal State Long Beach and is currently coached by Art Venegas. Venegas, UCLA's weight-event coach, who directs Green's training program at West L.A. College, did not return phone calls.

After the competition here last week, the Indianapolis News ran a story under a six-column headline that said: "Hammer Thrower Says Steroids Not a Problem." The story quoted the winner, Logan, as saying ABC television commentator Marty Liquori, who said there is epidemic drug use in track and field, was incorrect.

"We want to prove Americans innocent," Logan said. "We want things fair when we compete."

Also, Logan said in his post-victory press conference: "I feel lucky to win the gold, because Bill Green competed much better than I did today. He threw much closer to his personal best than I did."

Vazquez Rana, the wealthy Mexican who has been a prime mover for years in the IOC and is the owner of United Press International news service, was under heavy pressure at his press conference Monday to clear up contradictions on how PASO did its testing.

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