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THE SEOUL GAMES / DAY 14 : Notes : Britain's Linford Christie Fails Initial Drug Test

September 30, 1988|From Staff and Wire Reports

SEOUL — Two British athletes, sprinter Linford Christie and a judo medalist, tested positive for drugs in the first round of testing, the British Olympic Assn. said Friday.

Christie, a former European champion and a silver medalist in the men's 100 meters, tested positive for pseudoephedrine, association spokeswoman Caroline Searle said.

Searle described the drug as "a low-dose stimulant found in cold and hay fever preparations."

The timing of the tests would indicate that the urine samples were taken after Wednesday's 200-meter race, in which Christie finished fourth.

Britain's Independent Television Network said Kerrith Brown, judo bronze medalist in the 156-pound division, had confirmed that he was subjected to a second test, although the BOA still had not announced the name of the judo competitor involved.

"I don't know what it is they have found. I have just got to wait and see," ITN quoted Brown as saying.

In the 100 meters last Saturday, Christie became the silver medalist after Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for muscle-building steroids and was stripped of his gold medal and world record. American Carl Lewis was awarded the gold. Christie was tested in that case, too, and no trace of drugs was found.

Searle said "a full and frank case" for the two athletes has been prepared to present to the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, whose final decision might not be known until Saturday morning.

The IOC policy is not to say anything about doping cases until it can announce a decision. By then, it says, two samples will have been tested and the athletes, coaches and officials involved will have had a chance to present their explanations and defenses.

Under rules adopted a year ago by the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), pseudoephedrine has been placed in a category called "inadvertent use"--created to protect athlete who inadvertently use a medicine containing a banned substance.

The rules call for 3 months' suspension, however, in practice no action usually is taken against the athlete.

Several U.S. athletes tested positive within this category during the Olympic track and field trials and still made the U.S. team.

According to sources, the London-based Christie has been suffering from a cough for several days and the traces of the stimulant pseudoephedrine found in his system came from a nasal spray he was using.

Although no details have been revealed about what drug was found in Brown's sample, sources say the substance must have been in a pill he took for a knee injury.

The BOA is confident that both athletes will be cleared by the medical commission.

"Both men are simply innocent victims," said one BOA official who declined to be identified.

Track and field athletes Thursday called for an inquiry into the source of the drugs taken by Johnson and pledged their support for an anti-doping campaign by the IAAF.

Olympic pole vault champion Sergei Bubka, American 400-meter hurdles bronze medalist Edwin Moses and women's marathon winner Rosa Mota of Portugal were among the athletes calling for action against drug users and their suppliers.

President Park Seh Jik of the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee, not easily accessible to the press, met with a group of 15 foreign journalists this week in an informal session in which he addressed some of the issues of the Games. As always, his statements were made with great care.

--On the topic of Ben Johnson's doping and whether he felt the Seoul Games would now go down in everyone's memories as the Doping Games: "I was saddened. I couldn't believe such a renowned athlete could become such a victim. It is very very bad for a human being to make such a decision. It was a hard thing for the medical commission to do, but they had to make this an example. . . . Seoul is not the only place where there is this problem. . . . They will find that no country is safe. There is no sanctuary for doping."

--On the current anti-American stance in South Korean newspapers, appearing to be a backlash at NBC's handling of the South Korean boxing melee: "The media can play a role in the Olympic motto of Peace, Harmony and Progress. They can be bridgemakers. . . . If the negative is stressed, there is no bridge. In my organization of SLOOC, I have stressed this. It is a sad thing if there is a turn between the two countries. Perhaps NBC could have considered my remarks about making bridges."

--On whether South Korean papers have unfairly placed a focus on the two U.S. swimmers who stole a $900 decoration from the Hyatt Hotel here: "I have to leave that to the judgment of the journalists. I believe they are very attentive to the mood of our country."

He missed the boat: U.S. boxer Anthony Hembrick, who missed a bus to the arena and was eliminated in a first-round walkover, is not the only Olympian having trouble with the clock.

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