PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The International Olympic Committee on Friday approved the new global anti-doping code.
The IOC approved the code by acclamation in the final hours of its all-delegates three-day session. The code, drafted by the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency and endorsed earlier this year at a WADA conference in Copenhagen, now goes to sports organizations, which are required to adopt it by next year's Athens Olympics. Governments have until the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
Among other matters, the code calls for a two-year ban for steroid or other serious doping offenses. Richard Pound, the Canadian IOC member and head of WADA, predicted that Friday would one day be viewed a "historic" moment in the fight against use of performance-enhancing substances, a battle that IOC President Jacques Rogge called "the biggest challenge now facing sport in our era."
Approval of the code came as the IOC elected South Korea's Kim Un Yong to one of the four vice president positions on the powerful, policy-making executive board. Members also elected Gerhard Heiberg of Norway and Alpha Ibrahim Diallo of Guinea to the 15-member board. Britain's Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, was made a regular member of the IOC.
No Americans were on a lengthy list submitted a few weeks ago to the IOC for membership consideration. With the IOC now seeking to reduce its membership numbers from about 125 to 115, no American can become a member until at least July 2005. The U.S. currently has three members -- fewer than such countries as Britain, Spain, Switzerland and Italy.
In other action, the IOC announced it had bought the rights to Leni Riefenstahl's landmark film on the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, and held a ceremony to promote the Olympic Truce initiative, which seeks to halt war during the 16-day run of a Games.
Iranian IOC member Mostafa Hashemi Taba, meantime, announced that his nation's sports authorities stand ready to help would-be Olympic athletes from war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. "They are our brothers and sisters," he said.
Kim, 72, has previously served as an IOC vice president; he ran for president two years ago, finishing as runner-up to Rogge.
The IOC issued Kim, president of the world taekwondo federation and a member of the South Korean parliament, a severe warning during the Salt Lake City bid scandal. His son, John, was arrested in May in Bulgaria on U.S. charges related to the scandal.
Even so, Kim has for years remained a prominent voice from Asia within the Olympic movement and within certain IOC circles is appreciated for working to avert boycott talk after incidents involving South Korean short-track speedskaters at last year's Salt Lake City Winter Games. "I can perfectly [well] work with Dr. Kim," Rogge said.