Sports 101

A series of recent reports involving athletes taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs has shaken the sports world. First, a drug scandal plagued the Tour de France; soon after, Olympic swimmer Michelle Smith received a four-year drug-related suspension.

To deal with these serious issues, the International Olympic Committee has scheduled a meeting for Aug. 20 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Q: Which athlete tested positive for drugs in a controversial scandal 10 years ago?

A: Ben Johnson, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, was stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for steroids.

Q: What are the drug policies of the four major league sports in the US?

* The NFL introduced random testing in 1990.

* Baseball has not had a drug policy since 1985. Players with a suspected drug problem are tested.

* The NBA tests all rookies for all illegal drugs, but no tests are conducted after a player's first year.

* The NHL has no mandatory drug-testing policy.

Q: Why are track and field and swimming the most susceptible to drug use?

A: Not only are they individual sports, but the level of competition is very high. Swimmers and athletes of track and field rely more on their physique than any other athletes, and coming in second place often means that their career will be brief with little opportunity. Therefore, there is more pressure on them to be "superhumans."

Q: How often are Olympic athletes tested?

A: At random and without notice, in season (at major events) and out of season (during training), at home and abroad.

* Please e-mail comments and questions to: parneyl@csps.com

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