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2 Athletes Removed from Winter Olympics for Doping - 2002-02-09


The World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended 16 athletes who tested positive for drug use. A Russian skier and Polish bobsledder will be removed from the Winter Olympics.

Polish bobsledder Ireneusz Zamlynski and Russian cross-country skier Natalia Baranova-Masolkina are among eight athletes suspended for the use of performance-enhancing substances.

Latvian bobsledder Sandis Prusis tested positive for drug use, and was suspended for four months. The suspension ends Saturday. An IOC decision barring him from the winter games was overturned in arbitration, and he joins his team here.

The other winter athletes were not competing in Salt Lake City. They include four Finnish skiers, who face two-year suspensions from their sport.

Eight athletes in summer sports also face suspension, including a Romanian boxer, four Nigerian weightlifters, a weightlifter from Qatar, and another from Russia.

Six other athletes tested positive for drug use, but officials called the drug use medically justified. The cases of four others are under review.

For Richard Pound, the chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, there is good news in the results of the 3,600 out-of-competition drug tests. "What these results show is something that I believe is very encouraging, and WADA is taking great encouragement from it," he said. "And that is that the fact seems to be in opposition to the myth, namely that all athletes cheat. It's simply not true. Less than half of one percent of the tests were positive and required sanctions."

The official says that means more than 99 percent of the athletes are drug free. He says his agency hopes to ensure that Olympic athletes are heroes as well as winners.

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