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Austrians Under Doping Microscope In Turin


The International Olympic Committee has taken the unusual step of releasing the results of doping tests that were negative for drugs in the samples of 10 members of Austria's cross country ski and biathlon teams. But as VOA's Steve Schy reports, the case is far from settled.

At a news conference Friday in Turin, International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Davies announced that samples from the Austrians did not show up any adverse findings.

"The IOC would like to stress, the doping controls of Saturday evening and their ensuing results that we have today are only one element in this undoubtedly wider affair," she said. "The IOC takes this affair very seriously, and is determined to do everything in its power to bring full clarity to what has happened in the past days."

IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist said that, even though the initial tests were negative, doping violations may have taken place, and the investigation is continuing.

"It's just as much of a violation to be in possession of doping substances, or have attempted to use them, or distributed to others. All those are doping violations," he says.

The six cross-country skiers and four biathletes were given unannounced doping tests last Saturday, while Italian police raided the team's housing in a search for equipment that could be used in so-called blood doping.

The raids were conducted after it was discovered that banned coach Walter Mayer was with the Austrian team. Mayer was banned from the Olympics following allegations of blood doping at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.