Athletes urged to take due care


Food supplements: Athletes who take food supplements and then test positive for drugs have only themselves to blame warned the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) athletes commission.

In a scathing attack on the use of such supplements, Johan Koss, a former speedskating gold medallist and the athletes representative on the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) said there was no valid reason for a fit athlete to take them.

"It's wrong. It is not needed," said Koss. "Someone who has a deficiency may take one for a short time but that is all."

His comments came after a meeting in Lausanne when athletes were put on guard on taking the supplements which frequently contain banned drugs such as steroids.

"We would like to caution the athletes of the world that recent findings show that supplements may contain drugs that will cause the athletes to test positive for substances that are currently on the banned list," said the athletes commission in a statement read out by Koss.

"We as a commission fully endorse that athletes must take full responsibility for all drugs that are found in their bodies due to the use of nutritional supplements," added the commission.

Blood doping: The drug allegedly linked to two-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and his US Postal team is considered illegal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The drug called Actovegin, which contains calves' blood, is a form of blood doping said IOC medical commission head Prince Alexandre de Merode and is banned by the IOC.

"The medical commission is very clear about that," said de Merode.

Earlier this month Armstrong hit back at the accusations of doping aimed at his team, who are the subject of a judicial investigation in France.

"We had permission to bring every product we ever used in the Tour de France. We do it by the book," said Armstrong.

"We get everything authorised by the French minister of health. It's stamped. It's approved. And that's all we bring. We have nothing to hide."

The Texan said the team would defend itself "very aggressively."

"I'm sick of it," he added.

Failed appeal: Switzerland's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan to reclaim her Olympic gold medal and clear her name of doping charges.

Raducan was stripped of her all-round title at the Sydney Olympics after testing positive for the banned substance pseudoephedrine, contained in a cold remedy.

She turned to the Swiss court after an earlier appeal was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

But IOC secretary general Francois Carrard revealed her latest appeal had also failed, saying: "The Court decided that there were no grounds for the Raducan case and rejected it.

"At first look, they determined it was without merit and threw it out."

Carrard added: The fact it was thrown out was no surprise to us.

2004 Games: The organising of the 2004 Athens Games is back on track. Committee president Gianna Angelopoulos made the announcement after a two-hour meeting of the 15-strong International Olympic Committee executive board.

Athens has been severely criticised for their lack of progress and earlier this year IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch made an unprecedented attack against the lack of progress.

But last month the IOC's co-ordination commission for Athens visited the Greek capital and reported that there had been a vast improvement.

Angelopoulos said she was determined there would be no more delays.

"We will not lose a day," she said. "We have a marathon in front of us but the whole team in Athens is working only for the Games. It will be a great Games in Athens."

Angelopoulos added the Greek government had committed $1.6 billion to pay for the infrastructure such as roads and tramways needed for the Games.