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ATHLETICS: Banned athletes could be 'victims'.

Athletes accused of being drug cheats could be victims of contaminated nutritional substances, according to a scientific report.

An investigation, carried out by German scientists and funded by the International Olympic Committee, into legal, over-thecounter supplements found that 15 per cent of them contained traces of banned substances including anabolic steroids.

'There may be many famous athletes who have been victims of these supplements,' Professor Hans Geyer told the Olympic Congress on Sports Science, taking place in Athens. 'Athletes like Merlene Ottey, Linford Christie...'

The analysis carried out on 634 legal supplements, including vitamins, minerals and amino acids, purchased in 13 different countries showed them to contain undeclared quantities of anabolic agents, known as prohormones. Geyer said the levels of steroids in the supposedly safe supplements would have had no impact on training or performance but would be sufficient to show up in dope testing.

The fall out from Olympic gold medallist Christie's positive test in 1999 for the use of the banned anabolic steroid, nandrolone or norandrosterone spurred Geyer into action.

'We couldn't believe these athletes took these substances. They are tested very often. It would be very stupid of them to take norandrosterone as it is very easy to test for,' Geyer said.

Geyer and his colleagues at the Sports University in Cologne, Germany, concluded that it was 'probable that these athletes were victims.'

The IOC study could lead to a battery of law suits against the companies producing supplements from athletes whose reputations and careers have been harmed by positive dope tests.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 9, 2003
Words:255
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