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Scandal Italian Style

Oct 17, 2000

A scandal seems to be in the making in Italy.

Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera" claims that 5 Olympic gold medallists from Italy were among 61 athletes implicated in drug tests prior to the Sydney Games. According to the newspaper they are swimmer Massimiliano Rosolino, cyclist Antonella Bellutti, canoeist Josefa Idem Guerrini, rower Agostino Abbagnale and fencer Giovanna Trillini.

The paper claims that CONI the Italian Olympic Committee, had test results showing that the athletes had levels of growth hormone in their systems that were above acceptable limits. The paper claimed the results they had showed that Guerrini gave a result of 34 nanograms more than 30 times the normal level, Rosolino 17, Abbagnale and Trillini both 13.6 and 10.6 for Bellutti.

For its part CONI which carried out the tests slammed the daily paper as, "irresponsible" for releasing the information on the tests. It claims that the test were only first analyses and that follow up work still needed to be done. The article goes on to say that the results of the test were sent to the Italian Minister of Health.

The paper claims that the test results were known by CONI by September 8, one week before the Olympics began but that the organization held off on releasing any information.

Gianni Petrucci the president of CONI has denied that any of his Sydney gold medallists were guilty of doping offences. He was quoted yesterday as saying that "It is not a case of doping but only of research work by the CONI Scientific Commission".

Strangely while the people at CONI reacted angrily at the newspaper reports they did not deny that the findings were genuine.

CONI has been implicated in the past 2 years for covering up positive drug tests of Italian athletes.

A judge has sequestrated the files and the matter will be investigated.

Rosolino for his part did not fail any of the drug test in Sydney and was quoted by the paper as saying that he would "defend his image in the courts".