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"Inept, Unjust and Arbitrary"

Oct 29, 1998

Coaches react to Jacques Rogge's dismissal of swimming's claim to duplicate medals.

The Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Association, John Leonard, today branded comments by IOC Executive Board Member Jacques Rogge as "inept, unjust and arbitrary".

"The IOC continues to speak with many voices, and Mr. Rogge's comments directly contradict those of Mr. Samaranch himself less than 60 days ago in Sydney. Mr. Rogge claims that the IOC "is not going to change what happened in the past". Mr. Samaranch said that things would be studied on a case by case basis.

The current United States Olympic Committee appeal is indeed based on specific, court documented evidence of drug use by former East German athletes during the time period leading up to the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, and asks for duplicate medals to the athletes who were cheated in that specific instance.

Linda Jezek, Lauri Siering, Camille Wright and Shirley Babashoff must be credited with the gold medal, which they won without performance enhancing drugs.

Other adjustments should be made for silver and bronze medal winners.

Rogges is saying that we must have proof of doping "on the day of competition". This is patently illogical and absurd. The whole world knows that the East Germans used illegal drugs in training to cheat the world. The IOC turned a blind eye to this cheating for twenty five years, and now seeks to perpetuate the fraud inflicted on the world's clean swimmers.

It is clearly more ineptitude and arbitrary decision making by a body that is supposed to represent fair sport. Justice demands that the clean athletes be recognized for their accomplishments. Apparently the IOC and justice are not on speaking terms."

Leonard, leader of the 6000 member strong American Swimming Coaches Association, has consistently urged stronger out of competition testing in swimming, and has seen FINA, the international swimming body, respond in a positive fashion.

"While FINA has moved in the correct way to clean up our sport, the IOC continues to waffle and refuse to make the changes necessary to clear the Olympic record. Their moral leadership is non-existant, and their ineptitude to either recognize the justice that must be delivered, or meet the continuing threat of drugs to the world of sports, is clear to the entire sporting world.

While they continue to preach about what they have done to cleanse sport, they also continue to hide the dirt that exists, and downplay the cheating of the past.

The IOC has changed the lives of athletes around the world for the worse by accepting cheating that it knows was going on under its auspices, and continues to shirk from its duty of correcting the past."