Olympic Games - Drugs: Sydney Party Is Marred by Drug Cheats A TOP Olympic Chief Last Night Admitted Several Athletes Have Already Failed Drugs Tests within Hours of the Start of the Sydney Games.; OLYMPIC GAMES: SYDNEY 2000
Cross, John, The Mirror (London, England)
American drugs czar Barry McCaffrey said some athletes were already on their way home in a disastrous opening to the Olympics.
The devastating news came after a meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency which was set up by the International Olympic Committee in a desperate attempt to crack down on drugs.
McCaffrey, a leading member of WADA, said: "There have already been some positives. We have some athletes leaving Sydney, and we have some who will not be coming to Sydney."
There have been more than 2,040 random, out-of-competition drug tests on prospective Olympic competitors in more than 80 countries during the last three months.
McCaffrey said the names and details of all the failures would be announced within the next 48 hours.
But the news will come as a terrible blow to Australian organisers and IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch who have pleaded for a clean Games.
Even before the Olympic flame burned above Sydney, the shadow of drugs hung over the Games and comes on top of a string of scandals in the build-up.
The opening ceremony even featured a pledge against the use of drugs on the athletes' oath.
Rechelle Hawkes, captain of the Australian women's hockey team, read the oath on behalf of the nearly 11,000 athletes entered here.
Hawkes said: "In the name of all the competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the spirit of true sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."
The no-doping clause was added to the traditional athletes' oath as part of the reforms adopted by the IOC last December.
However, it seems the pleas have fallen on deaf ears after the news of positive tests. …