Following Canadian Women to
Salt Lake City

Feburary 25 , 2001
CBC Online

COA wants gold for Beckie Scott

The Canadian Olympic Association would like to see Beckie Scott's bronze medal in the five-kilometre pursuit upgraded to gold after the two cross-country skiers who finished ahead of her were caught doping Sunday, according to a report by Canadian Press.

The COA said it will ask for an investigation into the drug tests following the 5km pursuit, in which Russia's Olga Danilova won gold and her teammate Larissa Lazutina won silver. Scott won the bronze medal.

Both Danilova and Lazutina passed their drug screens after the 5km, but later tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug darbepoetin. Lazutina and Danilova were ejected from the Games and Lazutina was made to return the gold medal she won in her 30km classical race. She will be allowed to keep two medals she won earlier, however, and Danilova will not lose the two medals she won.

Earlier Sunday, when the disqualifications were announced, the International Olympic Committee said it could not revoke the other medals because the athletes had passed those drug tests. But those medals are "tainted", according to IOC president Jacques Rogge.

"Technically, they are Olympic champions," Rogge said. "Morally it is a totally different issue."

The COA is arguing that the Russians also cheated in the 5km pursuit, although their tests seemed to indicate otherwise.

"You can ask any doctor - the doping they've done is a long-term thing," said Dave Wood, head coach of Canada's cross-country skiing team. "They didn't just pop a pill one day and get the benefit the next.

"Beckie should be awarded a gold medal."

Wood added that the fact that the Russian skiers managed to fool pre-Games testing signifies that the World Anti-Doping Agency is not effective enough.

"You still have a pretty suspect playing field," he said.

Scott, who is one of Canada's most outspoken anti-doping advocates, was not surprised that Lazutina and Danilova were caught.

"Doping is a problem in our sport. Inadequate testing for doping is an even bigger problem," Scott said. "I think the evidence is in the events of this last week and in the news that came out this morning."

Last week, Scott suggested she wasn't on an even playing field in her race. Asked if she thought the two women who finished in front of her were clean, Scott replied "No comment."

reprinted with permission


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