|Wednesday, September 17
Revised banned list will be in force for Athens
LONDON -- Drinking too much coffee or taking a common cold tablet will no longer get athletes disqualified from the Olympics for a doping offense.
A positive test for marijuana, though, will still result in a drug penalty. So will the medication at the center of American sprinter Kelli White's doping scandal.
That's the scenario under the proposed new global list of banned substances drawn up by the World Anti-Doping Agency, The Associated Press has learned.
After more than two years of research, analysis and debate, experts have produced an all-encompassing list of prohibited steroids, stimulants, blood-boosters, narcotics and other drugs.
Among the key recommendations: caffeine and pseudoephedrine, an ingredient of the cold remedy Sudafed, are removed from the banned category. Cannabis, or marijuana, remains on the list.
Modafinil, which could cost White her two world championship gold medals, is specifically named for the first time among the banned stimulants.
The decisions were disclosed to the AP by professor Arne Ljungqvist, the Swedish anti-doping official who heads WADA's medical research committee.
"We must adjust our list to modern thinking and to changes of attitude and changes of knowledge," he said.
The list must still be approved by the doping agency's executive committee, which meets in Montreal next Monday and Tuesday.
If ratified, it will go into effect Jan. 1 and apply to all sports and all countries covered by WADA's global anti-doping code. The list will be in force for next year's Summer Olympics in Athens.
It replaces previous Olympic movement banned lists, which were more limited in scope and enforcement.
"The work, the process this time is far more far-reaching and deep than has ever been done before," Ljungqvist said. "Hundreds and hundreds of man hours have been devoted to this. But the result is not revolutionary. You end up with compromises."
Ljungqvist, chairman of the medical commissions of the IOC and the International Association of Athletics Federations, said individual sports bodies will have the option of adding substances to the list if they get WADA approval.
The decision to omit caffeine, pseudoephedrine and another minor stimulant, phenylpropanolamine, from the list would prevent cases of athletes being disqualified and stripped of medals for what some considered innocuous reasons.
Previously, a urine sample showing a concentration of caffeine greater than 12 micrograms per millileter was considered a positive test.
U.S. sprinter Inger Miller was stripped of a bronze medal in the 60 meters at the 1999 world indoor championships after a positive caffeine test. At last month's Pan American Games, Letitia Vriesde of Surinam lost her gold in the 800 meters for the same offense.
Pseudoephedrine, contained in Sudafed and other over-the-counter medications, caused one of the Olympics' highest profile doping cases.
Romanian teenage gymnast Andreaa Raducan had her all-around gold medal taken away at the 2000 Sydney Games after her doctor gave her a cold tablet containing pseudoephedrine.
"We cannot look retroactively at what has happened in the past," Ljungqvist said. "The list in existence is the one you have to observe. In 2000 pseudoephedrine was on the list."
Ljungqvist said ephedrine, considered a stronger stimulant than pseudoephedrine, remains banned.
Modafinil, meanwhile, would be listed by name.
White tested positive for the substance at last month's World Championships in Paris, where she won the 100 and 200 meters. She said she used the medication for a sleep disorder and didn't know it contained banned substances because it didn't appear on the list.
The IAAF said modafinil was covered under the category of "related substances," rejected White's explanation and ordered U.S. authorities to take disciplinary action. She stands to lose her gold medals.
Ljungqvist said his panel has recommended removing the "related substances" clause from the new list, but the issue remains open. He proposes a "fast-track" process for adding substances to the list as soon as they've been identified as doping agents.
The status of cannabis, which covers marijuana and hashish, was the subject of particularly intense debate.
Some have argued that cannabis should be left off the list because it's not performance-enhancing. But Ljungqvist noted that the new definition of doping also covers substances which violate the "spirit of sport."
Ross Rebagliati, a Canadian snowboarder, was initially stripped of a gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics after a positive marijuana test. He was reinstated because cannabis wasn't officially on the banned list. It has been specifically prohibited since then.
Dr. Gary Wadler, a leading American doping expert who serves on the WADA committee, declined to comment on the specific recommendations but said the process had been invaluable.
"We have only one real shot at this," he said. "Not everybody gets everything they want. Every substance, every category was the subject of serious debate."