IOC's Rogge wants stronger action against doping, illegal betting in 2008

LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- IOC president Jacques Rogge wants
tougher action in 2008 against doping and illegal sports betting.

Rogge also said the focus on political and social issues in
China will sharpen leading to the Beijing Olympics, with the games
acting as a "powerful catalyst."

In a year-end message posted on the International Olympic
Committee's Web site, Rogge said he took issue with the notion that
sports is losing the fight against drugs because of the many
high-profile doping cases in 2007.

"The fact that so many instances of unfair play were revealed,
and that more athletes admitted responsibility, tells us that we
are on the right track," he said.

Last week, the IOC stripped Marion Jones of her five medals from
the 2000 Sydney Olympics following her admission in court in
October that she had been doping.

Rogge also cited illegal betting as a threat to the credibility
of sports.

"It must be fought in the same aggressive way in which we are
fighting against doping," he said. "In 2008, zero tolerance for
illegal betting and doping offenses has to reach out an even higher
level. Fighting against these threats will help create a more level
playing field for sport."

Rogge's statement came with eight months to go until the Beijing
Olympics, which have attracted complaints about Chinese policy from
human rights organizations, media advocacy bodies and other groups.

The IOC says it is a sports organization, not a governmental or
political body, and is not in a position to change Chinese

"The dialogue surrounding Beijing will likely increase in
volume," Rogge said. "A remarkable amount of effort and
dedication has been focused on an array of social and political
issues in China. This, too, is natural."

"The IOC hopes that Beijing 2008 realizes its potential as a
spectacular Olympic Games," he added. "We can be certain that the
games alone are a powerful catalyst, even if to show that
challenges often provide opportunities that can have profound