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Pat Bigold

The Way I See It

By Pat Bigold

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Drugs a part of
Olympic competition

THIS crackdown on performance-enhancing drugs in Sydney is all very impressive.

It's even scared away some medal-contending athletes who were afraid they'd be caught and their careers ruined with a long suspension.

Four athletes have had their medals taken away from them and two nonmedalists have been expelled after positive tests.

The idea is to even the playing field. And that's a very noble plan for the world's foremost multination sporting event.

But we all know that with all the sophisticated drug detection devices the International Olympic Committee is using, the Olympics are still fraught with "cheaters."

So, how level can you ever make the international playing field?

And, as a number of columnists have asked, how many people who follow the Olympics really care about who's using drugs with 15-letter names? Drugs that can't do a thing for you unless you happen to be a world-class athlete in the first place.

Mark McGwire used androstenedione the year he set the single-season home run record and you could hear a collective yawn from baseball fans when he admitted it.

Andreea Raducan, the 4-foot-10 Romanian girl who is probably still crying her heart out over being stripped of her all-around gymnastics gold medal was punished for ingesting pseudoephedrine.

It was detected in an over-the-counter cold medicine given to her by the Romanian team doctor (who has been expelled from the Olympics) and it had no performance-enhancing qualities.

The gymnastic federation doesn't ban it but the IOC does.

I think a gymnast with a fever should be able to take something to help her breathe when she competes in front of the world.

What if the IOC ever did succeed and gave us an all-natural Olympics? Would anyone notice the difference?

Sure they would. There'd be a lot fewer world records and network ratings would drop even lower.



Despite constant indoctrination, University of Hawaii fans refuse to give up the Rainbow.

Let's face it. There's a lot better rhythm to chanting, "Let's Go, Bows," than "Let's Go, Warriors."

I got a kick out of Mouse Davis, at the conclusion of an interview with KFVE play-by-play man Jim Leahey on Saturday, saying, "Go, 'Bows."

Leahey responded, " 'Go Warriors.' "

Davis held his ground and came back with, "Well, I'm still a 'Bows fan."



Mike McMahon, former Hawaii resident and husband of Olympic women's triathlon gold medalist Brigitte McMahon of Switzerland, said, "There's a little Brigitte mania going on back in Switzerland."

That's probably because his wife, a former UH student, is only that country's second Summer OIympics gold medalist in any sport.

By the way, in last week's column about Brigitte, you might recall I referred to the Hickam Triathlon which she dominated on Aug. 26.

I quoted top local triathlete Peter Hursty as saying, "I caught her on the bike and I was already pushing when we came into the transition area. I should have gotten her to sign my helmet."

Toss me in Sydney Harbor without a shark net.

That was Ben Sambrano, not Hursty.

Pat Bigold has covered sports for daily newspapers
in Hawaii and Massachusetts since 1978.

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