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February 7, 1996

Tougher Drug Tests for Centennial Olympic Games

JAMA. 1996;275(5):348-349. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530290018009

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US ATHLETES preparing for the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga, scheduled for July, are being subjected to the most stringent, expensive, and intrusive drug-testing program in international sports. At any time of day, on any day, members of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) drug control crew may knock on the athlete's door without warning to witness the collection of a urine sample.

By most accounts, only a small minority of elite athletes are willing to use pharmaceutical tricks in hopes of gaining an edge over their competitors. Nevertheless, the actions of these few have created major headaches for sport governing bodies. The desire to win at any cost has been driving more and more of the offenders to use increasingly sophisticated chemical tactics in hopes of escaping detection by current drug-testing methods.

According to Wade Exum, MD, MBA, USOC director of Drug Control Administration, USOC budgets approximately $1.5 million