The U.S. Olympic Committee disclosed tonight that eight members of the U.S. weightlifting team tested positive for anabolic steroids in drug examinations conducted before the Pan American Games.
F. Don Miller, executive director of the USOC, said the 10 weightlifters were the only members of the 600-athlete U.S. squad at the games that were tested. He said the tests were only for anabolic steroids and not testosterone, the substance for which Jeff Michels of Chicago had his three gold medals stripped. Michels had tested negative on the pre-Games check by the USOC.
The testing was done at the request of the lifters and all the competitors were allowed to compete as an "individual decision," according to Miller.
Dr. Manfred Donike opened the Pan American Games' antidoping laboratory in Caracas to the media today and, between glimpses of gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers, said that a lot of sports officials have been waiting a long time to initiate serious drug testing in the Western Hemisphere.
"I am a member of the medical commission of the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation) and we have complained for six years that there are no drug controls in the Americas," Donike, a West German biochemist, said.
"In Europe, the amount of abuse of doping agents in athletic events has been reduced close to zero."
Donike said that of about 700 athletes tested by his laboratory thus far, 16 had been confirmed to have taken banned substances. He said it was up to the international federations to reveal one who is still unidentified. (United Press International reported the case involved use of stimulants.)
Named in bulletins issued this week were 11 weightlifters from nine countries and Chilean cyclist Fernando Vera, Cuban fencer Mario Wilson and Dominican Republic shot putter Juan de la Cruz.