Although U.S. Olympic Committee officials did not find out about the cycling team's alleged blood-doping transfusions until this week, it was common knowledge in the Olympic Village during the 1984 Summer Games, the British cycling team manager said yesterday.
"The whole thing stinks," Jim Hendry told Reuters in London. "We knew it was going on and we also knew we could do nothing about it . . . . One must deplore anything that is an artificial means of raising performance. It's just the same as using drugs."
Rolling Stone magazine, in an article due for release Jan. 29, said about one-third of the members of the U.S. Olympic cycling team were given transfusions in a hotel room near the Olympic velodrome to try to boost their endurance.
Although blood-doping is not against International Olympic Committee rules, it is not allowed by the USOC. However, F. Don Miller, the outgoing executive director of the USOC, said it was his feeling, and "probably the feeling of the U.S. Olympic Committee," that the trainers, coaches and doctors created the problem, and that athletes should not have to give up their medals.
This is one of two medical controversies that have hit the USOC this week. The other -- the release of a USOC report that said 86 athletes, including two who already had made the Summer Olympic team, flunked drug tests in the nine months prior to the Games -- continued to simmer yesterday.
There is strong evidence that the two who failed drug tests after they made the Olympic team were allowed to withdraw from their respective teams because of "injuries," sources said yesterday.
That way, the athletes apparently escaped suspension and could be eligible for future competition.