F. Don Miller, the outgoing executive director of the United States Olympic Committee, said today the USOC will become a "catalyst" in an effort to have the International Olympic Committee ban blood doping.
He confirmed today at the USOC House of Delegates meetings that a special committee investigating blood doping by members of the 1984 U.S. Olympic cycling team has filed its report.
"They recommend," he said, "that blood packing be made illegal and to have the IOC take positive action making it illegal. We will be a catalyst in taking that position."
The matter will be addressed by George D. Miller, the USOC's new executive director, and its executive board, possibly within several months. Miller will become president of the new U.S. Olympic Foundation, a permanent source of additional funding for amateur athletics. He will stay six months with the USOC as a consultant.
Blood doping, already called unethical by the IOC and USOC, involves athletes having some blood removed, then reinjected to increase the number of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the muscles.
The IOC's resistance to banning blood doping stemmed, at least in part, from the inability to test for it.
Dr. Irving Dardik, chairman of the USOC's sports medicine council and head of the organization's panel investigating the problem, said blood doping "has to be an illegal thing to do. If it was legal, why didn't they open it up to the world? Why didn't I know about it? Why the hidden agenda?"
But he does not believe the cyclists involved, including Olympic gold medalist Steve Hegg, should be punished severely. (The U.S. Cycling Federation, although suspending the coaches involved, said the cyclists would not lose their medals.)
"Responsibility went beyond even (the cyclists)," Dardik said. "We have not paid adequate attention over the years to these problems."
Blood doping has been an irritation to the USOC this weekend at meetings that, in many ways, have become a celebration of the triumph of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. John B. (Jack) Kelly Jr., a former Olympic rower, officially became the new USOC president today, but found himself talking about the drug issue today.
"We get blamed for things we really had nothing to do with," he said. "The cycling and blood boosting . . . we condemn it; we'd never let it happen if we knew it was happening."
But he said "he didn't think" stimulants, anabolic steroids, testosterone and other drugs were the USOC's "No. 1 problem."
"It might be, if we had total jurisdiction over all the athletes," he said. "We don't. We only have jurisdiction over them when they've qualified to be on the Olympic team. In some cases, that's two weeks before the Games."
Kelly, in an interview Friday, said two potentially bigger problems facing the USOC are the "perception that the USOC is very wealthy because of the financial success in Los Angeles (a surplus that might reach $250 million)," and the "massive retirement" of 1984 Olympic stars.
"Because of the Moscow boycott, many athletes held on longer than normal," he said. "So we have a big rebuilding program to do in a lot of sports."
Every four years, the USOC also finds it must rebuild its funding base. Kelly chastised those who do not understand the USOC's organization and think it will prosper solely because the Los Angeles Olympics did.
"Half the people in the country think I'm taking (Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee President) Peter Ueberroth's job," he said. "It's crazy."
George Miller said funding for the next four years might be made easier by a plan to ask five corporations, as yet unnamed, to contribute up to $30 million to the USOC. The corporations have been major Olympic donors in the past.
In other matters, Theodore Boehm, president of the Indiana Sports Corporation, told delegates that Indianapolis, site of the 1987 Pan American Games, "does not have adequate housing" for the Games. He said the city hopes to build an "Olympic Village" apartment complex within two years near downtown.
The House of Delegates also approved Northern Michigan University at Marquette, Mich., as the site of USOC's third National Training Center.