HAVANA, JAN. 17 -- Although the U.S. Olympic Committee puts up a good facade, it harbors some strong concerns about this summer's Pan American Games here. Uncertain drug testing measures, incomplete stadiums, hot and humid weather and weak competition in some sports provide some measure of trouble for the participation of U.S. athletes in these Games.

To be sure, the Games will go on and Americans will be here, barring major problems, USOC officials said this week during a visit to Cuba. But many of the nation's top athletes will be attending competitions elsewhere, and others may choose not to come, USOC President Robert Helmick said Wednesday night.

"If I were a world record holder and I were going to a world-class meet a few days after the Pan American Games {such as the world track and field championships in Tokyo that will begin the week these Games end}, I'd have some concern about it," he said.

"On the other hand, if I were a younger swimmer and the season was over and I was not going to the Pan-Pacifics {a major international swimming meet this summer}, this is an ideal opportunity to get to a multisport competition where things are a little rough."

Most troubling is the drug-testing situation, presently unresolved. Cuba does not have a laboratory capable of testing the athletes at the Games, so one must be brought in. Helmick said the lab is expected to come from Mexico, but even that does not solve the problem.

Technicians are needed, and they are not here yet, either. They are to come from Canada, Mexico and the United States. What's more, the lab and the technicians have not been certified by the International Olympic Committee, and unless they are, they are useless, Helmick said.

"I know many athletes in the United States who would not subject themselves to competition without IOC drug-testing approval," he said. "There is no drug testing unless it's IOC-approved drug testing. Most athletes probably take the position that non-certified drug testing is worse than no drug testing at all."

Helmick wouldn't say if the United States would pull out of the Games if the lab isn't certified.

"I don't want to speculate on negatives," he said. "I want to get IOC drug-testing approval. If there isn't IOC drug-testing approval, we'll deal with that at the appropriate time. It's a very serious matter."

A last-ditch solution would be to fly all urine samples to certified labs in North America -- in Los Angeles, Indianapolis or Montreal.

Also, the USOC is sending representatives of every sport here in April to assess the progress of facility construction, Helmick said.