After a Canadian roller hockey player tested positive for banned substances, his team was stripped of the gold medal at the Pan American Games. Goalkeeper Steven Vezina, 23, tested positive for two stimulants, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, as well as an anabolic steroid, Nandrolin. He was randomly selected to be tested after Canada's 7-6 victory over the United States in the roller hockey final Tuesday.
In accordance with Pan Am Games rules, the gold medal was awarded to the United States. Argentina receives the silver medal, Brazil the bronze.
"This is not an easy situation," said Carol Ann Lethren, the president of the Canadian Olympic Association. "The fact that it is an individual impacting an entire team makes it difficult."
Andrew Pipe, the chairman of the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport, described nandrolene as a drug that is used in the agriculture industry to increase muscle mass of animals for consumption. Pipe added that the level of nandrolene detected in Vezina's urine--16,000 parts per million--was the largest he had seen. Vezina has been banned from competing in amateur sports in Canada for four years, because of the positive test.
Cuban Troubles During the first week of the games, there have been reports of agents stalking Cuban athletes outside of the athletes village at the Canadian Forces Base.
One local newspaper is running a contest inviting readers to predict the number of Cuban athletes that will seek asylum during the games, promising a trip to Cuba to the winner.
Another paper printed a picture of a local store with a sign in its window reading, "Cuban defectors welcome!"
In response, the Chefs de Mission from the 42 participating nations issued a statement Saturday in which they "strongly denounce these negative actions that have affected not only Cuba, but all of the Americas and that have interfered with the Olympic movement and spirit of equality and good sportsmanship."
"What really broke the camel's back was at the end of the week, some Cuban athletes were in the supermarket and ran into agents," U.S. Chef de Mission Herman Frazier said in an interview today. "The athletes happened to be some of his combative athletes--karate and judo--and [Cuban sports official Alberto Juantorena] said that eventually there might be an incident."
Six Cubans reportedly have sought political asylum in Canada. . . .
The U.S. women's basketball team clinched a berth in the medal round, beating the Dominican Republic, 92-80. The men (2-0) followed tonight with a 73-71 victory over a tough Brazilian team.