IOC chief says test for growth hormone could be used in Athens

SARAJEVO: International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said Tuesday that a test for human growth hormone could be used at the Athens Olympics in August without the athletes' knowledge.  

“As I speak today we are working on the validation” of a test for human growth hormone, Rogge told reporters during a trip to the Bosnian capital to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sarajevo Winter Olympics.  

He said the test had been developed but had to be validated by independent laboratories before being officially used at the Olympics.  

“If the validation is a success we will implement the test but we will not tell the athletes,” he said.  

“What I am saying today is I believe a strong message to the athletes. Don't take growth hormone because it might be possible that you will be caught at the Games in Athens.”  

World Anti-Doping Agency officials revealed in January that research teams had made major progress in developing new tests on previously undetectable substances such as human growth hormone (HGH).  

HGH was developed for children's growth disorders and adult growth hormone deficiency but has been used by competitors in a variety of sports since the 1970s.  

Rogge added that the unprecedented levels of security for the Olympics will not damage the Games. 

"The security measures will not affect the quality of the games and the organisation of the games as such," Rogge said. 

"I don't think it will affect the number of spectators or tourists or the general ambience of the games." 

Greece is spending a record 650 million euros (US$829.6mil) on security for the Games and will be mobilising 40,000 police and security personnel, three times more than for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. There will also be 10,000 troops on duty and a further 40,000 on call. 

Security has been beefed up in the wake of the US-led war in Iraq and bomb attacks in nearby Turkey late last year. 

Measures include the use of NATO surveillance aircraft as well as Russian mobile laboratories should there be nuclear, chemical or biological attacks. 

Rogge dismissed fears that such high-level security would disrupt the games, stressing that security has been the number one priority of all Olympic Games since the death of 11 Israelis in Munich in 1972. 

"So we are used to security and we need security," Rogge said. 

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