Canada blasts naming of athlete

August 15, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

HAVANA -- Canadian Olympic Association officials reacted angrily yesterday to the announcement that a shot putter from Calgary, Georgette Reed, tested positive at the Pan American Games for a banned stimulant in her multivitamin tablets.

According to a statement released by Diana Duerkop, the head of the Canadian delegation, the COA was informed last Friday of the positive result but was assured that the information would not be made public because the Pan American Sports Organization's medical commission ruled that the use of the stimulant was inadvertent.

Then at a news conference Tuesday night, PASO's president, Mario Vasquez Rana of Mexico, announced that Reed and a Mexican rower, Jose Antonio Gomez, had tested positive for ephedrine, a stimulant commonly found in over-the-counter medications and multivitamins.

Although he said that the medical commission believed both athletes had used the stimulant mistakenly, he said that Gomez has been forced to forfeit the gold medal he won in the double scull rowing competition. Reed, the daughter of former Canadian Football League running back George Reed, did not win a medal here.

"The PASO medical commission . . . concluded that she was totally innocent of any wrongdoing," Duerkop said in the statement. "That being the case, it is mystifying that Mr. Vasquez Rana saw fit to mention her at the press conference.

"Since her innocence is unquestionable, to have mentioned her was, in the view of the Canadian delegation, entirely inappropriate. To subject an innocent athlete to such needless and unjustifiable embarrassment is highly regrettable."

Canadian officials speculated that Vasquez Rana announced the positives to deflect criticism by the U.S. Olympic Committee about irregularities in drug-testing procedures during the first 10 days of the games.

Since USOC President Robert Helmick wrote a letter detailing the concerns to Vasquez Rana Monday, the USOC's executive director, Harvey Schiller, said yesterday that there have been no further complaints.

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