Shooter used drug to slow heartbeat

August 16, 1991

Pedro Garcia, a silver medalist shooter from Peru identified yesterday as the third Pan American Games athlete who failed a doping test, apparently was using a performance-enhancing drug.

Garcia's urine sample contained traces of the drug propranolol, a medication for pulse regulation that slows the heartbeat. Shooters sometimes use such illegal substances, known as beta-blockers, to calm them and help their aim.

In the book "Drugs and the Athlete," propranolol is listed as a therapeutic drug that "may both control migraine headaches and improve hand steadiness in riflery."

A table in the book identifies the brand name as Inderal, and pharmacology identifies it as a beta-blocker.

On Tuesday, when Mario Vasquez Rana, president of the Pan American Sports Organization, announced that three athletes had tested positive for banned substances, he said none of the athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs. Propranolol, however, is a performance-enhancer and it is unlikely that an athlete -- especially a shooter -- would take it unwittingly.


The Pan Am Games have garnered only a 1.2 rating, but Turner Broadcasting appears to be breaking even on the event -- a first for the company, an official said.

More than 26 hours of the games have been broadcast on Turner Television Network, a subsidiary of TBS that reaches about 55 million homes. Of them, portions of the games have been watched in 631,000 homes, a 1.2 rating, said TBS Sports spokesman Greg Hughes. "That's about what we expected them to do," Hughes said.

Roller skating

Dante Muse of West Des Moines, Iowa, won the men's 20,000-meter race by less than a second over Guillermo Trinaroli of Argentina.

In women's races, Maria Richardson of Argentina took the women's 1,500, edging Dani Lewis, Lacey, Wash.


The U.S. men came from behind to beat Argentina, 9-15, 15-13, 13-15, 15-11, 15-12, and make the medals round. The Americans are 3-2.

Brazil beat Argentina, 15-7, 15-1, 15-2, qualifying for the medals round and handing the Argentines their fifth straight defeat in women's play.

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