Data: Few drug tests are positive


SALT LAKE CITY - Less than 1 percent of athletes tested in the past 13 months showed up with banned substances in their system, according to data released by the World Anti-Doping Agency yesterday.

"The vast majority of athletes do not cheat, despite the myth," said Dick Pound, WADA's chairman and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

WADA released the names of the 16 athletes - eight winter sports competitors, eight summer and none American - who have been sanctioned since the start of 2001 because they tested positive in out-of-competition tests. Seven of the eight winter athletes - four Finnish skiers, an Italian snowboarder, a Polish bobsledder and a Russian skier - are banned from competing at this month's games.

The eighth, Latvian bobsledder Sandis Prusis, had his ban overturned by an arbitration panel and is competing.

Four other summer sports athletes have tested positive and have their cases currently pending before their sports' international federations. Two of those four are American gymnasts who WADA officials did not identify by name.

In all, WADA conducted 3,639 drug tests between the start of 2001 and Feb. 7. The agency will also be performing testing on athletes throughout the Winter Olympics.

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