SEOUL, South Korea – Athletes who fail drug tests at the 2000 Olympics will not go to jail. The decision by Australian Olympic officials sought to defuse a conflict with the International Olympic Committee. The IOC expressed opposition to proposals for possible criminal sanctions for drug cheats. The IOC insisted that only traffickers and dealers should be prosecuted, while athletes should be sanctioned by sports bodies alone.
John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic Committee denied that his proposals, announced last month in Australia, called for two-year jail terms for athletes caught using steroids. He said he was pushing for Australian laws to be changed so that penalties for ”hard sports drugs” were as strict as those for narcotics. Possession or personal use of individual doses of performance-enhancing drugs could result in criminal action, but only in fines, not jail, Coates said.