By Phillip Whitten
COLORADO SPRINGS, Oct. 25. USA Swimming issued a statement yesterday on the controversy surrounding the Italian drugs tests last June, in which some 61 Italian Olympians returned abnormally high levels of human growth hormone (hGH) in tests conducted by the medical commission of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).
Five of those 61 athletes, including swimmer Massimiliano Rosolino, went on to win Olympic gold medals. Rosolino won gold in the 200 IM, silver in the 400 free and bronze in the 200 free.
If Rosolino's results are nullified as a result of the hGH levels in his blood, four American swimmers would be among the beneficiaries. Tom Dolan would become the gold medalist in the 200 IM with Tom Wilkens the silver medalist. In the 400 free, Klete Keller would become the silver medalist, while in the 200 free, Josh Davis would move from fourth to the bronze medal position.
The story on the extraordinary hGH levels in Italian athletes was first broken by British swimming journalist John Goodbody at the end of September. On October 15, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, provided key additional details, including the names of the five Olympic gold medalists. Swiminfo then broke the story in the USA on October 16.
On the following day, the Canadian Olympic Committee asked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to look into the matter. A WADA spokesman indicated that the agency would investigate.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mary Wagner, Public Relations Director for USA Swimming issued the following statement:
"USA Swimming has been made aware of reports concerning alleged test results that showed high levels of human growth hormone (hGH)in five Italian Olympic athletes, including one swimmer. The United States Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency are currently researching the situation. USA Swimming will closely follow the results of this
"'At this point, there isn't enough information to make any decisions about how USA Swimming will or will not respond,' said Chuck Wielgus, USA Swimming
executive director. 'We've been in contact with the USOC, who along with WADA, will pursue the allegations. We will continue to monitor the situation
Dale Neuburger, president of USA Swimming and a vice-president of FINA, swimming's international governing body, told swiminfo USA Swimming will adhere to the policy of the US Olympic Committee. As for how he
intends to act on the issue in his capacity as FINA vice president, Neuburger said today: "I support the WADA investigation which could lead to recommendations to the IOC and to FINA."