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Thorpe Slams FINA Over Drugs Issue -- October 15, 2001

LONDON, Oct. 15. AUSTRALIAN swimmer Ian Thorpe has
slammed the sport's world governing body FINA, accusing it of failing to properly address the problem of drugs in the sport.

Triple Olympic gold medalist Thorpe said FINA was scared of tackling doping and called for wider blood testing throughout swimming, in an interview with
Monday's Daily Telegraph.

"FINA have for too long looked the other way," Thorpe told the paper. "I don't really think they want to confront the full scale of the problem. "I think the whole situation is going to cause a huge gap in credibility for my sport in the future. There are things like blood testing that they could be doing much more of, but they just don't want to look at them."

Thorpe, who won an astonishing six gold medals at the world championships in Fukuoka this year and who has smashed a series of world records, said he was sick of being singled out for drug-taking innuendo and gossip.

"It makes me angry that my performances are questioned because of what other people are taking," he said.

"They should admit that there is a problem, that there is always likely to be a problem and that the battle against drugs is achievable and winnable.

"Drug takers will always go on achieving at a higher level. That's why it is such a vicious circle," he added.

Thorpe also said he took a dim view of the widespread use of vitamins and supplements in the sport. "...I don't even like the rise in people taking food supplements and things like Creatine. I decided not to take anything, not even multi-vitamins," he said.

"Drugs are things you take when you are sick, they are not things you take to swim quicker," he added.

Swimming's reputation has been tarnished in the past by a series of scandals involving systematic doping.