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Catlin: Olympics bring out most extreme cases

The chemist who unmasked the steroid THG last year says similar
drugs might be in circulation, and that the Athens Olympics could
spur athletes to use such performance-enhancing substances.

"The Olympics is a time when people risk it all," said Don
Catlin, head of the anti-doping lab at UCLA. "I've seen for many,
many years how the Olympics brings out new drugs and new
techniques."

Catlin said in a conference call Wednesday that "hundreds or
thousands" of steroids created by drug companies in the 1960s and
1970s could be turned into performance-enhancing substances.

"Athletes are serving as guinea pigs," he said.

Terry Madden, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said on the
conference call that "there are designer steroids out there."

"There is doping going on in every sport in every country in
the world," Madden said. "Every country has its doping issues.
It's a battle we're in."

Meanwhile, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency reiterated
Thursday that officials are "in the final stages of making sure
there is a clear scientific consensus" about a test for human
growth hormone.

"Rather than rush and make some announcement prior to Athens,
I'd rather make sure that we are certain about this before we go
ahead," Dick Pound said in a telephone interview. "As always, I
have no compunction about putting a test into place without
advising anybody that we're about to do it. Anybody using hGH knows
it's a prohibited substance.

"There is and will be (a test), the question is when is it
going to be effective enough that we would have the necessary level
of confidence," Pound said.

If such a test is not ready in time for the Olympics, he added,
officials plan to save athletes' samples that can be tested
retroactively.

Researchers at the University of Southampton in Britain said
this week they have developed a test for hGH.