Sure, you might lose points with your boss, Juan
Antonio Samaranch. You may even jeopardize your chances of becoming the
next IOC president when Samaranch finally decides to take a real job and
retire. But rocking the boat has never bothered you before.
At the next meeting of the IOC executive, stand
up and say that it's time, once and for all, to wash away the stench left
behind by athletes from the former East Germany. It has been proved time
and time again that the vast majority of East Germany's top athletes used
performance-enhancing drugs at Olympics during the 1970s and '80s.
For years, athletes and officials from the former
GDR have admitted to systematic drug use. An Associated Press article this
week revealed that East German officials administered banned substances
to their athletes during the 1976 Montreal Olympics at a clandestine medical
centre set up by that country's secret police just outside the Olympic village.
When those Games ended, Stasi agents sank "10 suitcases with drugs,
needles and tubes in the St. Lawrence River."
The East Germans, especially those giant "female"
swimmers, won gold after gold and set numerous world records in '76many
times at the expense of host Canada. What's particularly tragic about the
Montreal Games is, to this day, the Canadian team's efforts there are generally
perceived as a dismal failure, as Canada became the only host nation not
to win a gold medal.
In truth, Canada's swimming sweetheart, 13-year-old
Nancy Garapick, should have come away with two gold medals in the backstroke.
Instead of winning two golds and being hailed as a national icon, Garapick
sobbed after winning two bronze: "I'm sorry I let everybody down."
East Germany's Ulrike Richter, who bagged a pair
of golds at Garapick's expense, once was described by Canadian coach Byron
MacDonald as a girl "who could have played linebacker somewhere."
Another East German, Birgit Treiber, who won two silvers in the backstroke,
was huge as well.
And talk about a cruel twist of fate. When Angella
Issajenko lost her 60-metre world mark after testifying about drug use at
the 1989 Dubin inquiry, it was awarded to Marita Koch of the GDR, who once
complained to the media that teammate Barbel Wockel was getting larger doses
of steroids than she was.
It's high time somebody at the IOC took the initiative
and demanded a hearing into this mess. Pound seems to be the perfect man
for the job.
Four years ago, when Montreal synchro swimmer Sylvie
Frechette was robbed because of a judging screw-up at the '92 Games, Pound
fought successfully to have the IOC award her a belated gold medal.
Dick, you've done it once before. You're an honourable
guy and a proud Canadian. Let's do it again. Give Garapick and teammate
Cheryl Gibson their long-deserved gold medals.
This article first appeared in the November 8, 1996 edition of The Toronto Sun. It is reprinted with the author's and The Toronto Sun's permission.