The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has uncovered a widespread drug conspiracy involving coaches, chemists and several track athletes who tested positive for a previously undetectable steroid and now face suspensions that could bar them from the 2004 Athens Olympics.
USADA chief executive officer Terry Madden says today that both American and international athletes had tested positive for the steroid, known as tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG. Madden made the comments in a conference call from USADA headquarters in Colorado Springs.
He says the ongoing inquiry began with an anonymous tip and has expanded to include U.S. professional sports.
Madden refused to reveal the names, genders or nationalities of the athletes, or to be more specific about how many had tested positive.
Olympic athletes face drug tests at major competitions, as well as random testing between events.
Meantime, the U.S. Olympic Committee's board of directors planned to vote this weekend on an overhaul that would drastically change the structure and function of the organization.
But with Congress also developing a reform plan, it may not matter what the board does. The USOC's leaders think otherwise.
Frank Marshall, co-chair of a task force that recommended the changes, said the quicker credibility is restored to the USOC the
better for athletes.
The USOC's most recent troubles began early this year, when chief executive Lloyd Ward was accused of steering Olympic business
to his brother's company.
That led to eight resignations, including Ward and president Marty Mankamyer, and a round of infighting unlike any in the organization's 25 years.
Should the board approve the reforms during its meeting this weekend in Cleveland, USOC leaders plan to have the changes in place by the end of January and a new CEO before summer.