Page last updated at 23:13 GMT, Sunday, 1 April 2007 00:13 UK

'I want the Olympics to be drug free'

By Jane Elliott
BBC News, health reporter

The most successful Olympic Games are those that are remembered for their magnificent sporting triumphs.

Dr Richard Budgett
"There will be no excuses"

But too often in the past the headlines have been grabbed by drugs cheats.

Dr Richard Budgett, the newly appointed chief medical officer (CMO) to the London Games, promises 2012 will be different.

Dr Budgett, a gold medal winner in rowing in 1984, is passionately anti-doping.


He has attended a number of Olympic Games as a doctor, most of them as CMO for the Great Britain team, and said drug cheats will not be tolerated.

All the latest technology and expertise will be used to ensure the cleanest games so far, he said.

We want to get the message across that we will not stand for doping
Dr Richard Budgett

"I know how passionate athletes are against doping," he said.

"Everyone has been, and will be, made aware of what substances are banned, so there are no excuses.

"We want to get the message across that we will not stand for doping."

Drug tests will be carried out during the games and Paralympic Games, in association with the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

Volunteer army

Dr Budgett, a full-time sports and exercise medicine specialist, said his first job would be to build up his team of medical specialists.

Much of the provision will rely on a volunteer army of medics - many of whom have already signed-up.

Dr Budgett said past games had shown that using volunteers doctors and nurses was very successful.

"The response has been fantastic. Lots of people have said they wish to become involved.

"In past Olympics, volunteers have given just a few days, but we will be asking for a bigger time commitment so that training and delivery can be even better."

Medical services will need to be provided for not only the athletes and those associated with the games, but for the media and spectators at all venues.

Medical provision and anti-doping are crucial elements of a successful games
Debbie Jevans
London Organising Committee

And Dr Budgett said that meant linking up with the NHS, emergency services and the Health Protection Agency.

"We are developing our ideas on how to make the games better rather than bigger, including consultation with team doctors, ensuring we have the very best medical volunteers, and preventing illness and injury in both the Olympic family and spectators."

He said that as well as providing services for the games, he hoped it would be possible to harness the event to improve the general public's health.

"We're focusing on how we can use the games as a catalyst for health. London 2012 has already provided the impetus for sports and exercise medicine to be recognised as a speciality within the NHS.

First-class structure

"Now there is a training programme in London for 16 doctors, which will produce at least four new consultants each year in the speciality."

It is early days, but Dr Budgett said he was looking forward to the challenges.

"I am very excited about this role and honoured to be appointed to such a crucial post.

Debbie Jevans, director of sport at the London Organising Committee, said: "Medical provision and anti-doping are crucial elements of a successful games.

"It is imperative that we have a first class medical structure in place."

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