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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Drugs chief claims US cover-up
Nineteen American medallists at the 1988 Olympic Games were allowed to compete despite having earlier failed drugs tests, according to a leading former official.

Carl Lewis is among the athletes named in more than 30,000 pages of documents released by Dr Wade Exum, former US Olympic Committee (USOC) director for drug control.

According to the documents, Lewis was one of three gold medallists who failed drug tests at the US Olympic trials that were held two months before the Seoul games.

Exum claims Lewis tested positive for pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine - banned stimulants that are found in cold medications.

The USOC first disqualified him then accepted his appeal, which was based on his assertion that he had ingested the stimulant inadvertently through taking an over-the-counter herbal remedy.

Lewis went on to win gold medals at Seoul in the long jump and, after Ben Johnson was disqualified for using steroids, the 100m.

Former tennis player Mary Joe Fernandez is another star who is named in the documents as having tested positive for a banned stimulant months before winning two Olympic medals.

Exum had planned to use the documents in a racial discrimination and wrongful dismissal legal action against the USOC, but the case was dismissed last week because of lack of evidence.

The USOC, which handed over drug-testing responsibilities to a new organisation, the US Anti-Doping Agency, in 2000, has dismissed Exum's accusations.

But Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has accused the USOC of a cover-up.

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