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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 22:15 GMT 23:15 UK
Should Raducan get her gold back?

Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan has been stripped of her individual gold medal after taking a cold remedy - but is it fair?


Standing 4ft 10in and weighing 82lb, Raducan has delighted crowds throughout the Olympics - and now she has been branded a drug cheat.

She joins a line of weightlifters and other heavy duty performers facing shame at the Games.

But while those may be more sinister, Raducan had taken a cold cure offered by the team doctor.

Rather than improve her performance, Raducan says it made her feel dizzy, and no-one suggests the potion was designed to give her an edge.

IOC executive board member Dr Jacques Rogge described it as one of the "worst experiences in his Olympic life", but that rules were rules.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport backed the decision, acknowledging the impact of the ruling on Raducan but insisting there could be no compromise.

Raducan is devastated and thousands of people have taken to the streets in Romania to protest.

So has the IOC gone mad? Should it have been more lenient on this occasion or is it right to stick to the anti-drug rules?

What do you think? The Raducan medal muddle. Is it fair?


The Drugs Committee should reconsider their decision
  Andrew Wagner, Scotland
I think it was an absolute disgrace for Raducan to be stripped of her gold medal, especially since it was largely not her fault. Yes, she took a cold remedy drug, but she was given it by her doctor because she was ill. I think this was more likely to have a negative effect than a positive one. The Drugs Committee should reconsider their decision.
Andrew Wagner, Scotland

The doctors error was the problem. Raducan should be rewarded for her talent.The whole drug thing seems to lack a rational approach.
Rosemary, U.S.A>

Sad, very sad, is my feeling concerning this young lady. As I understand it, the drug issue came about by athletes taking performance enhancing drugs. I ask you, why would a person take a drug, knowing there is no benefit to performance, knowing that there would be disqualification should he or she be found out? The girl had a cold, nothing more or less, there was no intent to cheat, which is the reason why people use drugs. Let those in authority in this matter, give the poor girl her hard earned medal, which delighted millions world-wide.
John, New Zealand

Yes, her medal should be returned, along with an apology, she's not a cheat
Fred Davis, Canada

If Andreea Raducan had been from the USA or the UK, I feel the IOC may have been more understanding as it were. But come on it must be political.
John Dimas, UK

Yes, her medal should be returned, along with an apology, she's not a cheat
  Fred Davis, Canada
As a big gymnastics fan, I really feel for Raducan. However, rules are rules, and although she gained no performance enhancement by taking the drug, the IOC has no option in this case. Raducan is fortunate that in this case she has someone else to take the rap (the team doctor) - in sports like athletics, athletes are given mandatory 3-month bans in similar situations. We just feel particularly sorry for her because she is so young.
Becky Warren, UK

It is inconceivable that the Rumanian team doctor could have given this drug by mistake. Every team doctor at the Olympics knows that it is a banned substance.
Tony Chyc, England

I'd like to know how the IOC can say she can walk away with no stain on her character, when she will be remembered for having been stripped of her gold medal.
Vijay Menon, UK

I think it's ridiculous that someone so young whose performance could not be enhanced by drugs should be penalised in such a way. Why are the innocent punished for what the guilty seem able to get away with?
Kathryn Robson, Great Britain

The Raducan case exposes a deep flaw at the very heart of the IOC drug control programme
  Ian Bell, England
The Raducan case exposes a deep flaw at the very heart of the IOC drug control programme. The real offence must be the taking of drugs to gain an unfair advantage, with the presence of banned substances being merely evidence that this has taken place. However the IOC ignore the real offence and mistake the evidence for the crime itself. I understand that the IOC accept that there was no unfair advantage gained either by intent or otherwise in this case. I further understand that the medication concerned was on the FIG list of approved treatments and was taken in good faith that it was fully acceptable. There is grave injustice here that threatens to bring the entire IOC drug control programme into disrepute, and this should be recognised by the reinstatement of the true result.
Ian Bell, England

The IOC just found someone innocent guilty! It's time for some common sense and humanity.
KG Lim, UK

Whilst it is unfortunate for Raducan to lose her medal the rules are the rules and should be enforced. As for the outrage that is sweeping Romania, how would they feel if Ruducan had got a silver madal and another gymnast was allowed to retain the gold medal despite a positive drugs test.
Kensa, UK

What can be done to avoid this sort of issue in future? Life for the dedicated athlete is hard enough without the fear that they could receive a ban for taking a simple medicine that the rest of us would take with no second thought. A common ailment, such as a cold, can rob an athlete of the chance to compete well and negate years of hard training. Surely it must be possible to introduce a system by which an athlete can apply for special dispensation to take a medicine. They could then be drugs tested before and after to ensure that they were not abusing the system. I'm sure most athletes would be happy to pay for any extra administrative costs rather than miss out on their big chance.
Peter Lambton, UK

The IOC need to be 200% certain before a ban is imposed
  Ian Roberts, UK
I think the decision was extremely harsh, especially since the drug did not give her any advantage. In fact, quite the opposite seems to have been the case. Considering the sacrifice all atheltes make for their respective sports, I think the IOC should take more into account the effects such a decision will have on an athlete. In cases where there is no benefit to the athlete then no ban or the taking away of a medal should be considered. But where athletes are taking banned substances knowingly then the punishment should be very severe, but the IOC need to be 200% certain before a ban is imposed. Also, since most top-flight athletes are now professionals, the IOC should be prepared to pay out substantial damages in cases where the original ban is proved to be ill-founded.
Ian Roberts, UK

It seems utterly nonsensical that the Romanians should be allowed to keep the team medals when one of their team members has tested positive. Having been drug tested myself about a dozen times in the last three years, I and most other sportspeople know rules are simple. I cannot understand why many of the contributors in this forum appear as confused as the IOC decision-makers. I know if nandrolone is found in my system, it does not matter how it arrived there. Although she may not have deliberately attempted to enhance her performance, taking pseudo-ephedrine has a similar effect to taking concentrated caffiene. If I was about to go swinging about on parallel bars, I would be happy to take something that woke my body up for a couple of minutes. People justifiably scathe about Americans ignoring drugs findings, but what would the public reaction have been here if Andreea Raducan had been a 'big' 25-year-old American male? Less sympathetic maybe.
Phil, UK

I feel sorry for Raducan but the team doctor must have known that the cold cure was prohibited. All athletes watch what they consume very closely as do the support team around them. As it was the team doctor who administered the cure I don't believe there can be an excuse for this breech of rules. The rules were broken, if she were allowed the medal the 'Raducan defence' would cloud the fight against doping.
Gareth, England

This is just one more indication that the Olympics, and sports in general, are feeling their way along with no clear philosophy guiding them. If you enforce rules to the letter, you are certain to create injustices. How do you prevent that? I don't know. I do know that all that matters is winning, no matter how. An athlete without the latest technology, including drugs, hasn't a chance.
Steve, USA

All drugs offences must be punished
  Dave Rodgers, England
One of the problems with the IOC is that they are inconsistent, and they fold under pressure from the more powerful countries. I have no problem with them taking Raducan's medal away providing that the same rules are applied to everyone else in every other country.curing). For those people who keep saying that Raducan is just a little girl, she is 16 not 8. Most 16 year olds have to take some responsbility and that includes what they put in their bodies.
Emma Webb, US

While I support wholeheartedly the fight against drug cheats in sport and indeed the increasing use of drugs in leisure generally, there are ocassions where common sense should prevail. The evidence seems clear that this cold remedy could not have made the slightest difference to her performance, at least not to give her any advantage over her competitors, and a decision like this could affect her for the rest of her life. Put some humanity back into this sorry mess please.
Graham Clark, UK

I can see that it may open up the possibility of 'accidents' in other sports but, as Nadia Comaneci said today 'Every sport is different.' You need to treat each case individually and each athlete individually. They said this would be 'the athlete's games' but it hasn't been the case for poor Raducan. The IOC is being excessively harsh.
Keith Griffiths, UK

All drugs offences must be punished. The rules are clear and although it is unfortunate that an "innocent" gymnast has missed out on a medal, the IOC cannot start making exceptions.
Dave Rodgers, England

As so often in our modern world there seems to be a confusion between legality and morality here
  George Wright, England
The case puts the IOC in a difficult position, does it go with public opinion and reinstate her, or do they carry though a harsh and unpopular, yet lawful decision?
T Yonge, New Zealand

In our imperfect world no rule can exist without exceptions. Raducan's case is a crystal clear example where an exeption needs to be made. I think the IOC has a major problem with basic logic. If the substance didn't enhance her performance - apparently she was even put at a disadvantage because it made her feel dizzy - why should she be stripped of her medal? And what happened to human compassion?
Juanita, South Africa

As so often in our modern world there seems to be a confusion between legality and morality here. The IOC may feel justified in taking the legal high ground, and I would certainly condemn the use of performance enhancing drugs, but I think this decision is immoral. It certainly does nothing to uphold the Olympic spirit or the duty of care to participants in the games. For me (and others it seems) it merely serves to bring into question the 'political' motives of the Olympic movement.
George Wright, England

The diffuculty is not the rules but the application of them
  Ray Hirons, UK
It isn't fair, the point is that she was tested after the all-around competition and was clean. She was positive after the vault. So why strip her of the gold and not the silver? it doesn't make sense.
Tracy, England

Someone, somewhere must be able to explain to me, why on the one hand you can chuck a discuss in the Decathlon, clearly leave the circle and get away with it - but on the other hand, take a cold cure, with not a single competitor believes this is an "unfair advantage" and get thrown out.
Terry Lawes, UK

I can usuallly see the point when decisions are made that appear to go against 'natural justice'. The diffuculty is not the rules but the application of them, or am I missing something?
Ray Hirons, UK

Harsh though it is, I think that the IOC's decision was correct. Only by adopting a zero tolerance policy with drugs, however they may have entered the athlete's body, can we hope to rid sport of unfairly enhanced performances.
Tom Jennings, England

No, I think it is a terrible shame for the gymnast to lose her medal this way. Surely it would be better punishing the coach who gave her the cold cure.
Claire Webster, France

Athletes must be absolutely sure that anything they take, even for the common cold, does not contain any banned substances
  Peter, Switzerland
Stripping Andreea Raducan of her gold medal for using a banned substance is a completely fair and correct decision made by the IOC. The rules are known to all and the list of banned substances is readily available. Any athlete competing at this level is fully aware of potential implications of any drug that they ingest. I do not accept her taking this medication was an innocent mistake. I think it was a calculated decision, that backfired, to alleviate a condition that may have affected her performance.
John Zenkus, USA

So, 'rules are rules' in Gymnastics but this does not apply in the Decathlon Discus?
Kevin, UK

Yes, it's absolutely right that she was stripped of her gold medal. She failed a drug test and has admitted that she took a banned substance. It is completely irrelevant that it was in a cold remedy that she was taking. Athletes must be absolutely sure that anything they take, even for the common cold, does not contain any banned substances.
Peter, Switzerland

Yes it seems unfair, but then the whole of the womens all-around competition was unfair, with the vault set incorrectly for half of the competition. The chance to re-vault at the end of the competition did not redress the psychological damage done and the momentum that was lost by those vaulting in the earlier rounds. This meant that Romanian medals were already being questioned by many gym fans. What a sorry mess for what is supposed to be the pinnacle of sport.
R.Macrae-Gibson, UK

It's very unfortunate to think though that those with more political, financial, legal and technical clout get away with the same, or much worse offences
  Roland Marslin, England
Yes, she should lose her gold medal, and she should have lost them all. Consistency is needed, and if the drug is supposed to have given her an unfair advantage in the all round event, why would it not have done so for all her performances?
Ralph, England

Rules were made for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.
Richard Fricker, UK

The short answer is yes. The same rule should apply to all irrespective. But it's very unfortunate to think though that those with more political, financial, legal and technical clout get away with the same, or much worse offences.
Roland Marslin, England

This 'drug' does not enhance performance in gymnastics at all. In large quantities, it might enhance performance a bit in endurance sports, but that's all. That the IOC does not have different banned-drug lists for different sports indicates a lack of vision and interest in sports. Hiding behind 'rules are rules' can only be the act of cowards who are not willing to take any real decisions.
Leo, Sweden

Whilst "rules are rules" this is quite clearly not fair. I believe that the IOC should work hard to find a fair resolution here rather than working to the letter of the law. The letter and spirit of the law, in this case, are clearly not the same. Whilst other competitors have been offered leniancy (such as Linford Christie in 1988) for innocent drugs violations, the IOC appear to be making an example of a totally innocent girl.
Tony Leaver, UK

How do we know that Raducan did not take a performance enhancing drug and when she got caught out she used the excuse that is was taken in the form of a cold cure?
Peter Young, England

I feel very sorry for the Romanian gymnast but think the IOC are right to stick to their decision
  Dawn, England
I agree with Anthony Ashworth. The olympic games is there to transcend beaurocracy and politics and it seems clear that this young girl trained for years without cheating and won a well deserved gold medal. The outcome is not in the spirit of the games. The intention of the rules on drugs are to stop cheats. This girl is not a cheat and has been cruelly penalised all the same.
Paul Branscombe, UK

While the Olympics has become big business, the spirit of the games must remain intact for this great spectacle to have any value. The IOC are forgetting that the rules were invented to stop cheats not to discredit innocent atheletes. If the IOC wish to maintain that they are acting for the good of sport, this reprehensible decision must be reversed.
Chris Saunders, UK

Is anyone 100% sure that she, or more specifically, her trainer and Doctor had no idea that the IOC would detect this drug and impose the ban? All sounds a bit dubious to me. At this level, if you have a cold, there is no chance of performing your best, even after taking a cold cure, so, peronally, I can't see the point in taking the risk.
Stuart Maskill, UK

I feel sorry for the athlete but the rules need to be adhered to
  Fred, UK
Put simply the fact that the IOC is seen to be doing something deflects attention away from the fact that IOC is not doing anything that will make a difference. Politics wins and unfortunately a young girl suffers.
Charles Jackson, UK

I feel very sorry for the Romanian gymnast but think the IOC are right to stick to their decision. The fact that it was only a cold cure and that it arguably couldn't have enhanced her performance is not the point. The rules and banned substances exsist to try and stop the cheats. Unfortunately, for Raducan, she bore the brunt of the tough measures that have to be in place to try and stop the drug cheats even though she may not have been one herself. However, organisations, coaches and individuals should make it their business to know what they can and can't take.
Dawn, England

At a time when we have seen many athletes deliberately take drugs, I think that this is a heartless and cowardly decision. I believe that the IOC have an easy target in Raducan and are not showing any discretion or sense. They should focus their efforts on tackling real drug abuse and correct testing procedures. On the subject of cheating - how can they allow the Estonian, Nool, to take the decathlon gold, with such a blatant no-throw in the discus? These Olympics have been hugely successful so far but are now falling into shambles with these very poor decisions.
B Smith, UK

The validity of her story is unquestionable - it is here that common sense should prevail
  Name Here
Rules are rules. The team doctor should have taken more care before dishing out drugs to one of the athletes. I feel sorry for the athlete but the rules need to be adhered to.
Fred, UK

Common sense appears to be the main ingredient missing here. Whilst nobody should condone the taking of performance enhancing drugs to gain unfair advantage, it is plainly obvious that this was not a deliberate act and that if anyone was to blame it was the Team Doctor and not the athlete. Again would the judgement have been the same if Raducan was a member of one of the more infuential teams? I look forward to the appeal.
Simon W, UK

I wrote to the Romanian Gymnastics Federation sending my support to Raducan. They are obviously outraged at this injustice as am I, and I e-mailed the IOC to tell them. I know it won't make much difference, but we have to make ourselves heard. I've been following gymnastics closely for 9 years - never have I seen anything like this. This tournament is rapidly descending into a farce. The vault was 2 inches too low in the Women's All-Around, which is appalling, but this is simply cruelty. Give Raducan her medal back. She will always be the true champion.
Keith Griffiths, UK

With the amount of athletes being sent home due to drug related issues there isn't any conceivable way that the IOC can let one athlete off
  Ralph Coleman, England
It is very sad that an atlete as young Raducan was stripped of her medal. I enjoyed watching her win it. But if the Olympic comittee giver her medal back I think it should do so with the others also. It wouldn't be fair to the others who all claim their inocence too. We suspect several other atletes to be using performace enhancing drugs even though they passed through the net of the tests. I hope that science will, in the future, be able to isolate those who deliberately took drugs and those who didn't.
Dereje, Ethiopia

If pseudoephedrine can be used as a performance enhancing drug in other circumstances, e.g. greater dosage, then I can understand the IOC decision to stick to the rules. However, nothing in life is black or white, and the fact that Raducan tested negative before and after (in the team and apparatus finals), the validity of her story is unquestionable. It is here that common sense should prevail to stop this talented gymnast being branded a drugs cheat in the history books. Give her back the medal.
Phil McKeown, UK

I think it is an absolute disgrace - I don't think Raducan should have been stripped of her gold medal. She quite obviously did not do anything wrong. The poor kid must be absolutely devastated - she has every reason to be!
Rhona, Ireland

As much as I feel for Raducan, I can't help feeling that it would be very unjust if the IOC let her off. With the amount of athletes being sent home due to drug related issues there isn't any conceivable way that the IOC can let one athlete off. If it had been an isolated incident, then perhaps the IOC could have afforded to be a little more lenient.
Ralph Coleman, England

If "rules are rules", then how come Erki Nool's discus throw was allowed?
  Colin Harrison, UK
In this case it is clear that culpability rests with the doctor. He made the error in allowing the athlete to take the cold-remedy and as such he should be the one who is disciplined. Morally, Raducan has committed no crime and as the drug she took was not performance-enhancing then she does not deserve to have been stripped of her medal.
Christopher Manning, UK

I thought the whole idea of the testing is to catch cheats - the IOC acknowledge that this definitely isn't the case here, so how on earth can they strip her of her medal? If "rules are rules", then how come Erki Nool's discus throw was allowed?
Colin Harrison, UK

My heart goes out to Andreea. At such a young age she has achieved the ultimate accolade in her sporting field only to see it stripped away through no apparent fault of her own. The saddest thing of all is that the authorities produce a banned substances list and the Romanian team doctor failed to cross reference individual components of the cold remedy to those on the list. Unfortunately, I can't see any way in which the gold can be re-instated as this would open the floodgates on counter claims and question the integrity of any list of illegal substances.
Kevin Harrison, England

If the IOC are so adamant that they need to uphold the letter of 'the law', why did they allow Raducan and the Romanian team to keep the team medals, when surely her 'drug-improved' performance would have contributed to their success as well? The IOC are yet again showing the total lack of thought they have given to the doping issue as a whole. I think the IOC are wrong in this case.
Marc Eaton, UK

Yes, tough as it is, the decision has to be the right one
  Peter Sumpter, UK
If the IOC accepts that the Cold remedy taken was a prescribed medication by the team doctor, which can strongly be inferred from the ban he himself received, and that no physical benefit was gained from taking the remedy, then it is an affront to common sense to strip an individual, who was undoubtedly outstanding in her competition, of the medal she trained so hard to achieve.
Jemma Jones, England

Whilst I strongly support the anti-drug rules, I feel that stripping an athlete of a gold medal after taking a cold remedy, which cannot be classed as a performance-enhancing drug is rather harsh. However, as the rules stand, the Romanian coach should have either known or made it his business to know what the cold remedy contained.
Jacqui Roach, England

The girl should definitely have her medal back. The taking of performance enhancing drugs is one thing but if are now saying that four years of training can be negated by a simple cold, then we have gone too far.
M J Downie, UK

Completely ridiculous! There should be exceptions to the rules when there is such an injustice. How can this be compared to someone actively taking drugs to benefit themselves?
Hilary Davidson, UK

It is definitely not fair. If the drug had in anyway enhanced her performance, then there could be a case - but it did not, and is commonly taken by millions of people around the world. The IOC should review its 'rules' in the light of this incident and return the gold medal to the girl.
Louise, Australia

Yes, tough as it is, the decision has to be the right one. Otherwise it opens up the possibility of taking such potentially enhancing compounds 'by accident'. The line is then impossible to draw. When is an athlete telling the truth? A grave error on the part of the doctor, maybe. But should the coach not have offered some concern at what was being offered to his/her athlete?
Peter Sumpter, UK

There is surely a difference between a cold remedy and anabolic steroids which are known performance boosters
  Mervyn Anderiesz, Sri Lanka
I cannot understand how that little girl should take the rap and the team doctor, the one you put your trust in gets away with a four year ban. Now her career is finished. I think that when an athlete becomes ill and needs medication there should be a centralised place where whatever they take is in a controlled environment and governed by an international medical group rather than a single person.
Ann Millar, Australia

The IOC Board acknowledges that Raducan did not knowingly take a performance enhancing drug and in my opinion, the harsh penalty handed out to this young lady is not justifiable. There is surely a difference between a cold remedy and anabolic steroids which are known performance boosters. Yes, her doctor should have known better and perhaps the stiff penalty imposed on him is maybe justified, but it does look like that " the IOC has indeed gone mad".
Mervyn Anderiesz, Sri Lanka

I think that the people from IOC are crazy, and I'm sure that we are talking about a lot of money in here! Because they don't even look at her to see that she is an innocent girl, who worked very hard to bring our small country some sporting fame.
Adina Pal, Romania

For Andreea Raducan to lose her gold medal is totally unfair. Why should someone elses error cost this girl her Olympic dream? The IOC needs to look at its policies and how they are implemented very carefully to ensure that it is the Oympic spirit that is upheld.
Anthony Ashworth, England

This is categorically not fair. Linford Christie was once accused of taking the self same drug and clearded for the self same reason. Plainly just the amount of steriod in a cold medicine gives no performance benefit. I support taking a tough stance on drugs in general - but for the rules to stick they must be fair. Punishing an athlete like this distacts from the main battle on the obvious cheats using EPO and the like.
David Randall, UK

It is absurd that Raducan should have lost her gold this way while it is a known fact that the Americans have a drug problem and the IOC has done nothing about it. The question I want to ask is this "Was she disqualified because she is Romanian?
Kofi Okai, England

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28 Sep 00 |  Gymnastics
Court supports IOC over Raducan
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