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WADA boss predicts plenty of turmoil at Athens

LONDON (ONTARIO), JUNE 12. World Anti-Doping Agency head Dick Pound is predicting turmoil at the Athens Olympics.

Pound, also an influential IOC member for two decades, believes pollution — air and drugs — as well as security concerns and incomplete infrastructure make the birthplace of the Games a questionable host.

Pound was at the University of Western Ontario on Friday to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. The former Olympic swimmer, lawyer, chartered accountant and chancellor of McGill University has always said doping is "the greatest danger facing sports today."

First, the drugs.

At the centre of the US steroid-trafficking investigation are 100m world record-holder Tim Montgomery and his girlfriend, five-time Olympic medallist Marion Jones, even though neither has tested positive.

"What they're trying to say is `the only way to get me is if you get a sample from me that tests positive'," Pound said in an interview in London Free Press. "We're saying `Nonsense, that's just evidence of one sort.'

"Clearly, with Montgomery the investigators say they have enough evidence," Pound said. "In typical American fashion, (the investigators) circle around and get the small fish and close in on the big ones. Marion Jones is clearly a target."

In his book "Inside The Olympics" that has just been released, Pound dwells on the drug threat. WADA, though, appears to be working.

"If you're a doper, you take the first step so you have a slight advantage and we're one step behind," Pound said.

"There are coaches and athletes and scientists out there who are sociopaths, who don't care about rules. But as soon as we get a sample of the stuff, a test can be developed within weeks and that drug is finished."

As for the August Games, organisers insist any air pollution in Athens will be blown away by Mediterranean breezes. Pound says he's awaiting the miracle. Other aspects remain in doubt, he added.

"They'll get the core stuff done, the venues and sports facilities, the athletes' village, the international broadcast centre, the transportation system for athletes and officials, and will have a pretty effective security perimeter around all of it," he predicted. "But they aren't going to have all the subways required to move (the fans) around in an old city.

"They've done a good job on security, as much as can be done. But the border is very porous and there are some very, very bad guys on the other side."

The commercial port will continue to operate, he added, and the floating palaces of the Mediterranean could offer terrorist staging points.

On another point, Pound believed the finalists for the 2012 Summer Games will be Madrid, Paris and London, at the expense of New York and Moscow.

"I think it will be London and Paris and a knee-kicking, eye-gouging struggle between them," he added. — AP

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