Drug tests just a fact of life at Olympics, says Opals' Jackson
Lauren Jackson is crucial to the Opals' London hopes. Photo: Jay Cronan
Nine days before the London Olympics open, every one of Australia's 410 athletes have already been drug tested at least once, more than half have been done twice and 30 per cent have had three tests.
And there'll be more to come over the next three weeks. While some athletes may be privately frustrated at the early morning wake-up calls and regular intrusion, women's basketball captain Lauren Jackson says it's a fact of life.
''But when you get a knock on the door at six o'clock in the morning after getting off a flight from America, it is frustrating because all you want to do is sleep,'' Jackson told reporters in London yesterday.
''But compliance is the main thing. There's nothing you can do about it, so there's no point in complaining or venting your frustration.
''At the end of the day if you don't do it, you can't compete. It's part of the sport, it's part of everyone coming to the Olympics.''
More than 6000 tests will be conducted during the Olympics and Paralympics periods, with a state-of-the-art facility in London working round the clock to analyse samples.
As a dual gold medal-winning rower, Australia's chef de mission Nick Green understands the frustrations but makes no apology for the amount of testing.
''We encourage the testing,'' Green said.
''Athletes at this time get irked by every single thing that goes on because they're under a heavy training load and they're tired and fatigued.
''But that's part of it, it's part and parcel of being an athlete.
''The testing needs to be done.''
But while authorities are determined to keep the Games clean, the man behind some of the biggest doping scandals in sport believes drug cheats will be competing in London.
Victor Conte, who was jailed over the infamous BALCO steroids scandal in which US sprinter Marion Jones was stripped of her three gold medals from the Sydney Games, says many athletes are still cheating.
Conte told the San Francisco Chronicle that athletes can no longer use high-octane designer steroids but loopholes, better short-term drugs and deliberately lax enforcement allow cheats to continue.
''I don't believe they're using designer steroids these days,'' Conte told the paper.
''I believe they're using fast-acting testosterone.
''You can micro-dose, you can use fast-acting creams and gels and patches.''
He says Olympic drug testing is flawed and has told the World Anti-Doping Agency IT needs more of a long-term view rather than focusing on the Games.
''When you build your explosive strength and speed and power base is October-November-December,'' he says.
''Eight months later, they're winning gold medals based on the drugs they used nine months ago. So you don't need to be testing at the Games … you need to stick your hook and line and pole in the pond during this time frame. I know, because I was preparing people this way.'' AAP