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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Athletic Drug Said From Russia

ATLANTA -- Athletes of the former Soviet Union for years have used the drug that has produced at least four positive tests at the Atlanta Games, but scientists could not detect it until recently, a top Olympic official says.

The Russian Olympic Committee has denied that the drug, bromantan, is a stimulant and appealed the disqualification of two of its medalists.

Prince Alexandre de Merode, chairman of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission, said Russian officials told him that Soviet athletes already were using bromantan at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Traces of the drug were detected in as many as 20 tests in the past two years, all involving athletes from the former Soviet Union, de Merode said.

But scientists only recently could identify the substance and class it as a banned performance-enhancing stimulant, he said.

"It's made by the Russian army for army troops,'' de Merode said. "I am told it is available on the black market in Russia, including on the streets in Moscow.''

But a Russian Defense Ministry duty officer said Thursday that as far as he knows, bromantan isn't used by the army.

The latest to test positive for the drug, Russian sprinter Marina Trandenkova, fifth in the women's Olympic 100-meter final last Saturday, was forced to withdraw from the women's 200-meter heats Wednesday.

In all, four Russian athletes, a Lithuanian cyclist and two Lithuanian team officials have been kicked out of the Atlanta games over the use of bromantan.

De Merode said bromantan makes athletes more alert, boosts their energy and wards off fatigue.

The Russian delegation argued the drug is not included on the IOC's list of banned substances. But de Merode said it is covered under the category of "related substances.''

"We have an open list with some examples,'' he said. "If we listed all the substances, we would need a dictionary.''

An official with the Russian delegation told Itar-Tass that the delegation two years ago submitted to the IOC the list of drugs it would use in pre-Olympic trainings. Bromantan was on that list. "We have not received any notices from the medical commission on that account,'' Alexander Kozlovsky, vice president of Russia's Olympic Committee, told Itar-Tass.

"Furthermore, we learned that on May 15, 1996, the International Athletics Federation expressed a doubt in the legality of bromantan, but it has never received an answer,'' he said.

Russian swimmer Nina Zhivanevskaya, who finished first in the consolation final in the women's 200-meter backstroke, was disqualified Tuesday. Swimmer Andrei Korneyev, in the 200-meter breaststroke, and Greco-Roman wrestler Zafar Gulyov, in the 48-kilogram class, were stripped of their bronze medals Monday. They appealed the cases to the Court for Arbitration in Sport.

A hearing is set for Friday, and the case may not be decided until after the the games end. (AP, Reuters)