Somewhere among the nearly 100 boxes of papers in his possession, Wade Exum may have a smoking gun: a list of U.S. athletes who Exum, the United States Olympic Committee's director of drug control administration for nine years, claims tested positive for banned substances (ranging from stimulants to steroids, in and out of competition) between 1984 and 2000 but were never named or punished by the USOC. In July 2000, a month after he resigned, allegedly under pressure, Exum filed a federal lawsuit against the committee claiming that its members discriminated against him because he is black and hampered his antidrug efforts. He is expected to reveal the identities of the implicated athletes after the trial date is set, most likely later this month in Denver.
In the lawsuit Exum claims the USOC had encouraged "the use of performance enhancing drugs or doping methods" and "thrown roadblocks in the path of anti-doping enforcement." He declined, through his lawyer, John Pineau, to comment to SI, but he told The Times of London last week that medal winners from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the '96 Atlanta Games were among the athletes listed.
If the case proceeds, the release of at least 11,000 pages of documents should clear up many of the questions raised by Exum's claims. How many, if any, unreported positives were there? How many were from subsequent medal winners? Did athletes on his list have prior exemptions for banned substances because of medical considerations? Does the list include positives for just initial A samples or also the confirming B samples? Did the USOC systematically suppress the results of damning drug tests or was it protecting the rights of athletes whose results were overturned because of legitimate technicalities?
On Monday, USOC spokesman Mike Moran said the committee denies "any coverups or misrepresentations on our part in the drug-testing procedure." Moran added, "This man asked us, through our attorneys, for $5.5 million to keep silent. We have nothing to hide."