STRIDES AGAINST STEROIDS
Next week The Athletics Congress, the governing body for track and field in the U.S., will begin a stronger program to fight the use of anabolic steroids by its athletes. For five years, testing has occurred at competitions, but unless they miscalculate, as Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson did (page 98), athletes taking steroids during training, when they are most beneficial, have only to stop using them for a given number of days before competition in order to test negative. TAC's new program, adopted in December at its annual convention, sounds promising because it provides for year-round, random, short-notice testing.
Starting on July 1, any athlete ranked among the top 15 in an event can be required to provide a urine sample within 36 hours. Those samples will be sent to an IAAF-approved lab, where they will be tested for steroids, masking agents and diuretics, the last of which are used to flush steroids from the body. The number of athletes who will be tested each week has not been specified, but Frank Greenberg, the president of TAC and an attorney in Philadelphia, estimates that at least a thousand tests will be conducted over the course of a year, with some athletes being tested more than once.
In addition, athletes will continue to be tested at such competitions as the TAC championships, the world championships and the Olympics. In accordance with IAAF rules, an athlete who tests positive for the first time will be suspended for two years, and one who does so a second time will be suspended for life. Those deterrents, coupled with the new testing procedures, will make athletes think twice before they use banned substances. "For the first time, there is the feeling that this is the formula to eradicate drugs in U.S. track and field," Greenberg says.
In a related matter, Greenberg has appointed a panel of three to investigate charges against Chuck DeBus, the coach of Olympic women's 800-meter bronze medalist Kim Gallagher. De-Bus has been accused in three affidavits by athletes or coaches of abetting athletes in their use of drugs. The panel, whose members are unidentified, is scheduled to meet on July 11.
You have to question the educational priorities at Baldwin (Pa.) High. A few weeks ago, Baldwin hired a football coach at a salary of $60,000—$14,000 more than the school pays a teacher with 20 years' experience and a master's degree, and $10,000 more than the former coach made. The new coach is Don Yannessa, who during his 17 years at Aliquippa (Pa.) High made that school a football powerhouse, producing such standouts as offensive lineman Sean Gilbert, one of the most highly recruited high school players in the country this year. Yannessa, who will also serve as the school's athletic director, won't do any teaching for his hefty salary. Baldwin wants desperately to turn around its dismal team, which has gone 2-27-1 over the past three seasons.
The successful wooing of Yannessa by Baldwin was a particularly demoralizing blow to Aliquippa, which has been struggling to survive since most of its steel mills were closed in 1983. "We can't get over it," says longtime resident John Mowad, 68. "The way this town is, what we live for is football. Just as Rockne built Notre Dame, Yannessa built Aliquippa."
A WINNING REVIVAL ABOUT A LOSING TEAM
St. Louis Cardinals rightfielder Tom Brunansky has recently embarked on a monumental streak. Every night Brunansky lofts a 3-and-2 fastball from Cub relief ace Mitch Williams into the first row of the Wrigley Field bleachers. Every night he hits it with the bases loaded, two outs in the ninth and the Cubs ahead by three runs. And every night after depressing night, the Cubs lose.