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Wednesday, July 26, 2000
Olympics won't test for growth hormone

 TOKYO (AP) -- Tests for human growth hormone will not be done at the Sydney Olympics.

 Michael Knight, president of the Sydney organizers, said Wednesday he hoped there would be enough time to approve tests for EPO, the hormone erythropoietin.

 Both human growth hormone and the EPO hormone are performance-enhancing substances that can't be detected by current drug tests.

 The International Olympic Committee has yet to decide if a test for EPO will be ready for the Sydney Games.

 The IOC meets July 31-Aug. 1 in Lausanne, Switzerland, to review the blood test and a French-developed urine test for EPO.

 EPO is a natural hormone that regulates the amount of red cells in the blood. The use of synthetic EPO allows athletes to boost their number of red blood cells, increasing the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity.

 EPO is believed to be widely used by athletes in cycling, distance running and other endurance sports.

 Olympic officials say even if an EPO test is ready for Sydney, other banned drugs, including human growth hormone, will remain undetectable.

 Australian customs inspectors discovered 13 vials of growth hormone hidden in the luggage of Chinese swimmer Yuan Yuan before the world championships in 1998.
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