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CNN Today

Fallout Continues in Chinese Olympic Doping Scandal

Aired September 7, 2000 - 1:14 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: There's more fallout today from the surprise announcement yesterday in Sydney that more than two dozen Chinese Olympic athletes won't be competing in the 2000 games.

CNN's Rebecca MacKinnon has our report from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Women's track coach Ma Junren used to be the hero of Chinese sports. After his team brought home four gold medals from the world championships in 1993, he denied allegations that the women's success was due to performance-enhancing drugs. Chinese President Jiang Zemin even called on all Chinese to emulate his spirit.

Now coach Ma is in disgrace. Six of the seven runners he planned to send to the Olympics this year have been kicked off China's team.

HE HUIXIAN, CHINESE OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (through translator): We subjected the athletes to blood tests several times. The results were suspicious.

MACKINNON: Chinese officials confirmed seven Chinese rowers have also been pulled out of competition for using the performance- enhancing substance EPO. Fourteen other athletes were also held back from Sydney, including several swimmers, canoeists and more track and field athletes. But the Chinese media was silent on the reason for these exclusions, and officials would not elaborate.

But Chinese authorities hailed the decision as a success in their fight against the doping practices of some Chinese coaches, a fight they took public this summer when swimming champion Wu Yanyan was banned from competition after testing positive for steroids.

HUIXIAN: We are trying to teach athletes not to be so driven by fame that they do things which harm their country, other people and themselves.

MACKINNON: Public reaction to the crackdown is generally positive.

"It won't be a real victory unless our athletes are clean," says this man. (on camera): With the International Olympic Committee vowing to make Sydney the cleanest Olympics ever, Chinese authorities have recognized THAT the embarrassment of kicking a few people off the team at the last minute is nothing compared to the international shame of a doping scandal in Sydney.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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