The hands of the British government are tied when it comes to preventing the use of steroids in the 2012 London Olympics.
The Telegraph reports trafficking steroids is a criminal offense in the U.K., but drugs imported for personal use are perfectly legal. Parliament can't change the law in time for the games, so they are hoping to lessen the possible damage by recommending athletes caught using anabolic steroids be given a four-year, or even life, suspension, rather than the two-year punishment enforced by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In other words, athletes are free to pack the drugs in their London luggage, but they could face penalties if they use them.
Back in 2008, U.K. Anti-Doping Chief Executive Andy Parkinson was already fearing the rise of steroid use among young athletes already prepping for 2012. The drugs are widely available in the U.K.
"The fact is that we have EPO, an increasing drug of choice for a number of disciplines, we have growth hormone, which it has been demonstrated you can get from a pub on the corner, and we have testosterone available all over the Internet. I think it's only a matter of time before someone crosses the line," he told the Guardian.
"The rewards for success in 2012 will be absolutely enormous and at some point some will say, 'You know what, I'm going to take the risk.' What we have to do is help them make informed choices and realize that they can make it clean."
With no time to strengthen the law, the agency has had to get creative to get clean -- or maybe it's the other way around. In the Salt Lake City Winter Games of 2002, cleaning staff accidentally stumbled upon blood transfusion equipment meant for steroid use. The light bulb went off in London. Now, the event's cleaning staff is being specially trained to spy on suspected steroid users.
Still, Parkinson told BBC News that even with record amounts of testing, the chance of catching users remains pretty low.
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