IOC Muscled Aside at Sports Doping Meeting

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Juan Antonio Samaranch is whistling a happy tune, but the writing is on the wall. The president of the scandal-dogged International Olympic Committee hailed the international conference on drugs in sport as a triumph, Thursday, but what was most clear from the inconclusive event was Samaranch's demise. "The conference refused to allow the IOC to run the proposed body to police doping in sport, on the grounds that Samaranch's organization lacks credibility," says TIME reporter Robert Kroon. "Samaranch and [conference organizer] Prince Alexandre de Mérode are old European aristocrats who have run the IOC as their personal fief, and they're discovering those days are over."

The conference agreed to create an international watchdog body in time for the Sydney Games in 2000. But while they've agreed to sidestep the IOC, the conference deferred resolution of such contentious issues as the punishment of doping offenders. U.S. drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey led the charge against Samaranch, but other delegates raised questions about tolerance of doping in the U.S. -- champion slugger Mark McGwire, for example, was able to use a muscle-growth substance on the IOC's banned list because it is permitted by Major League Baseball. So, while it didn't resurrect the IOC, the doping conference didn't resolve the drug problem either.