Dick Pound as frank as ever 

Canadian IOC member gives conference the low down on drugs and how Games are awarded


There is one Games record Canadian International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound would like to see gone when the world comes to Whistler and Vancouver next month.

That's Canada's failure to win gold as an Olympic host.

"I think that is going to change this time," he said while pointing out it was 50 years (1952-2002) between gold medals in men's hockey for Canada.

Pound, a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a one-time candidate for the presidency of that organization has helped build a multi-billion dollar kingdom around the Games by marketing the Olympic rings and negotiating television rights around the world for phenomenal sums.

A Montreal tax lawyer and chartered accountant, he has been the IOC's top TV rights and sponsorship negotiator since the mid-1980s.

He is also the former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and one of the most strident critics of drug use in sports.

Last weekend, in a wide-ranging speech, he told an audience at a Whistler business conference that it's impossible to guarantee the 2010 Olympics will be drug free.

"I don't think you can guarantee that any event in the Vancouver Games will be drug free," he said. "The testing and the procedures are better than they used to be... but there are holes in the system.

"...They are more likely to be drug free than they were say 10 to 12 years ago."

Pound said athletes not only understand that it is cheating, they also know that it is dangerous.

"They are not taking an aspirin here," he said.

"They are taking industrial quantities of these drugs."

"I would say there is a much higher degree of buy-in by most of the athletes now."

Pound, who competed in the 1960 Rome Games in swimming, also said he believed Canada's women ski jumpers, who took their fight to compete in the 2010 Games to Canada's courts, used the wrong strategy to fight for their sport.

"This is not a legal issue," he said. "I thought they had bad advice."

He also had strong words for how ice-skating is judged.

"...The judging is just awful," he said. "And I must say I don't see much improvement.

"It is so crooked that the judging is anonymous..."

Pound also gave a unique insight into how Games are awarded, saying that the 2016 Games were given to Brazil because it was time to hold the event in South America, which has never hosted an Olympics.

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