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Australians must sign no-doping pledge to compete

Nov 16, 2012, 9:44 AM EDT

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A plan to require Australian athletes to sign a declaration revealing past use of performance-enhancing drugs, proposed Nov. 2 by Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates, was accepted by the AOC executive board Friday and will go into effect for the 2014 Games.

The measure, which comes in response to the backlash against Lance Armstrong, will force Aussie athletes to state they have “no doping history.”

Those caught lying will face up to seven years of jail time. Those who don’t sign simply won’t be selected.

“What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has,” AOC President John Coates told the AP when he proposed the measure earlier this month.

The AOC still isn’t sure what substances will land on the banned list, but Coates claimed there may be some “wriggle room” for doping cases with mitigating circumstances. He also explained that recreational drugs like marijuana won’t be part of the pledge. It will be strictly performance based.

“An athlete could be available for a games after serving a two-year suspension,” Coates said of the penalties. “However, we talked about it and we will not accept onto the team in any official or coaching position anyone who may have, as an athlete, violated an anti-doping rule and served such a sanction.”

Apparently Coates got the idea from the British Sky cycling team, who was also reacting to the Lance Armstrong news. No other Olympic committees have talked about similar declarations, but we imagine all the top world teams like the U.S., Great Britain, and Russia won’t be far behind.