A former Norwegian anti-doping official accused several top athletes in the country of blood doping in recent years, the Associated Press reported on Friday, only three weeks before the start of the Winter Games in Sochi.
Mads Drange wrote a book called Den Store Dopingbloeffen, which translates to The Great Doping Bluff, that was released on Thursday. He didn't accuse anyone by name or provide any form of proof, except to say the athletes must have been doping because of "exceptionally high variations in their blood profiles," the AP reports.
''I don't want to create a witch hunt. It is just to show the system doesn't work, because even here in Norway, where there is a good testing regime, it is easy to cheat,'' Drange said, adding that his reference period was 2000-10. ''There is no testing in most countries in the world, or the testing is no good. People might talk about Jamaica or Kenya, but you don't have to look any further than Europe.
''You have to be stupid to fail a test at a major tournament. So the chance that the clean athletes have for fighting for medals are a lot less than they could have been,'' Drange added. ''The national associations have failed their clean athletes.''
Norway, which is well known for its prowess in winter sports, earned 23 medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which placed it fourth behind the U.S. (37), Germany (30) and Canada (26). Norway's medal count included nine in cross-country skiing.
Female cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen was the most decorated athlete at the Games, winning three gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Anders Solheim, the head of Anti-Doping Norway and a former colleague of Drange, denied his claim, according to the AP.
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''If we had received good enough evidence we would have prosecuted the athletes through the prosecution committee,'' Solheim said. ''You need to have the evidence.''