Doping is still concern

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

Canada's Beckie Scott isn't sold on the idea that we've seen the last of doping at the Winter Olympics.

Sadly, there could be more instances at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, similar to the ones that almost cost Scott a gold medal.

Scott became the first Canadian female to win a gold medal after two Russian cross-country ski racers -- Olga Danilova and Larissa Lazutina -- were caught with steroids in their system following the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

Now, with the Olympics in Turin a year away, Scott remains skeptical things have been cleaned up.

"We just had another positive-negative test in cross-country, so that doesn't leave me super hopeful," she said of a recent doping scandal on the World Cup circuit.

"I wish I was more optimistic. I would like to see a cleaner Olympics that's for sure."

Scott, who initially won bronze in the women's 5-km pursuit three years ago, has long been an advocate to abolish drug use in sport.

However, after once again bearing witness to another doping allegation, the Vermilion, Alta., native can't help but be jaded and insists her teammates feel the same way.

"I wouldn't say it's impossible but I haven't seen any moves in that direction towards cleaning things up, especially in cross-country," she said.

"Right now, I think our whole team is frustrated. For the second time in four years, a skier has turned in a positive A sample and then came back with a negative B sample and we're just wondering how that happens. Also, why is it happening exclusively in our sport?

"It just seems to be an ongoing problem."

On the tracks, Scott and her teammates are making strides touring the World Cup circuit.

Although none of them have captured gold so far this season, there has been much optimism leading into an Olympic year.

Three athletes -- Scott, Sara Renner and Miliane Theriault -- will all be competing in their third games.

"I think the team looks stronger than it ever has," said Scott. "We have a really good mix of experience and youth. Obviously, we'll all be looking for our best-ever performances.

On the other side of the coin, the rest of the Canadian squad is made up entirely of rookies but look for George Grey of Rossland, B.C., and Chelsea, Que., native Chris Jeffries to be the men's hopefuls in Turin.


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