Source: New York Times 
Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 1998


To the Editor: 

Re "These Games Are a Lesson in Chemistry" (Sports of The Times, Feb. 12)
the restoration of the gold medal to the Canadian snowboarder Ross
Rebagliati, who had been found to have 17.8 nanograms of marijuana traces
in his system when 15 is the legal limit, is not so much a lesson in
chemistry as in how fast science is outstripping the ability of
nonscientists to comprehend the repercussions of the new tools available to
them. At a time when the eating of a poppyseed roll can put a measurable
quantity of opiates in your system, the International Olympic Committee has
to decide the level at which drugs are "performance-enhancing" at the time
of the performance as well as the acceptable levels of others, like
steroids, that might be used to attain a superhuman performance. 

ROBERT F. DRAKE Bronx, Feb. 13, 1998 
The writer is an assistant professor of chemistry, Bronx Community College.

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To the Editor: 

The decision to let Ross Rebagliati keep his gold medal despite testing
positive for marijuana was the right call (Sports pages, Feb. 13). Had the
arbitration panel ruled against Mr. Rebagliati and upheld the International
Olympic Committee, a message would have gone out to youngsters that
marijuana is considered a performance-enhancing substance by the Olympics.
In the absence of any proof that its use enhances performance, athletes
need not be tested for it in the first place. 

RICHARD M. EVANS Northampton, Mass., Feb. 13, 1998