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TURIN, Italy - Police have no plans to raid the Olympic Village in search of banned substances, but athletes who test positive will be sent to court underItaly's criminal anti-doping laws.
"Police will not enter the village," Mario Pescante , a senior IOC member and Italian government official, said Monday. "This is not going to happen."
The prospect of police raids on the village and athletes being led away in handcuffs has been a major issue in the leadup to the Games, which begin Friday.
Pescante was referring to random searches. The IOC has said it would not object if police, acting on a tipoff, went into the village to arrest any athletes or coaches trafficking in banned substances.
"In October I predicted intelligent solutions would be found, and I believe intelligent solutions were found," IOC president Jacques Rogge said Monday. "The law is not an obstacle to a very good doping control. The IOC will have full control of the testing."
Doping carries a maximum two-year term under Italian law. Few athletes have ever gone to jail, however, and Pescante said offenders would more likely face "administrative sanctions" from the courts.
"If an athlete tests positive, the Italian court will intervene," he said. "There is no exception. Everybody, no matter from which country, will be submitted to the Italian law."
Rogge said the decision to accept the Italian legislation did not represent a retreat in the IOC's control over the games.
"We need collaboration with governments," he said. "We are the best for checking doping of athletes, but not the best in cracking down on drug rings. We need governments for that."
The IOC plans to conduct 1,200 drug tests during the Games, a 71 percent increase over the number in Salt Lake City four years ago. Under IOC rules, an athlete who tests positive faces disqualification and expulsion from the Games.
Pescante also said a compromise was reached on the issue of hyperbaric chambers, which are used by athletes to replicate high altitude conditions and build up oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
OPENING CEREMONY: Former Italian skiing sensation Alberto Tomba is believed to be the choice to light the Olympic flame, and he will have quite a trek to the top of the Olympic Stadium to do it. Pininfarina SpA, which designs Ferraris, created the tallest Olympic cauldron ever: It rises 200 feet, which is about 20 stories.
Before the flame is lit, signaling the start of the Winter Games, the Opening Ceremonies promise the sartorial inspiration of designer Giorgio Armani and the choreographic influence of dance star Roberto Bolle of Milan's La Scala. An experimental technology that can create a flame up to 2 meters long will help illuminate themes of rhythm, passion and speed. A team of eight ice skaters will speed around the rink in a choreographed race, one part of an immense entertainment undertaking that will include 6,100 volunteers, 240 professionals, 500 pairs of skates and 32 television cameras.
BOBSLEDDER SUES COMPANY: U.S. bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic filed a lawsuit against the maker of a protein powder he blames for causing him to fail a drug test and miss the 2002 Winter Olympics. Jovanovic is set to compete in the two- and four-man bobsled events in Turin. His lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City against Century Foods International of Wisconsin, which denied responsibility for the positive test. Jovanovic contends he tested positive for the banned 19-norandrostenedione steroid on Dec.29, 2001, after consuming Century Foods' Nitro-Tech protein powder.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: The IOC's primary source of revenue has long been the sale of American television rights, which for the Turin Games, for instance, are three times the combined amount of rights fees paid by other broadcasters around the globe.
NBC is paying $5.7-billion to televise the Games in the United States from 2000 through 2012.
The USOC receives 12.75 percent of the fees paid by NBC. No American television deal has been made for 2016.
TELEVISION: For 17 days beginning Friday, NBC and three of its cable channels will televise more coverage than there is time in the day: 24 hours, 35 minutes per day of skating, skiing, curling, hockey, luge and the like.
NBC, which paid $613-million for the television rights, has a staff of 2,768 in Italy.