Dear Friends, We assume that our Readers, interested in learning what goes on in the field of sports in the world, may have been informed about what had happened – in terms of doping – at the world's most renowned cycling event, the Tour de France. If we look back to the history of drug abuse, we shall find with some regularity events that have shattered the world and incited further measures in the anti-doping battle. The revelations in the mid seventies resulted in the whole issue of doping being discussed at the 1981 IOC Congress in Baden Baden. Another such shocking and eye-opening case was that of the fall of the world's greatest athlete at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games which led to a better organised, better co-ordinated network of anti-doping controls embracing more sports and disciplines than before. And a similarly serious situation was that of the 1998 Tour de France, which entailed intensive reactions by the media, the public and the various sports organisations. These latest developments induced the IOC President to convene a World Conference on Doping in Sport, for 2-4 February 1999.

This Conference will be attended by the IOC, the International Sports Federations, the National Olympic Committees, governmental and non-governmental sports organisations, athletes, laboratories, sports physicians and other related organisations and individuals. It is more than obvious that in the fight against doping the International Federations are playing a key role, as organisers and supervisors of their respective competitions. However, it will be to the benefit of all of us if the International Olympic Committee, a more homogeneous entity than the conglomeration of hundreds of different sports bodies in the world, decides to lead this campaign, deploying its influence, organisational potential and money.

The equality of chances in the international arenas will continue to be endangered in the future, since we have every right to suppose that it will be increasingly difficult to understand the difference between negative and positive analysis results and so take the correct measures. Even the laboratories accredited by the International Olympic Committee are not unanimous on this question. Not only is the quality of the analyses different, but there exist various opinions what is the minimum quantity of the detected substance above which it should be considered as a positive case of doping. The responsibility and the consequences of this delicate question are left to the International Federations. Furthermore, the fact that there are various performance-enhancing substances which cannot be detected is an open secret worldwide – not only among the athletes. In the world of sport a double-class society has been created. On the one side, there are the financially strong athletes who can afford undetectable special products to help them achieve super performances. On the other side, there are the athletes who employ traditional methods and substances and will thus sooner or later get caught in the net of doping controls.

Looking forward to the World Conference, the IWF is in an advantageous situation, since we have led several discussions with both President Samaranch and other IOC Members all of whom expressed satisfaction and high regard to the IWF anti-doping policy and activities. Wishing to benefit from our long professional experience in this field, the IOC invited the IWF's representative, as the only IF, to a small Working Group which is to prepare the proceedings and the agenda of the World Conference slated for next February. The main tasks of the Conference are: 1) To find a precise definition for "doping"; 2) To set up an International Anti-Doping Agency which will control and organise the drug testing in the world independent from the IOC or the IFs; 3) To find the formula of motivating the governmental and non-governmental organisations to recognise their responsibility and increase the anti-doping measures.

There are a great number of questions to be resolved and to be co-ordinated and each and every body involved will have to decide whether it wants to adopt the international recommendations or walk its own way. One thing, however, is certain: It will take a united effort by all parties concerned to try to safeguard the health of the athlete maintain fairness in sports and move towards the 21st century with the goal to – if not fully eradicate but – restrain the abuse of doping in sports to the minimum. You may rest assured, dear friends, that the IWF, which has never spared energy, money or prestige in its anti-doping fight, will join to any enterprise writing this objective on its banner.

Within this Editorial we must pay hommage to someone who was one of the greatest and most respected individuals in international weightlifting, someone whose high reputation was not to be thanked to gold medals or results achieved on the platform but to many decades of unselfish, devoted activity as an official. We mourne Clarence H. Johnson, former President of the International Weightlifting Federation, who died in the summer of 1998. You will find his obituary on pages 29-31 of this magazine.

Some things do not work without each other. For instance, no issue of World Weightlifting could ever appear without the work of its Editor in Chief Jenő Boskovics. And this Editorial cannot be complete without our mentioning that Jenő Boskovics turned 70 years old! For forty years an ardent chronicler, a meticulous statistician and a devout journalist and servant of weightlifting, Jenő Boskovics is an indispensable person in this sport. Besides being Editor in Chief of this magazine and IWF Spokesman, Boskovics is the Deputy General Secretary of the A.I.P.S. and the General Secretary of the A.I.P.S. Weightlifting Commission. Happy birthday, Jenő!

Gottfried Schödl
IWF President

Dr. Tamás Aján
IWF General Secretary