First Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 . 14:02:09 (AEST)
Hall backs Thorpe over drug use claims
American swimmer Gary Hall junior has leapt to Ian Thorpe's defence over comments the Australian made last week regarding drug use in swimming.
Thorpe said last week that he believed some of the swimmers he would be competing against in Athens would have taken drugs.
His comments prompted an angry response from swimming's governing body FINA, which said his comments were unacceptable.
On his official website, Hall said he welcomed Thorpe's comments and said it was unfair for FINA to try and censor him.
"We applaud Ian for speaking his mind as perhaps the world's highest profile swimmer and drawing attention to this issue," Hall said.
"It is shocking that FINA would issue a statement condemning Thorpe for what he has said as opposed to trying to understand the root of these issues and looking within their system to correct them."
Hall said FINA should be pleased that a swimmer of the calibre of Thorpe was taking such a strong stance against drugs.
"Ian Thorpe is addressing a problem that needs to be addressed," he said.
"He has the right to his opinion and he has the right to speak it. It may be an inconvenience to FINA to catch these suspected cheaters but after all, isn't it their job?"
Hall, a four-time Olympic gold medallist, said he believed all finalists at the Olympics should have a blood sample taken and banked to be tested in the future.