FILE UNDER -- Alpine

The FIS introduces blood tests for hormone

The FIS introduces blood tests for hormoneBlood tests for human growth hormone are being introduced this season in alpine and freestyle skiing as well as snowboarding and ski jumping, the International Ski Federation has announced.

The tests, already carried out in cross-country and nordic combined skiing, follow the introduction of the test for hGH at the Athens Olympics. Blood samples will be collected at the same time as urine samples are taken, following races or in out-of-competition tests.

HGH, which works like an anabolic steroid by building muscle mass and helping athletes recover faster from training, is considered one of the most widely used banned substances in sports. Although it has been around for decades, until this year standard doping controls failed to distinguish between the naturally produced hormone and the synthetic version used by cheaters.

FIS rules mandate that the top 50 athletes from each discipline in alpine, cross country, ski jumping and nordic combined, and the top 30 in freestyle and snowboarding, provide their whereabouts year-round for possible out-of-competition testing.

-The Associated Press

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