Controversy is brewing even before the Games start! A poll conducted among the Aussie Olympic squad reveals that many of its members claim other competitors may have an unfair "drug" advantage. The much-awaited event will be tainted by drug cheating, they say.
Australian swim captain Grant Hackett, along with other members of the Australian Olympic squad suspect that they won't be on a level playing field.
The unprecedented survey of Australian athletes, which captured the thoughts of 100 of the 433-strong team, revealed that three in four members believe athletes will be taking illegal performance enhancing drugs at next month's Games.
However, a same number of team members claim that Aussie athletes will not be among the sporting frauds, clearly indicating that they believe that they won't be competing on equal grounds in Beijing.
Grant Hackett, the two-time gold medal winner, insisted that the fame and fortune at the Beijing Olympics would certainly tempt drug cheats.
"We would have our heads in the sand to think the Games will be clean and that gets my blood boiling more than anything else in sport. It would be completely naive to think these Olympics will be clean and there will be those athletes who won't be able to resist cheating for the sake of medals," Fox Sports quoted him, as saying.
The survey, conducted by Beijing Now reporters, which polled Aussie Olympians across all sports, has also revealed widespread concerns about the heat and smog in Beijing.
When asked: "Do you believe any drug cheats will be competing at the Games?" 76 of the 100 athletes replied, "yes". Only six answered no; 16 said, "not in football" and two said, "hope not".
When the question was put up: "Do you believe any Australians will be among the cheats?" 17 of the 100 said yes; 73 said no; and 10 said they did not know.
In fact, 84 per cent of Aussie athletes said they were satisfied with anti-doping policy and procedure.
This pessimistic view of athletes in Australia comes in line with International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge prediction that a record 40 athletes would be caught drug cheating in Beijing - more than 24 in Athens.