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East Bloc sports officials shot air into the rectums of swimmers to increase buoyancy and injected athletes with sheep testosterone, a California doctor told a government inquiry Monday.

Dr. Robert Kerr, who dispensed anabolic steroids to elite athletes for 17 years, testified he heard about these bizarre methods of enhancing athletic performance from doctors, coaches and athletes at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.Kerr, 54, of San Gabriel,Calif., was appearing before an inquiry into drug use in Canadian amateur sport prompted by Ben Johnson's failed drug test at last September's Seoul Olympics.

Johnson, stripped of his gold medal in the 100 meters and banned from international sport for two years, admitted last week he used performance-enhancing drugs since 1981.

Kerr said his informants told him:

- East Bloc officials favored ram testosterone because it was undetectable and caused no allergic response. "Since they were not testing for non-human testosterone, it seemed to be a sensible thing to do," Kerr said.

- Soviet swimmers were injected with about 1 1/2 quarts of air or gas in the rectum and colon to achieve better flotation at the hip joint.

"I imagine that this could cause some embarrassment to some of the swimmers when they first use this product," Kerr wrote in a March 1985 letter to American colleagues.

- Mexican athletes in a walk event in Los Angeles used a Mexican-developed drug called pyruvate-dehydrogenase to improve endurance.

"Notice as they finish they are not going to show the stress and the tired effect that you are going to see in all the others in the race," an East Bloc physician told Kerr.

The next week, Kerr watched two Mexicans place first and second in the race.

- Some East Bloc strength athletes take strychnine 30 to 60 minutes before competition as a central nervous system stimulant. Strychnine is sometimes combined with caffeine or a barbiturate to increase its effect. Power lifters have used nerve gas for the same purpose, Kerr was told.

- Muscle biopsies of East Bloc athletes show the breakdown of explosive and endurance muscle fibers. Hormone therapy and special training can then help develop more explosive fibers. "It sounds like they're beyond man," said Charles Dubin, the judge who heads the inquiry.

- Some European middle- and long-distance runners used nor-epinephrine to increase heart size and output.

- East Bloc coaches administer banned drugs since the medical staff is "too busy thinking about more efficient means of increasing performance possibilities and seeking newer and more explosive combinations," Kerr was told.

- East Bloc countries may have boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics because they didn't have the blocking agents to thwart the new drug-testing method they expected to be in place.