16th March 2016

IOC confirms retesting of samples ahead of Rio 2016

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed that it will re-test samples from the last two Olympic Games using new methods that were not available at the time. “The aim of the programme is to prevent athletes who cheated in London or Beijing, and got away with it because we didn’t have as advanced methods of analysis as we do now, from competing in Rio de Janeiro,” IOC Medical and Scientific Director Richard Budgett said during the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Symposium which recently took place in Lausanne. “The results will come in a number of weeks or months. We are trying passionately to protect those clean athletes who are going to Rio 2016. And the best way to do that is to catch the cheats and deter the cheats before we get to Rio de Janeiro. So that’s why we launched this initiative with the task force even before the Olympic Games open.” The retesting of the samples is already underway.

The IOC has also asked WADA to set up a task force which will ‘gather information and intelligence; identify any gaps in pre-Games testing; and coordinate any extra testing that may be needed through the International Federations (IFs), National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADOs) and, if necessary, WADA itself’, it said in a statement. UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) announced yesterday that it would be leading the task force, which will also include the Australian, Danish, Japanese, South African and US NADOs. It will identify athletes or groups of athletes who should be included in registered testing pools, and those who the IOC should test during the four-week period of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

At the symposium, WADA President Sir Craig Reedie acknowledged a proposal suggested at the recent Tackling Doping in Sport conference in London that a percentage of sponsorship and television revenue go towards funding anti-doping. “I have heard ever-more vociferous calls for a slice of the millions of dollars that are paid for sport television revenue to be provided to the anti-doping cause”, he said in his speech. “This is a bold idea, and I put it to the leading sport federations and broadcasters: now is the time to look at this seriously. I also think that major sport sponsors should start to consider how they might help fund clean sport.”

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