Samples from previous Olympic Games to be re-tested for performance-enhancing drugs

Old Olympic Drug Testing ImageAlthough it has been seven years since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the International Olympic Committee has plans to continue screening past competitors and medalists for performance-enhancing drugs. If it finds drugs in the samples that it collected before and during the 2008 Games, the IOC can still strip winners of their medals. The IOC will also be testing samples from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games in London, though those are of a lower priority, as the statute of limitations for drug-testing samples from athletes is 10 years. The reason the IOC has waited so long to re-test the Beijing samples? Drug testing technology continues to improve over time, and newer tests may be able to detect drugs that six- and seven-year-old tests weren’t able to catch. “Who knows what tests are going to be developed over the next two years?” asked IOC Medical Director Richard Budgett. “It makes a lot of sense to wait another couple of years for [testing the samples of] the majority.” Budgett estimates that the number of samples to be re-tested will be “in the hundreds.” Some Olympians that were suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs back in 2008 — but were not caught — have already had their samples re-tested, and may continue to be re-tested until the statute of limitations runs out in 2018. (The statute of limitations was recently extended from eight years to 10, thanks to the World Anti-Doping Code.) Those athletes that are likely to be competing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games may also have their past samples more heavily scrutinized. At least six athletes from the 2008 and 2012 Games have already been stripped of their medals since re-testing began. Samples from previous Olympics have been stored in a Swiss laboratory since 2004. photo credit: BEIJING OLYMPICS via photopin (license)]]>

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