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489 Olympic Doping Test Samples Retested

489 Olympic Doping Test Samples Retested

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today released information that they retested 489 dope test samples taken during the 2006 winter Olympics which were held in Turin, northern Italy.

The IOC didn’t go as far as to say if any of the samples returned a positive result but said that any findings would be released ‘in due course.’

New and improved detection methods for banned substances are continually improved year on year. One such test is implemented for steroids. Analysis of samples can now detect steroid use going back months, rather than days. In a statement, the IOC added, “The re-analysis program included the application of new and improved methods of detection since 2006.”

Retrospective testing of samples is an effective deterrent in the fight against doping in sport. Positive results can lead to sanctions for athletes and the nullification of results and returning of medals. Samples have previously been retested from the 2004 Athens Olympics and as a result five athletes returned positive results. In a similar exercise, another five athletes were positive for CERA found in samples after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Some argue the statute of limitations (SOL) does little to help the punishment of athletes caught years after they actually committed the doping offence. The SOL was previously 8 years but this has now increased to 10 years under the new WADA code, providing additional optimism for anti-doping.

Some feel that athletes have ‘gotten away with cheating’ if they are caught doping via retrospective testing many years after they committed the offence. That said, this may be partially true but the reputation they built as an athlete during their career is completely eradicated.