Retesting of 2008 Beijing Olympics Samples Shows 31 Athletes Positive for Banned Substances
31 athletes from 12 different countries are facing potential bans from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games following a retesting of drug samples taken during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sparked by major crackdowns by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the retesting found that samples which were initially deemed negative have returned as positive.
Further disciplinary action is expected following the retesting of 2012 London Olympic samples.
The International Olympic Committee opened proceedings to determine what actions will be taken against those athletes who tested positive for banned substances; all 31 athletes plan to compete in this year’s Olympics in Rio.
Other drug drama surrounding the 2016 Rio Olympic Games include a controversial doping scandal in Russia, in which dozens of the country’s top athletes were found to be using state-sponsored performance enhancing drugs. Through the assistance of government officials, coaches, and doctors, these athletes were allegedly able to use these illegal substances with being detected during testing. Russian officials deny allegations of their involvement, but Russia’s entire track and field team has been banned from international competitions, including the Olympics.
So how is retesting able to detect traces of substances missed on the initial test?
Through technological advances in the drug testing industry, which the International Olympic Committee is taking full advantage of. An extension of the statute of limitation for retesting in 2015 which pushed that limit to 10 years has also made this retesting process possible, as the 2008 Beijing Olympics samples are now viable until 2018.
This is actually the second retesting of these particular drug samples; just a few months after the conclusion of the 2008 Beijing Olympics 1,000 samples were retested for a blood-boosting drug, resulting in gold medalist Rashid Ramzi being found positive. Other medal winners have also been caught using banned substances due to retesting as well.
What does all of this mean for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games? Well, first, the sterner restrictions will lead to fairer, more honest competition- not only in the Olympics, but in all international sports competitions. Just like Maria Sharapova, athletes risk more than losing their titles when they use performance-enhancing drugs: endorsement deals and product lines also hang in the balance.
Beyond gaining further control over the drug use of the world’s top athletes, the International Olympic Committee is also taking measures to end bribery, illegal betting, and payouts which can occur during the games.
Do you think testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs should result in automatic bans for athletes? Comment below with your opinion!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.