WADA and IOC to retest blood samples from 2008 and 2012 Olympics
Testing will focus on athletes who are likely to compete in Rio 2016
Specialist task force to gather intelligence and advise on testing in Rio
Any drug cheats from the previous two Olympics will be looking nervously over their shoulders.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have announced they are to retest samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games.
Targeting particular nations and athletes who are set to compete in Rio 2016, it is hoped new technology will uncover any questionable results and prevent those under suspicion from taking part.
“The aim 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,” the IOC’s medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said in a statement.
“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.”
Athletics has been under the microscope since an explosive report by former WADA chief Dick Pound uncovered a program of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
The report suggested the London 2012 Olympics – in which Russia won 24 gold medals and finished fourth – were “in a sense, sabotaged by the admission of athletes who should have not been competing.”
It has been banned from competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and its participation in Rio is in doubt.
IAAF president, Seb Coe, told CNN in January there was no time scale for Russia’s return to competition. He admitted these were “dark days” for the sport.
The IOC also announced a WADA-run task force would be established to gather intelligence and target testing toward areas of concern throughout the games.
“The specialist task force will advise the IOC and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee who they should be testing, both in and out of competition,” the statement read.
“This intelligence will be used to refine the testing plan day by day during the period of the Games to produce the most effective and efficient testing programme possible.”
WADA president Craig Reedie also called on broadcasters and sponsors to do their bit in the battle against doping during a speech in Switzerland.
There have been calls for the organization to widen its investigations to several other countries after the revelations about Russia.
“If full-blown investigations are to become the norm, then we must of course seriously explore greater funding,” he told reporters.
“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.
“This is a bold idea. 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.”