23 London Olympians test positive for banned substances
Tests concern athletes from six countries across five sports
The participation of 23 athletes in the Rio Olympics could be under threat, after doping samples gathered from London 2012 tested positive for banned substances.
A statement released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) didn’t reveal the athletes’ names or nationalities, but said five sports and six countries were involved.
Rio 2016 Olympics: What Brazil is worrying about with 100 days to go
The revelation comes just 10 days after 31 athletes from the 2008 Beijing Games also tested positive for banned substances.
“These reanalyses show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.
“We want to keep the dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This is why we are acting swiftly now.
Opinion: Why sports should allow doping
“I have already appointed a disciplinary commission, which has the full power to take all the decisions on behalf of the IOC.”
A total of 265 doping samples from London 2012 were retested, while one further sample from Beijing shows “abnormal parameters.”
Friday’s revelations – “all based on intelligence-gathering that began in August 2015,” the IOC said – only serve to darken the cloud of controversy lingering over the Olympic movement.
Russia’s track and field athletes are currently banned from international competition, a sanction which could prevent their participation in Rio 2016.
The Games begin on August 5.
“The reanalysis program is ongoing, with the possibility of more results in the coming weeks,” the IOC statement continued.
“They are part of the IOC’s efforts to protect the clean athletes by keeping dopers away from the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and protecting the integrity of the competition.”
Further, the IOC says retesting of the 454 Beijing samples and 265 London samples was carried out using the very latest scientific analysis methods.
“The athletes, National Olympic Committees and International Federations concerned are already being informed, after which the proceedings against the athletes can begin,” the IOC added.
Will the Olympics go on? Three major concerns in Rio, addressed
“All athletes found to have infringed the anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.”
The UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) said it welcomed the news from the IOC.
“Retrospective analysis allows us to pursue those who cheat clean athletes, long after the competition has ended,” UKAD Director of Operations Pat Myhill said.
“It sends a clear message to those who dope – if you chose to make that choice, and think that you’ve got away with it, think again. We can, and will, catch you.”
Tickets to the 2016 Olympics aren’t selling, and Brazil is scrambling to boost demand
“Doping has a huge impact on the clean athletes - it takes away once in a lifetime opportunities,” he added. “We can never replace those memories, but we can do our best to ensure that individuals who choose to steal those moments are caught and punished accordingly, and that clean athletes are rightly awarded the titles they train so hard to achieve.”
Meanwhile, Kipchoge Keino, former Olympic athlete and President of National Olympic Committee of Kenya, said any athletes who were found to have used banned substances should be stripped of any medals they had won.
“I blame the people doing testing, those things should have been out earlier,” he said. “Now when they are out at this moment, things should be discussed the medal should go.
“We don’t want people who are cheating – we need to get rid of those people.”