Drug Testing Army

(LONDON, ENGLAND) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is responsible for the testing programme executed during the period of the Games, which end on 12 August, with the local organisers implementing all practical methods of collecting and sealing samples in compliance with the international standards. Some 5,000 tests (3,800 urine and 1,200 blood) will be carried out in total, a record for an Olympic Games. Almost every second athlete will be tested, including every medallist. In addition, random and unannounced tests based on intelligence will be conducted during the period of the Games. As of today, 1,461 tests have been conducted.

Testing of the samples is taking place at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratory, located on the premises of the GlaxoSmithKline facilities in Harlow, using state-of-the-art technologies. The facilities are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A team of more than 150 anti-doping scientists from several countries are carrying out the testing, led by Professor David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London.

Quantity, quality both on the rise

“We have been stepping up our fight against doping at each edition of the Olympic Games,” said IOC Medical Commission Chairman Arne Ljungqvist. “We conducted about 4,000 tests in Beijing and 5,000 here in London. But the numbers aren’t as important as the quality. And the quality has improved significantly thanks to intelligence and information, which has helped us test based more on solid information rather than simply testing at random.”

The IOC has announced one doping case and one provisional suspension so far during London 2012. Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku tested positive on 23 July for stanozolol. Uzbek artistic gymnast Luiza Galiulina provided a urine sample on 25 July that tested positive for the prohibited substance furosemide.

Zero tolerance

The fight against doping is a top priority for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has established a zero-tolerance policy to combat cheating and to punish anyone responsible for using or providing doping products.

The IOC works closely with a variety of partners in the Olympic Movement, including WADA, National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and International Federations (IFs), in addition to the local authorities in Olympic host countries. To that end, the IOC asks that IFs and NOCs intensify their testing and other anti-doping efforts in the build-up to the Games. This strategy proved to be very effective prior to the Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010 Games, leading to a drop in doping cases at both editions compared to earlier Games.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
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