IOC says 31 athletes could miss Rio after positive Beijing drugs re-tests

Tue May 17, 2016 10:48am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Thirty one athletes from six sports could be banned from this year's Rio Olympics after failing dope tests when 454 samples were reexamined from the 2008 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

The IOC also said it would start re-testing Sochi 2014 winter Games samples after allegations of tarnished samples were made last week by Russia's former top anti-doping scientist. Some 250 samples from the London Games will also be reexamined.

In an effort to crack down on cheats during the Olympics, the IOC said this was targeted re-testing on athletes likely to be at the Rio Games starting on Aug. 5, and those found to have tested positive would not compete.

An IOC official told Reuters no names would be made public at this stage until athletes had been informed and a second sample, or B-sample, tested as well.

"The aim is to stop any drugs cheats coming to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," the IOC said. "The (IOC) Executive Board agreed unanimously to initiate proceedings immediately, with the 12 National Olympic Committees concerned informed in the coming days."

The re-tests, a regular procedure by the IOC as it looks to use newer methods or look for new substances, were carried out in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and international federations.

The IOC said it had also called on WADA to launch a "fully fledged investigation" into allegations that testing during the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics by the on-site accredited laboratory had been subverted.

The former head of Russia's anti-doping agency Grigory Rodchenkov said last week that the Sochi lab had tampered with samples.   Continued...

File photo of test tubes at the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analysis in Epalinges near Lausanne July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud