More Olympic Athletes Could Face Ban Over Doping

The International Olympic Committee has announced 23 athletes from five sports and six countries had positive findings in retests with improved techniques on 265 samples from the London Games.

Thomas Bach

The IOC did not identify the athletes, their nationalities, or their sports. The IOC still has to retest the athletes' "B'' samples as formal positive cases are not declared until the "B'' samples confirm the original findings.

It said the reanalysis program is ongoing, with the possibility of more results in the coming weeks. The IOC remarked the 23 London athletes are in addition to the 31 who tested positive in retesting from the Beijing Olympics. It also remarked another sample from Beijing has since shown "abnormal parameters" and the case is being followed up.

Up to 55 athletes from the past two Summer Olympics could be retroactively disqualified and have their results, and any medals, stripped. The current retesting program targeted athletes who could possibly be eligible to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August. The International Olympic Committee said the athletes, their national Olympic committees and their international sports federations were being informed ahead of formal disciplinary proceedings. The Olympics body said all athletes found to have infringed the anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Olympic Games and added the retests were carried out using the very latest scientific analysis methods.

IOC President Thomas Bach said these re-analyses show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping and added we want to keep the dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and this is why we are acting swiftly now. The IOC chief said a disciplinary commission has been appointed by him that "has the full power" to sanction athletes. The IOC president stressed to suspend an entire national athletics team would, in one sense, subject clean athletes to collective responsibility. Bach added we in another sense carry heavy responsibility for the games and intend to defend Olympic values and added we are faced with a dilemma and also said there will be criticism whatever we do.

The International Olympic Committee stores samples taken from athletes for a period of ten years to allow for re-testing with newer methods or to look for new drugs.

WADA's Independent Commission issued a report in November 2015 and accused Russia of numerous breaches of global anti-doping regulations. The international governing body of athletics temporarily suspended the Russian Athletic Federation's membership. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko dismissed all accusations as "absurd" and stressed Moscow had already embraced all recommendations that were made by international sports organizations and ensured proper doping control.

Recently, the Russian Olympic Committee confirmed that 14 of the original 31 positives after retesting of 454 samples from Beijing involved Russian athletes. Russia was plunged into a serious doping scandal after a series of allegations by "60 Minutes," The New York Times, and others. It was claimed by them that a huge and seemingly state-sponsored effort was made to provide athletes with banned drugs and hide it from testing. The country has pledged to ban all athletes with a doping past from its Olympic squad.

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