“The result of this re-analysis program clearly shows that in the fight against doping every available means must be used to protect fairness and athletes,” says ITA Director General Benjamin Cohen. “Sometimes, time is one such tool that allows science and approaches to anti-doping to evolve to the point where new detection methods can be applied to samples taken many years ago. That is why the ITA is committed to smart, comprehensive approaches to clean sport. Cheaters should never feel safe, not now, not tomorrow, not in ten years. We will constantly continue to improve our ability to tackle doping from any possible angle, this is the ITA’s determination and mission. Through this work, the ITA and the IOC are working hand in hand to instil the trust in fair play of athletes who were directly affected by doping competitors and only received recognition of their rightful results years later.”
“This completion of this re-analysis program reiterates the importance of safeguarding the fundamental values of sport and the spirit of fair play,” says Emma Terho, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. “The IOC continuously supports the anti-doping effort and this is an important result of this support. Ensuring the protection of clean athletes is a top priority and on behalf of all clean athletes, I can say we are thankful for this work being done by the IOC and the ITA.” She adds: “If medals have to be reallocated, the Olympic Medal Reallocation principles, which were designed by the IOC Athletes’ Commission and approved by the IOC Executive Board, provide athletes with a menu of options to receive their medals in a way that recognises their achievements. The years of hard work that athletes have put in to reach the top of their sport are recognised properly through these principles, and offer athletes a chance to receive reallocated medals in a way that feels right to them.”
Enabled by a dedicated IOC fund of up to USD 5 million, the IOC has expanded the scope of re-analysis endeavours in the future even further. The ITA has rolled out a large-scale sample long-term storage and re-analysis program in 2020. It has established a Centralised Long-Term Storage Facility (CLTSF) and the necessary logistical strategies to not only store samples collected during the Olympic Games, but also those collected throughout the important phase during the months leading to the event under the authority of all anti-doping organisations involved in pre-Games testing.
The IOC fund is aimed at further strengthening the fight against doping in the long term. This extended long-term storage strategy has already been applied to samples collected ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and will be continued for future editions of the Games.
Next, the ITA will finalise the re-analysis program for the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. This has already been partially started by the IOC’s re-analysis of all samples from Russian athletes prior to ITA’s establishment. The re-analysis of samples collected during the Rio 2016 Games will begin at a later point in time in order to make sure any new scientific or analytical methods can be applied. The current statute of limitations for sample re-analysis is ten years according to the World Anti-Doping Code.
Download the ITA London 2012 sample re-analysis report here