The objective is to complete the Sochi re-analysis program, including the handling of the resulting cases, before the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Following the successful re-analysis programs for previous editions of the Games and the resulting discovery of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) on the basis of progressed technology and analysis methods, the ITA will now begin an extensive further probing of samples collected during the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. Since the IOC delegated to the ITA the independent management of its entire anti-doping program in 2018, the ITA has also taken on the responsibility for all current and future re-analysis programs. The further analysis of samples collected during Beijing 2008 and London 2012 has so far produced more than 130 Anti-Doping Rule Violations, which clearly highlights the effectiveness of such a program in the detection and deterrence of cheating.
After serious issues of manipulation of the doping control process came to light following the Sochi Games, the IOC already re-examined hundreds of samples from participating Russian athletes in 2016. The ITA will now extend the re-analysis program to all nationalities and sports that took part in the event and re-test more than half of the total samples collected as a first step. The selection of the samples to be further analysed is based on a comprehensive risk assessment, which among many other factors also considers doping-related intelligence gathered across countries and disciplines since the Sochi Games took place.
The ITA is confident that this consolidation and centralisation of anti-doping intelligence across various sports, coupled with the increased sensitivity of analytical techniques in doping detection that have emerged over the last few years, especially regarding the tracing of steroids and hormones, will enable it to identify undetected analytical ADRVs that may have occurred at Sochi 2014.
In collaboration with the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, the selected samples are to be examined until mid-2021. Any resulting ADRVs will be investigated and prosecuted by the ITA.
Re-analysis programs are enabled by the consequent Long-Term Storage (LTS) of the collected samples that emerged as one of the most impactful strategies to protect clean athletes and deter doping over the past decade. Today, under the World Anti-Doping Code, samples can now be stored for up to 10 years after their initial analysis and still retain the same legal impact if re-tested and prosecuted.
The establishment of the ITA as an independent organisation leading clean sport programs without any actual or perceived conflicts of interest is the answer to calls for an international neutral and apolitical anti-doping agency implementing testing activities globally in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. Now grown from an idea to a substantial organisation that manages anti-doping programmes for over 45 International Federations and Major Event Organisers, the ITA is being deployed where its necessity originally arose.