While some watch the medal count, we keep a close eye on Olympic doping stories! In today’s EBI Screening News Update you’ll find out how drug use – both old and new – is affecting the Tokyo Games.
It seems history does repeat itself, at least when it comes to Russian athletes doping and getting kicked out of the Olympics. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is reporting that several Russian competitors are now banned from competing in Tokyo because they are suspected of using strength-enhancing drugs.
But here is where it gets a little strange. These athletes were not banned due to recent drug testing. They are not being allowed to compete this year because of evidence pulled from a Moscow testing laboratory that was shut down back in 2015. It took four years for the lab to turn over its database and samples to the WADA. The agency said it found “a handful” of athletes in that database who were still competing and could qualify for the Tokyo Games. They are the ones now banned outright.
Even though 335 Russian athletes are being allowed to compete, the nation is still under sanctions for years of sponsored doping. That means the athletes will not see their flag or hear their national anthem. Instead of competing for their country, they are competing for the third time as the Russian Olympic Committee, or ROC.
Japanese officials say they are trying to keep this year’s Olympics as clean as possible. While the WADA says regular testing of athletes fell 45% during COVID lockdowns, testing has been ramping up over the last six months.
Unfortunately, the testing is not even across the board. Many U.S. athletes report they have been tested dozens of times through the pandemic, but some say they doubt athletes from other countries have faced the same scrutiny.
American swimmer Lilly King told reporters she absolutely believes there will be cheaters competing in Tokyo.
An Australian equestrian had his Olympic dreams dashed by a recent drug test.
Showjumper Jamie Kermond took a drug test in June, and it came back positive for cocaine. He was given a provisional suspension while a second sample was tested. That came back positive as well, so Kermond is officially out.
Even though Kermond was booted, the other two showjumpers on the Australian team will be allowed to continue to compete as individuals.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.