Sports Doping Scandal Could Strip Athletes of 146 Olympic and World Championships Medals

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Australian doping experts analyzed 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes and found “suspicious” results. The blood tests, leaked from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), show that 146 (approximately 30%) of Olympic and World Championships medals won between 2001 and 2012 in endurance sports, including 55 gold medals, were won by athletes with abnormal blood test results.

The 2012 London Olympics awarded 10 medals to potentially doped athletes, in some events all three medals went to athletes with suspicious blood test results.

One in four winners of major city marathons “should have faced censure or at least been investigated over evidence of potential blood doping,” according to a report by the Sunday Times, that received the leaked tests from a whistleblower. The winning athletes with questionable blood test results collected more than $6 million dollars collectively in prize money from marathons.

Some accuse the IAAF, the organization responsible for blood testing, of allowing doping to infiltrate the sport. Robin Parisotto, one of the scientists who analyzed the blood samples, stated, “So many athletes seem to have doped with impunity, and it is damning that the IAAF appears to have idly sat by and let this happen.”

Lamine Diak, IAAF President, defended his organization from any cover-up of doping; and suggested the allegations were timed to overshadow the World Championships and sway the Aug. 19, 2015 IAAF presidential election. He stated, “When people say that there are medals to be redistributed from 2001 to 2012, it’s just a farce.”

Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, stated “If there should be cases involving results at Olympic Games, the IOC will react with zero tolerance with our usual policy.”

Clive Cookson, Financial Times Sports Editor, argued against the zero-tolerance policy: “Without suggesting a pharmaceutical free-for-all, we can surely take a more relaxed approach to doping. Let us enjoy the coming year of sport and its Olympic climax without being distracted by moral outrage about cheating. I look forward to thrilling contests between the best natural athletes, enhanced by training — and science.”

Sources:

Associated Press, “IOC Ready to Act If Olympic Medals Affected by Doping,” www.dailyherald.com, Aug. 3, 2015

BBC, “Doping Allegations Sensationalist and Confusing – IAAF,” www.bbc.com, Aug. 4, 2015

BBC, “London Marathon: Doping Files Suggest Results Are in Question,” www.bbc.com, Aug. 9, 2015

BBC, “World Anti-Doping Agency to Investigate Athletics Doping Claims,” www.bbc.com, Aug. 7, 2015

Clive Cookson, “Moral Outrage over Doping in Sport Is Misplaced,” www.ft.com, Aug. 9, 2015

Piers Edwards, “Athletics at ‘War’ with Media over IAAF Drug-Test Allegations,” edition.cnn.com, Aug. 5, 2015

International Association of Athletics Federations, “Statement: IAAF Strongly Rejects Anti-Doping Allegations,” www.iaaf.org, Aug. 4, 2015

Tom Peck, “Doping Crisis: Allegations Are a Joke, Insists Athletics Chief Lamine Diack,” www.independent.co.uk, Aug. 3, 2015

Stephen Wilson, “Coe to AP: Track and Field Faces ‘Declaration of War,'” hosted.ap.com, Aug. 4, 2015