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  • Aug 1, 2014
  • Updated: 8:37am
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OLYMPICS

IOC to re-test samples from Turin Winter Olympics

Using the latest technology, the Olympic body takes a fresh look for drug cheats before Sochi

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 March, 2013, 6:05am

The International Olympic Committee is to re-test doping samples given at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin before the next Games in Sochi, Russia, subjecting them to the latest methods of detection.

The IOC has kept every sample given by top athletes since the 2004 Games in Athens in a huge freezer at its anti-doping laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, in the hope that previously undetected doping can be exposed.

"I think it is one of the strongest deterrents that the IOC has," IOC medical and scientific director Richard Budgett said.

"All international federations know that the IOC is one of the very few bodies that keeps and freezes samples for the maximum time allowed, that is eight years.

All international federations know that the IOC is one of the very few bodies that keeps and freezes samples for the maximum time allowed, that is eight years

"We are going naturally to do some re-analysis on the samples from Torino and hopefully benefit from the fact that science has progressed a lot in the past eight years."

Budgett, a gold medal-winning rower for Britain at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, said tests were now more sensitive and could detect substances such as human growth hormone.

"I would be surprised if we didn't have any adverse analytical finding," he said . "So I expect us to find some positive tests but you just don't know. We have to wait and see."

Previous analysis of such samples have led to revision of seven podium places.

Months after the end of the Beijing Games in 2008, re-testing caught two medallists - the 1,500m champion Rashid Ramzi from Bahrain and Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin, who had won silver in the men's road race.

It also identified three other athletes whose blood levels indicated traces of the erythropoietin Cera, which at the time had just come on to the market and a test for which was only finalised during the Games.

The IOC heard that athletes may have been able to use the drug before it was commercialised and re-tested a handful of samples from the Turin Games in 2006, but nothing was found.

Fresh tests were also conducted on samples from the Athens Games in 2004 shortly before the eight-year time limit expired last year and led to the disqualification of five medallists - the majority of them eastern Europeans in athletics field events.

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