Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, a gold-medal-winning Olympian with almost superstar status, may lose his Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medal for the 4×100 meter relay due to teammate Nesta Carter’s doping results. In addition to Carter and Bolt, Michael Frater and Asala Powell were the other team members who also stand to lose their medals for their team’s world record time of 37.10 sec.
Doping by Olympic athletes who participated in the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 London Games will cause not only a loss of their medals but also a ban on their participation in the Rio Games next month according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Although individual names had been kept confidential, according to both the Jamaican Gleaner and Reuters, it was the 30-year-old Carter who tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexanamine in a current retest on his B-sample taken in 2008.
Methylhexanamine has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code prohibited list as a stimulant since 2004 and in 2011 was reclassified as “specified substance,” meaning it was no longer under stimulants but was named specifically.
Carter, one of his country’s most successful sprinters, has also won relay gold at the London Games and at three World Championships. He is one of 32 athletes from the Beijing Games to test positive, and the IOC is already retesting all London 2012 samples from athletes who failed their Beijing blood tests. It’s presumed that in addition to the loss of medals, Carter will be banned from participating in the Rio Games.
Already holding six Olympic gold medals, Bolt’s goal for Rio is to win a “triple triple” of 100m, 200m, and 4x100m titles. If he loses this 2008 medal (and perhaps one from the 2012 London relay thanks to Carter), that goal won’t be possible.
Next in line for the 2008 4x100m gold medal would be neighbors Trinidad and Tobago, the silver would go to Japan and the bronze to Brazil. But those medals would not be presented immediately. Their relay teams’ blood samples would need to be reanalyzed before presentation to ensure those teams were free from any banned substances.
With a continued hue and cry about Olympic athletes winning due to doping, the IOC has begun to retest blood samples (now preserved for 10 years instead of prior eight years) from both the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and the 2012 Summer Games in London. The IOC is already notifying the 12 national Olympic committees whose athletes have had positive tests from the Beijing Games.
Part of extended the time to keep samples is to benefit from new scientific tests and equipment that are more sensitive and accurate than those when the samples were taken. It is also intended to scare athletes into foregoing drugs, knowing that they can still be caught, disgraced and have medals and titles taken away years later
Because of time constraints at the actual Olympic Games, not all samples are tested for every drug – experts make informed guesses on which types of athletes are more prone to use certain drugs and then run those tests. And any tests that couldn’t be done on the spot can be completed after the event since the IOC has the right to thaw the urine at any time for a retest. As a result, all Olympic athletes provide urine samples that are divided into “A” and “B” bottles. If a positive result is detected in an A sample, the B sample is used to corroborate it. In all of these current retests, it is the B sample being used to verify an earlier test using the A sample.
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