Committee cracks down on Olympian doping

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2015, file photo,pPeople walk in front of the Russian Olympic Committee building in Moscow. Leaders of the world anti-doping movement called for Russian track athletes to be banned from next year's Olympics, saying Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, that the nine-month window between now and the games isn't enough to ensure the program and its athletes are clean. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — The Olympic Games are just four months away and right now a committee is working to make sure dopers get busted.

The World Anti-Doping Agency task force is sifting through old drug tests from the games in London and Beijing. The goal it to make sure any athletes who got away with doping in previous games will be flagged for certain tests this summer in Rio De Janeiro.

The International Olympic Committee Medical Director, Dr. Richard Budgett told the Associated Press, hundreds of selected samples from the Beijing and London Olympics are being reanalyzed before Rio. The IOC stores samples for 10 years so they can be retested when improved techniques become available.

Brooke Bennett, three time gold medalist and Tampa native, remembers how often she used to get drug tested.

“Do you know how many times someone would come to my door on a Saturday for me to pee in a cup?” Bennett asked. “But that’s how they should do it. Don’t only worry about the Olympics. You know you’ll be tested then. Show up randomly to practice when we don’t expect it.”

She even remembers time in 1998 when she got the silver and the gold winner got “popped for a positive test” less than a year later.

“We as athletes pursue something to an extreme level,” Bennett said. “We become role models whether we like it or not.”

The 2016 list has eight pages of banned substances.

Julie Knight, a Pharmacotherapy Specialist-Pain Management and Palliative Care at Tampa General Hospital, believes as technology and testing get better more drugs are added.

“Some of the substances might be surprising to people others would not,” Knight said. “Opioids wouldn’t surprise people but things we use for respiratory decongestant are included that might be surprising to some folks.”

Pseudoephedrine, most of us know it as Sudafed, is on the list but only as a high concentration in the urine.

Russia is already in trouble. The country is banned from the Olympics and all international track and field competitions after questions of state-sponsored doping. The country is working to get that lifted before August.

As for Bennett, “If more positive tests are coming about I don’t think more people are doping, I think our organization is doing a better job at testing.”


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