Yesterday the Olympic Board of the Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that four medalists of the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens have been disqualified after their urine samples failed a recent test.
How can this happen? Apparently the IOC keeps and stores the urine samples for eight years and can retest when new, more sophisticated testing methods arise. The other reason they can disqualify someone for up to eight years after an Olympics is when new substances become banned.
This does not seem fair, but it is how they operate. If the Olympians were given a list of banned substances and they did not use any of those substances, to then change the rules after the fact seems wrong. The athletes had no way of knowing the rules would change, and they were following the rules set for the Olympics they were involved in.
This may really put a damper on the Olympics and may sway some young athletes to choose something else to do if they see that it is common practice to change the rules after the fact. How secure is their win?
This is not meant to advocate drug use. However, rules are rules and the rules of any given Olympics should not change after the fact. In this case, the methods for testing had become more sophisticated and intelligence led officials to retest certain samples.
The Olympians retested and found guilty are:
- Yuriy Bilonog (1st, men’s shot put; Ukraine), (oxandrolone metabolite)
- Svetlana Krivelyova (3rd, women’s shot put; Russia), (oxandrolone metabolite)
- Ivan Tsikhan (2nd, men’s hammer throw; Belarus), (methandienone metabolite)
- Iryna Yatchenko (3rd, women’s discus throw; Belarus), (methandienone metabolite)
As a result of this testing, at least one American, Adam Nelson, who won silver for shot put may be awarded Gold. This has to be a bittersweet moment for him, since his nation’s anthem was not played in 2004 and the initial excitement over the Athens games has passed. For him and his family it will always be a proud moment when he won. We are proud of our athletes who do not use drugs and knock-em-dead at the Olympics. A big congratulations is in order for Adam Nelson.
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