31 Athletes Caught in Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Re-Testing

31 athletes have tested positive upon a reanalysis of samples from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The review, initiated after the found hundreds of new positive tests in a re-analysis of results from the 2006 Winter Olympics, was designed to apply new testing techniques to test for substances and methods that were undetectable in 2008, but have now become detectable.

The IOC has not released any specific athlete names, countries, or sports, but have summarized the results:

  • 31 athletes
  • 6 sports
  • 12 National Olympic Committees

The Executive Board of the IOC agreed anonymously on Tuesday to initiate proceedings immediately, with the 12 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) being notified this week. Those who are found to have infringed upon anti-doping rules as a result of the re-testing will be banned from competing at the 2016 Olympic Games, according to the IOC.

As a result of the findings, the IOC will expand their re-testing of Beijing samples to include a larger sampling of medalists, as well as expand to test medalists from the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Other action taken by the IOC, as outlined by their press release:

Meeting Tuesday, the EB of the IOC has requested WADA to initiate a fully fledged investigation into allegations that testing at the Sochi Laboratory was subverted. The IOC for its part will instruct the Lausanne Anti-Doping Laboratory, where the Sochi samples are stored for ten years, to proceed in cooperation with WADA with their analysis in the most sophisticated and efficient way possible. Also, the IOC has already requested the Russian Olympic Committee to undertake all efforts to ensure the full cooperation of the Russian side in the WADA investigation. The IOC has put its Medical and Scientific Director, who himself is an Olympic Champion, at the disposal of the WADA investigation. Based on the result of this investigation the IOC will take swift action.

“All these measures are a powerful strike against the cheats we do not allow to win. They show once again that dopers have no place to hide. The re-tests from Beijing and London and the measures we are taking following the worrying allegations against the Laboratory in Sochi are another major step to protect the clean athletes irrespective of any sport or any nation. We keep samples for ten years so that the cheats know that they can never rest,” said the IOC President, an Olympic Gold Medalist in Fencing himself. “By stopping so many doped athletes from participating in Rio we are showing once more our determination to protect the integrity of the Olympic competitions, including the Rio anti-doping laboratory, so that the Olympic magic can unfold in Rio de Janeiro.”

Further IOC actions:

• The IOC is funding the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to carry out intelligence-gathering to make testing in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as efficient and independent as possible. Out-of-competition testing during the Olympic Games will also be guided by this intelligence group from WADA, to make it more targeted and more effective.

• In March of this year, the International Olympic Committee decided to make sanctions at the Olympic Games independent from the IOC. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will handle cases from the Olympic Games Rio 2016 onwards. The CAS Anti-Doping Division will replace the IOC Disciplinary Commission to hear and decide on doping cases at the Olympic Games, as well as the subsequent re-analysis of samples taken at the Games.

• At the fourth Olympic Summit in October 2015, the Olympic Movement asked the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to propose a solution to make to make all anti-doping testing independent from sports organisations, to avoid any perceived conflict of interest. A working group consisting of representatives of ASOIF, AWOIF, WADA and the IOC was set up to study the feasibility and terms of reference of the proposal of independent testing.

• The IOC set up a twenty million US dollar fund to protect the clean athletes. Ten million US dollars is being used to develop a robust education and awareness programme on the risk of match fixing and any kind of manipulation of competition and related corruption. A further ten million is being used to support projects offering a new scientific approach to anti-doping. Through its Medical and Scientific Commission, the IOC called on researchers to apply for support and funding of athlete-centred projects, involving both science and social research. Committing 10 million US dollars to fund research pertaining to anti-doping for the protection of athletes, the strategy of this fund is to complement, but not duplicate, existing anti-doping research programmes. 12 grants have already been disbursed to support a range of research projects around the world.


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so- no word regarding swimming specifically, or the USA specifically?

Steve Nolan

Ya know, it’d be way easier if they didn’t test athletes at all. Use whatever you want.

I’m rarely serious around heres, but I totally am on this. The current system is garbage and arbitrary and doesn’t work.


Some doping rules are probably arbitrary but on the other hand many performance enhancing substances are very harmful long term. Heck at the 1904 olympics a marathon runner was given a strychnine injection as a performance enhancer. Athletes should not have to choose between gold medals and dying at 50 due to kidney failure or heart disease.

Eddie Rowe

Why shouldn’t they “have to choose?” Making choices is life. That particular choice should be an easy one irrespective of the legal outcomes. If you’re dumb enough to risk your health for something at material as a gold medal, you deserve the health consequences that come from it.


Sports are meant to encourage health and wellness. If athletes have to choose between a gold medal and their health, sports are no longer promoting that. Having gold medal winners who win by default because they are the only ones willing to risk their bodies would not create great role models for our young people and destroy sports as we know it. I agree that the current system is flawed, but it’s better than no system.

Steve Nolan

Eh, plenty of sports aren’t exactly healthy for you. (Looking at you, football.)

Coach Mike 1952

Follow the money…..

tru chainz

Dude, no disrespect, but summer league and intramurals are about health and wellness. At any meaningful level, sports are about winning. Period. The people that win Olympic gold are willing to die for it, because thats what it takes. That’s also what creates incredible, timeless performances that we all revere. But those people are competitors, and very little else.


I completely reject this. It’s like saying do whatever you want in business if it makes you money. People will always find a way to cheat, just like people will always skirt the law in business, if they can get away with it. But, it’s insanity to promote and legalize such behavior.

Steve Nolan

Solid point. But there’re plenty of things we allow ourselves that are harmful, and proper research of the effects of currently banned substances could greatly mitigate this risk.


The other reason to ban substances is to insure a level playing field. If half the athletes are taking something that the other half doesnt know about then you can easily see that its not fair. It doesnt matter if the substance is a proven performance enhancer. You need to keep the playing field as level as possible. This goes to my point that failing to disclose the use of meldonium is a bigger infraction then the actual use of the drug. This is an example of athletes trying to gain an unfair advantage against their competitors.

Steve Nolan

The playing field isn’t level as it is. (And, as seen in Russia, some countries can tilt the field even when things are banned.)

And meldonium is the biggest reason why the whole system is foolish. “This thing is now banned. Stop using it now.”


So whst happened to him? It may be on the spectrum that of subdtances that van be positive /negative depending on the dose.

Thousands of athletes will be ompeting after botox injections ..

Coach Mike 1952

The long-term effects of steroid & other PE substances use are still being explored. One striking case from 24 years ago involved a long-time steroid user – Lyle Alzado, American football player, who died of brain cancer which he believed was the result of his steroid “addiction” if we can call it that. This NY times article sums up the story well. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/15/sports/lyle-alzado-43-fierce-lineman-who-turned-steroid-foe-is-dead.html Am certain there must be other stories too. Wonder about the E German women or the Chinese women & what their own health is like now years & decades later.


There would still be demand for leagues/federations that ban doping because many athletes don’t want to have to use those substances in order to compete. Competitive power lifting has federations that don’t test and the athletes that are competitive in those federations pretty much all use steroids. Federations that do test are still quite popular with the many athletes want to stay clean.


Yours is an argument that comes up occasionally, and it usually doesn’t hold up to logical review. I get it: the current system has more holes than swiss cheese – but that is not a reason to give up trying. Just like the athletes we love to watch and hold in high regard, the system needs to keep getting better.

Steve Nolan

It’s a combination of the system not doing what it claims to do as well as just not needing the system at all. I don’t think these “performance enhancers” are anything to be especially worried about.


I totally see your point here about how this might level the playing field, but I disagree for one reason: not everyone can afford them. Remove testing from the equation and athletic events will become a contest of who can afford more enhancers. As such, nations without much money will continue to be at a huge disadvantage. Along with the better training facilities, coaches, and analysis that rich countries can afford, we (countries like the US) would also have more/better drugs. Rather than leveling the playing field, I think it would skew things even more. As far as health effects, I’m almost totally indifferent. If an adult athlete wants to do it, let them, it’s their body. The only concern… Read more »


I really like this, hope they continue and expand on this. Better to catch cheaters late than never.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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