In an official press release on Olympic.org, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that it will re-test selected samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The tests will be done in coordination with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
IOC Medical and Scientific Director Richard Budgett made the goal of the testing quite clear. The samples will be used to identify any athletes that may have gotten away with cheating at previous Olympics. These athletes, should they be taking part in Rio 2016, will then be targeted for extra testing.
There was no discussion of any retroactive punishments being handed out, as there are likely legal barriers to handing out doping penalties so long after the fact. Rather, the strategy is referred to several times a “intelligence” gathering.
The news comes as the swimming and tennis worlds have been rocked by two high profile Russian athletes testing positive for Meldonium. Both Maria Sharapova and Yuliya Efimova were in contention for medals in Rio. The IOC and WADA want to present a strong front against a doping narrative for the Olympics.
The press release also notes that the move comes in a time of transition. The Anti-Doping division of the Court for Arbitration of Sport will be responsible for judging doping allegations from Rio on forward. The article did not elaborate on how this intelligence gathering by the IOC will factor into the newly independent anti-doping body.