The former head of RUSADA, Russia’s national anti-doping agency, says that the retested samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics could still prove to be clean and the suspected athletes cleared of any doping charges.
News broke earlier this month that 31 athletes over 6 different sports and 12 national Olympic committees tested positive in a retest of samples from the Beijing Olympics. The International Olympic Committee is allowed to keep frozen urine samples from previous Olympic Games for a set amount of time, retesting those samples as new testing methods evolve to detect substances that would have been undetectable at the time of the games.
The names and nationalities of the athletes have not yet been released, but Russia’s state-run news agency TASS reported today that 14 of the 31 are Russian athletes, per a source inside the Russian Olympic Committee.
Nikolay Durmanov, formerly the head of RUSADA, told TASS this week that the samples could still prove negative upon further inspection. A rough translation of his quote from Russian to English:
“We need to wait for a full investigation of the samples. It may well be that they ultimately do not prove positive. Specifically in the case of Chicherova and those athletes who perhaps came under suspicion, it is necessary to wait for the official papers. Often this kind of retrospective analysis gives a “gray” result, which on closer inspection turns out to be non-positive. “
Durmanov refers to 2008 Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova, who is one of the highest-profile athletes reported to be among the 31 suspected of doping infractions.
TASS reports that the B samples of all 31 suspected athletes will be tested next month in an Australian anti-doping lab.
The Russian swimming federation has said it won’t respond to media requests, but will post on its website when it has more information.