IOC finds hundreds of new positive drug tests in Turin retest, will likely look at Beijing samples again

The International Olympic Committee has begun retesting frozen urine samples from the 2006 Turin Olympics using an improved steroid testing method – and has come up with hundreds of new positive tests, according to a report by German television station ARD.

Speaking to the Associated Press, IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist confirmed that the IOC is retesting the Turin games using a new procedure, although he couldn’t verify the “hundreds” figure. The IOC should have official results of all the testing by the end of 2013.

Ljungqvist did appear on the German television report Monday night, saying that the test results would likely lead to the IOC retesting stored urine samples from the 2008 Beijing games as well.

The new testing method is called “long-term metabolites testing,” and it allows testers to catch steroids taken more than six months prior to the test, as opposed to the previous testing method, which had a much shorter window for detection.

The banned substances that reportedly turned up in the recent tests were Oral-Turinabol, made famous as a staple of the state-run East German doping program of the 70s and 80s, and stanozolol, which has led to multiple high-profile cases including the stripping of a gold medal from Canadian runner Ben Johnson in 1988.

Oral-Turinabol made headlines in the swimming community this year when Russian Nikita Maksimov was suspended for two years after testing positive for the drug back in March.

A handful of swimmers have received bans and suspensions over the past few years for stanozolol, including two this year. Bulgarian Alexander Nikolov was suspended for 2 years in March, and Estonia’s Anita Stepanenko received a 1-year ban after a hearing this summer determined that her coach had put stanozolol in her drink without her knowledge. The coach, Nikolai Borzov, received a lifetime ban.

FINA also lists several more bans for stanozolol, including Brazilian Diego Candida Prado in 2012 and India’s Surya Prasad Sharma, whose ban just ended this month.

The IOC holds on to urine samples for 8 years, meaning it can still test the athletes of the 2008 Beijing games when new testing methods are discovered. The Athens and Beijing games have each been retested once.

But if the IOC did indeed find hundreds of new positive tests, the results would be unprecedented for retroactive drug testing – for reference, previous retests of Athens and Beijing athletes have produced a combined 10 new failed tests.

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Steve Nolan

The surprising thing would be if they didn’t catch a ton more people.

There’s too much money involved for these guys not to be using anything and everything they can find. (And I don’t blame ’em, all that stuff should be legal IMO.)


you legalize everything and you create a world where you have no choice but to take PED’s to reach the top. (though we’re not too far away from that now.) this would trickle down to even high school levels and lead to people abusing all sorts of drugs. read about cyclists and EPO abuse in the 90’s. you had riders dying in their sleep because their blood was becoming too thick. I can’t see how someone can morally be okay with letting athletes push the boundaries like this.


I’m afraid this is already pretty much the case…


Steve –

There are numerous issues with this, not the least of which is that you create an environment where the person with the best drugs wins, not necessarily the best person.


@testudo Honestly I think we’re already headed in that direction with athletes taking numerous vitamin supplements daily.


Good. Drug testing is such a joke in it’s current form.


Lets run two “Olympics” then, Steve. One for clean athletes and one for you, your coach and your chemist. I’m sure Spike TV will buy the rights.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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