Jamaica’s Status at 2016 Olympics in Jeopardy Over Anti-Doping Woes

WADA president John Fahey, in an interview with London The Telegraph this week, has hinted that Jamaica may be barred from participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, pending the completion of an investigation by his organization.

In a statement, WADA said that it has “expressed its concerns in relation to former JADCO Executive Director Renee Anne Shirley’s comments made on August 20.”

“Since then, WADA has accepted an invitation from the Prime Minister of Jamaica to visit and inspect JADCO. WADA was unhappy to learn that JADCO cannot accommodate this visit until 2014.”

That statement is referencing claims by former JADCO (the Jamaican anti-doping authority) Executive Director Renee Anne Shirley that Jamaica only conducted no out-of-competition doping control in the 5 months leading up to the 2012 Olympics.

Note that WADA doesn’t have the specific authority to rule a country out of the Olympics. Rather, their limitations lie with ruling a signatory “out of compliance” with the World Anti-Doping Code, and then reporting that to the relevant organization (in this case, the International Olympic Committee), who would then have to decide the appropriate course of punishment.

Though the problems with doping in Jamaica have centered around track & field, the repercussions of the overall doping authority’s lack of cooperation could also affect swimmers and other sports.

Many of Jamaica’s elite swimmers, including their lone 2012 Olympian Alia Atkinson, live and train outside of the country. While this could leave them subject to USADA doping controls, no Jamaicans that we could find were tested by the USADA in 2012 or 2013.

Atkinson was the only Jamaican swimmer tested by FINA either in 2012, or reported thus far in 2013. In 2012, that included one out-of-competition test, and one in-competition test at the 2012 World Short Course Swimming Championships. Through June of 2013, FINA also reported one out of competition test of Atkinson, again the only Jamaican swimmer tested by FINA in 2013. None of those tests have been reported by FINA as having any notable findings.

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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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