- 8 Oct 08, 02:04 PM
The International Olympic Committee's plan to retest samples from the Beijing Games is proof that it intends to walk the talk on doping.
How times have changed. A couple of decades ago, there remained a sense of embarrassment about doping within the Olympic movement, a feeling that having to test was a necessary evil. Any positives were treated like a red sock in the white wash, something that tarnished the movement's image. In other words, it was best not to draw attention to them.
Not any more. IOC president Jacques Rogge, the medical man, sees doping for what it is: Fraud that threatens sport's credibility.
His view is that it cannot be swept under the carpet, it has to be tackled head on. And going back through all those tests from Beijing looking for third generation EPO abuse certainly sends out the right message.
Senior figures in the anti-doping world are sure this re-testing will throw up a few more names, possibly medallists. And deciding to re-test across all sports says "we suspect no-one and everyone."
Samples can be held for up to eight years and thus re-examined whenever a new test becomes available. It's therefore getting increasingly difficult for cheats to hide, more risky for them to try to dupe the system. That should mean, in turn, fewer people chancing their arm, with sport all the more cleaner as a result.
Rogge's attitude remains that the Olympic movement has to wear the discomfort of cheats trying, and in some cases succeeding, in using the Games to prosper. He just wants to make damn sure it does not do so willingly. We won't have heard the last of this.
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