A Ton Of Rio Drug Tests Were Skipped Because The Lab Couldn't Find Athletes

​By the Associated Press​​

​MONTREAL (AP) -- The World Anti-Doping Agency has detailed serious failings of doping control management at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, saying the system was only saved from collapsing by the "enormous resourcefulness and goodwill" of some key staff.

In a 55-page report from its independent observer team led by British lawyer Jonathan Taylor, WADA said the logistical issues which put a strain on the testing process were "foreseeable and entirely avoidable" during the games in August.

The report blamed a lack of coordination, budget cutbacks, tension between the local organizing committee and Brazil's anti-doping agency, and inadequate training for the problems that included days when only half of the out-of-competition samples could be collected in the athletes village.

"Ultimately, many athletes targeted for testing in the athletes village simply could not be found and the mission had to be aborted," the report said. "On some days, up to 50 per cent of planned target tests were aborted in this way."

The report, which was released by the Montreal-based agency on Thursday, said the sample collection process in the village was so strained that it came "close to breaking point."

"Ultimately, it was only due to the enormous resourcefulness and goodwill of some key doping control personnel working at the games that the process did not break down entirely," the report said. "Due to their initiative, tenacity and professionalism in the face of great difficulties, the many problems identified above were patched over and sample collection was conducted in a manner that ensured the identity and integrity of the samples."

In another key failure, the report said no out-of-competition testing was conducted in soccer and "little or no in-competition blood testing" in some high risk-sports, including weightlifting.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Rio organizers accepted some of the responsibility for the testing failures, but also blamed Brazil's government.

"We should have been more efficient in protecting the access to the doping control areas in some venue," Rio spokesman Mario Andrada said. "Most of the content of the report, however, has to do with hardware and operational issues of the lab, which are a responsibility of the federal government and the sports ministry."

Doping was heavily in the spotlight in the months leading up to the Rio Games, with allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia leading to sanctions against some Russian athletes and the retesting of 840 samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics barring dozens of other athletes from competing in Brazil.

During the Rio Games, seven athletes in four sports -- weightlifting, cycling, swimming and track and field -- were sanctioned for doping offenses. The seven included one medalist -- weightlifter Izzat Artykov of Kyrgyzstan, who was stripped of a bronze in the men's 69-kilogram division.

WADA said the role of its observer team is to help instill confidence in the quality, effectiveness and reliability of the anti-doping program for the Olympics, and to make recommendations for improvements.

Richard Budgett, the International Olympic Committee's medical director, said the report showed "the integrity of the program was ensured despite some challenges the organizing committee had to overcome. ... such as a lack of resources and trained volunteers and staff."

He said the report's recommendations would be studied by the IOC and passed on to a new independent testing body that is being set up ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Many of the recommendations related to training and treatment of volunteers, proper attention to rosters and protocol, more lead-time for doping control officers in the venues and better logistics and equipment to locate athletes for out-of-competition testing.

Poor planning, transport issues and a lack of catering for chaperones resulted in a higher-than-expected rates of absences, adding to the burden on doping control officers and other delegates.

A total of 3,237 athletes from 137 countries were tested during the games, representing 28.6 percent of the 11,303 athletes who participated. Of those, 2,611 -- or 23.1 percent -- were tested once, 527 were tested twice, 81 were tested three times and one was tested six times.

Some problems outlined by WADA's observers:

-- There were almost 500 fewer tests conducted than organizers had planned during the games. The samples taken included 4,037 urine tests, 411 blood tests and 434 blood plus ABP or ABP blood tests for a total of 4,882, significantly short of the 5,380 targeted.

-- Data entry errors led to nearly 100 samples analyzed by the anti-doping laboratory not being matched to an athlete. WADA said about 40 percent of those were because of the recording of an incorrect bottle code in the computer system, but noted that Rio organizers assisted the IOC in correcting the errors so the samples could be matched to athletes and their testing histories could be updated.

-- The expected daily maximum of 350 urine samples was never reached during the games. The highest daily total was 307 on Aug. 11, but on the majority of days, fewer than 200 urine samples were received.

-- Blood testing sections were underutilized, with some shifts at the laboratory having no blood samples to analyze at the beginning of the games.

"As a result ... full analytical capacity was not exploited, which is disappointing, given that the latest equipment and best experts in the world were available," the report said.

2018's 10 Most Improved In NCAA Cross Country

The Ultimate 2018 DI NCAA XC Championship Highlight

Within every NCAA cross country season there are always individual performers who improve dramatically from one year to the next, from total irrelevance to the very front of the national championship pack.

Tara Davis Reportedly Transferring From Georgia to Texas

Update (Dec. 13): Georgia head coach Petros Kyprianou announced that Tara Davis is transferring to Texas, though she has yet to respond herself with her official plans for the future. 

They Didn't Race XC, But Watch Out For These 5 NCAA Distance Stars

Christina Aragon Feels Like An Experienced Runner Now

Aside from the inherent drama and intrigue present in every NCAA Cross Country Championships, last month’s meet served as an excellent table-setter for the indoor season. 

Which NCAA Stars Will Go Sub-4 For The First Time In 2019?

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Men's Mile, Heat 6

The sub-4:00 mile chase is one of the most compelling facets of the NCAA indoor season, and in 2019 there are plenty of collegiate contenders ready to punch their membership cards for the first time.

House Of Run: Scintillating FL Finish, Another Ingebrigtsen Double

Jason and Kevin discuss the Ingebrigtsen victory party at Euro Cross, an epic finish line fall, a thrilling final 200 meters at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, Caterine Ibarguen and Eliud Kipchoge winning the IAAF Athlete of the Year, Russia getting its ban renewed and the most important people in track and field of 2018.

Champions Set To Return To Boston Marathon

It Still Hasn't Sunk In Yet For Des Linden

John Hancock Financial announced today that 2018 champions Yuki Kawauchi of Japan and Des Linden of the United States have been contracted to run the 2019 Boston Marathon. Reigning wheelchair division champions Tatyana McFadden of the United States and Marcel Hug of Switzerland are also set to return.

Weekend Recap: Cheserek Cashes In Again, Epic Foot Locker Sprint

Ed Cheserek After Running Fastest-Ever Mile On Hawaiian Soil

With Foot Locker, the European XC Championships and some early season indoor track events all happening over the weekend, it was particularly unique and busy few days in the running world. If that wasn’t enough, Edward Cheserek messed around and ran the fastest mile ever on Hawaiian soil to win his second-straight Merrie Mile in Waikiki in a photo finish.

U-Mary's Emily Roberts Conquered Injuries, Doubts To Crush It At NCAAs

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloTrack!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Race Replay: 2018 DII NCAA XC Championship Women's 6k

When University of Mary senior Emily Roberts crossed the finish line in third place at the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships on Dec. 1, a remarkable comeback that had been nearly unimaginable at the beginning of the season was complete. 

Fun Stats From The 2018 European XC Championships

Courtesy of Ken Nakamura, here are some fun stats from the 2018 European XC Championships in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Successful Marathon Debut For Donn Cabral In Honolulu

Donn Cabral Takes Fourth In Marathon Debut

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved