LONDON – At the midway point of the London Games, no competitor has been caught doping at their event. At least, not yet.
Still, every day a different name of a suspected offender has emerged because of an extensive pre-Olympics testing program to target and identify the drugs cheats before they get near a venue.
On Saturday, a Colombian runner, a Brazilian rower and a Moldovan hammer thrower all made minor headlines – and all were not allowed to start their event.
Olympic officials think each case at this stage is a success in keeping the London Games clean. From here on, every positive doping result from an in-competition sample becomes more problematic for the Olympic image.
Disqualifications follow, often requiring medals to be stripped and results redrawn. Then comes the possibility of lengthy legal action as the field of play switches to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the International Olympic Committee’s home city of Lausanne, Switzerland.
For now, the IOC’s legal slate is clean. “We have shown that we take swift action, that cheats are caught and ejected from these games,” spokesman Mark Adams said. “I would say at this stage, it’s a pretty low number.”
Four is low. That’s the number of actual cases requiring IOC sanctions from testing since the athletes village officially opened July 16. They are Colombian 18-year-old 400-meter runner Diego Palomeque (substance not identified); Russian track cyclist Victoria Baranova (testosterone); gymnast Luiza Galiulina of Uzbekistan (furosemide); and Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku (stanozolol).