Olympic Officials Begin Drug Testing, Vow To Catch Cheats

By McCarton Ackerman 01/30/14

Despite a stringent testing policy, many athletes feel that drug use will happen anyway.

winter olympics.jpg

Olympic officials will begin their pre-competition testing of athletes tomorrow and have vowed to catch anyone using performance-enhancing substances. Nearly 2,500 tests will be conducted worldwide before the games end on February 23, with a focus on endurance sports that have a history of cheating such as biathlon and cross-country skiing.

“I think it would be stupid to try to cheat,” said International Olympic Committee medical director Dr. Richard Budgett. "If there are any doping cases in Sochi, some of them may be because athletes are being stupid."

The urine and blood sample analysis that will be conducted can detect use of performance-enhancing substances up to several months back. The samples will also be stored for eight years for retroactive testing. But unfortunately for the IOC, many Olympic athletes feel drug use will happen regardless of how stringent the testing measures are.

Last December, former track Olympian Michael Johnson declared that drugs are an unavoidable part of competitive athletics. “You are never going to have a situation where no-one cheats - athletics is a microcosm of real life and in real life you will always have people who cheat. It's unrealistic to expect athletics to be a drug free sport,” he said. “Other sports may have fans that can put up with it but in athletics the fans want to see the Olympians hold true to the Olympic ideals and values."

But while performing-enhancing substances are completely off-limits, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) loosened its regulations of pot use in Olympics sports last June, only banning athletes from using marijuana in the days or hours leading up to a competition.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.