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Could freezing and storing blood and urine sample mean the end of doping?

Posted May 12 2009 3:14pm

Samples Could ice be the answer?

After decades of a cat and mouse game played by dopers and anti-doping officials could the solution really be as easy as a huge freezer?

You may recall that recently six Olympics athletes were busted for using performance enhancing drugs well after the Olympics were over and done.

The reason for this is because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) collected some 4,800 blood and urine sample (mostly from the Beijing Olympic games) and froze them.

So that when the suspicion fell on athletes having used the new endurance-booster, CERA, all the IOC had to do was retest the samples and---Bingo six Olympians tested positive.

According to USA Today:

"One of them is Rashid Ramzi, a Moroccan-born runner who now competes for wealthy Bahrain. He won the 1,500 meters. Baala crossed the line fourth on that balmy Beijing night, just five agonizing hundredths of a second from the bronze. Exhausted and crushed, Baala collapsed onto his back, his right leg sprawled over a track-side tray of flowers.

This story would have ended there without the IOC' s freezers. Now, Ramzi could forfeit his gold if a follow-up test of his thawed-out samples confirms his positive result. Disqualification of Ramzi would lift Baala to third place. The cold metal of a medal can never fully substitute for the warm, lifelong memories -- not to mention the likely sponsorship deals -- that Baala might have enjoyed had he stood on the podium in Beijing. But it' s a start.

"I' ll be able to show it to my kids, to my grandkids and wear it around my neck," the French runner says. "Justice has been rendered."


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