Olympic Games: Reliability of Atlanta drug testing questioned

The reliability of drug testing during the Atlanta Olympics is in doubt, according to an official who oversaw the dope control programme last time the Games were staged in the United States, while the effectiveness of new machinery to catch cheats has also been called into question.

The Olympic drug centre at Morehouse College received its formal accreditation from the International Olympic Committee only last weekend, a year later than required in the contract drafted between the IOC and the Atlanta organisers. The delays in installing the much-heralded high resolution mass spectrometer machines (HRMS) has meant that when the Games begin, the laboratory will be conducting its first "live" sporting drug tests. It is a situation which not only flouts the IOC's own rules, but which could also see every one of the 1,800 tests expected during the 16 days of competition rendered invalid.

Dr Craig Kammerer, who oversaw testing at the 1984 Olympics, fears that the whole testing programme this year could be at risk. "It's impossible to get everything ready in time," he said. The delays have been caused through wrangles between SmithKline Beecham, the pharmaceutical giant who have paid for the three machines, which cost around pounds 500,000 each, and the authorities at the local medical school.

During the Olympics, officials plan to test every individual medal-winner, plus others at random. In little more than two weeks, they will be expected to process more tests than they usually handle in a year of the Morehouse Lab's normal business.

There are doubts whether the HRMS are as effective in catching cheats as has been claimed. Dr John Cantwell, chief medical officer for the organisers, issued a letter in which he claimed: "HRMS allows a widening of the window in drug detection. With HRMS, use of a banned substance might be detected eight weeks or more from entrance into the athlete's system."

But according to work conducted in Cologne, the effectiveness of HRMS is more limited. The study suggests that HRMS can extend the period of detection for only four specific steroids by just one week. Most importantly, HRMS does nothing to improve detection of administered testosterone, human growth hormone or EPO, the three most common methods used among top athletes today.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border