Are the Olympics Clean?

Nobody likes a cheat, but the sad truth is that over the years a number of world-famous athletes have used performance enhancing drugs to give them that tiny edge over their competitors and a bigger chance of winning that hugely coveted Olympic gold medal. The old saying goes that cheats never prosper, and it’s certainly true that names such as Ben Johnson, Marion Jones and Dwain Chambers were caught out in their use of banned substances and stripped of their medals.  There is always a lingering suspicion that any major sporting event may not be 100% clean, and as a consequence the London 2012 Olympics are the most advanced ever when it comes to testing for drugs.

Pre-Competition

In the run-up to the Olympic Games, many of the different teams from around the world set up camp in UK cities and finalized their training for the games. The Americans based themselves in Birmingham, Australian athletes opted for leafy Surrey and many UK athletes went to train in Portugal. During this period of pre-competition training the competitors can be randomly tested at any time, without prior notification. This is in addition to any of the random drugs testing programmes carried out by the national athletics federations on an ongoing basis.

During the Games

The London 2012 organisers take the issue of doping so seriously that a laboratory the size of 7 tennis courts is running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the duration of the games. An estimated 5000 samples will be processed over this period. Athletes are subject to random testing for as long as they are in the Olympic village, and all tests are unannounced. More tests will be run than ever before at an Olympics and the message going out loud and clear to all of the athletes is that if they take something they shouldn’t, they will be caught. The list of banned substances is extensive, and also includes common medications such as cold remedies as they often contain stimulants. Tests are coded with numbers rather than with the competitor’s name, so that no accusations of favouritism can be levelled at the organisers or the laboratory staff, and should a test show up positive for a banned substance, repeat tests are carried out to verify the result. Nobody wants to run the risk of naming an athlete as a cheat for no good reason, but people who have genuinely cheated will be publically named.

Animals

Although the main emphasis during the Games will be on the drug testing for the human competitors, horses taking part in the competition will be tested too. A horse which has been given horse joint supplements which are on the prohibited list may have an unfair advantage over other horses, and all animals are tested by veterinary staff during, before and after competition. A full list of the banned substances is published on the Olympic websites, and it is up to riders and the national teams to inform themselves about what horse joint supplements can be given and which cannot.

Citations:

On The Equine Warehouse website you can find horse joint supplements for your horse.

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