Home / Rio 2016 / T&T sprinters keep cool as Jamaica drug shocker raises prospect of Beijing 4×100 gold

T&T sprinters keep cool as Jamaica drug shocker raises prospect of Beijing 4×100 gold

Trinidad and Tobago track star Richard “Torpedo” Thompson insisted that his thoughts are only on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, even as speculation about a failed drug test by a Jamaican athlete and its possible repercussions have captivated athletics.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Richard Thompson (third from right) prepares to chase Jamaica star Asafa Powell (centre), as he receives the baton from Usain Bolt at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Richard Thompson (third from right) prepares to chase Jamaica star Asafa Powell (centre), as he receives the baton from Usain Bolt at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Two weeks ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed that 31 athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics tested positive for banned substances after 454 urine samples were re-examined using more advanced technology than was available eight years ago.

The IOC has not released any names while it corroborates the positive tests by reanalysing the ‘B’ sample. That process should be completed within the coming week.

However, the Jamaica Gleaner yesterday claimed that sprinter Nesta Carter, who represented the Jamaica 4×100 metres relay team in Beijing and London Olympics, is among the alleged cheats.

The IOC confirmed last Friday that 23 athletes from the London 2012 Olympics also failed drugs tests after defrosted urine and blood samples from 265 athletes were reanalysed.

Since Trinidad and Tobago finished second to Jamaica in both Olympics, if Carter is found to have doped in both, there is the possibility that the Jamaican relay team could be asked to return their gold medals. And despair in the “Land of Reggae” could potentially be rivalled by cheers in the “Land of Steelpan.”

Photo: Jamaica 4x100 Beijing Olympic Games team (from left) Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, Usain Bolt and Michael Frater. (Copyright IOC/Getty)
Photo: Jamaica 4×100 Beijing Olympic Games team (from left) Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, Usain Bolt and Michael Frater.
(Copyright IOC/Getty)

Thompson and Marc Burns—who teamed up with Emmanuel Calendar and Keston Bledman in London while Aaron Armstrong completed the gang in Beijing—admitted that they have heard the rumours. But both men vowed not to be seduced by golden thoughts until there was official word from the IOC.

“Nothing’s official as yet,” Thompson told Wired868, “they haven’t even said the event yet. So it’s all speculation at the moment.

“The athlete’s name is just rumoured and, even if it is him, they still have to test the ‘B’. I think it would be a bad look if it wasn’t who everyone said and I made any bold statements on it.

“I wouldn’t want to tarnish someone’s image on speculation.”

Thompson declined comment on what it might mean for him and his teammates if they were found to be the fastest clean track team in the world at the Beijing Olympics.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's 2010 Olympic Games 4x100 metre team (from left) Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s 2010 Olympic Games 4×100 metre team (from left) Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson.

At present, Thompson has three Olympic silver medals from the 4×100 metre events in Beijing and London—Trinidad and Tobago initially placed fourth in London but were bumped up after a lane violation by Canada and failed drug test by USA—and the 100 metre dash in Beijing. But, for now, he is only looking forward.

“I’m very focused on Rio at the moment,” said Thompson. “So I’m trying to channel my energy towards that… But I will be following to see how (the Beijing speculation) turns out.

“It’s something that obviously affects the sport, as well as the image of the Caribbean athletes.”

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said the IOC updated all its affiliates on the matter today and confirmed that the world governing body will now test samples from all medalists at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games, including 12 T&T athletes.

He declined comment on specific rumours.

Iconic ex-Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Ato Boldon, who has one silver and three bronze Olympic medals along with golden returns at the World Championship and Commonwealth Games, said—with just two months to go before the Rio Olympics—the timing of the drug tests was not ideal. But he countered that it was never a bad time to do the right thing.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago former Olympic star Ato Boldon (right) hugs an unidentified Nigerian sprinter during his track hey-day. (Copyright AFP 2014/Jeff Haynes)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago former Olympic star Ato Boldon (right) hugs an unidentified Nigerian sprinter during his track hey-day.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Jeff Haynes)

“(Failed drug tests by athletes) is not good and the timing is awful,” said Boldon, who also serves as Thompson’s track coach, “but I am somebody who believes that there is no bad time to weed out people who cheat. And my information is that there are more (revelations about disgraced champion athletes) coming, although not necessarily from the Caribbean.

“But at least we will go to Rio knowing who the cheats were.”

Should any Beijing and London Olympic winners be stripped and their medals passed on, Boldon insisted that the new winners have every reason to celebrate for competing clean.

But he admitted that nothing can replace the feeling of crossing the finish line with the world gasping; and then hearing your national anthem played while standing on the Olympic podium.

“Of course (a retroactive award) takes away from the achievement of winning on that special day,” said Boldon. “Whatever medal you get, you are happy for. But what athletes compete for is that time in the spotlight and the chance to hear your anthem (on the podium).”

If Trinidad and Tobago’s 4×100 team benefits from the IOC’s discover of drug cheats, Boldon said he will feel especially proud, since he was there at the beginning.

Photo: (From left) Jamaica gold medalists Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, and Trinidad and Tobago bronze medalists Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson pose on the podium after the men’s 4x100 relay final at the the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 in London. The Trinidad and Tobago quartet are already due to receive silver, after the US team was disqualified due to a failed drug test by Tyson Gay. (Copyright Johannes Eisele/AFP 2016/Wired868)
Photo: (From left) Jamaica gold medalists Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, and Trinidad and Tobago bronze medalists Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson pose on the podium after the men’s 4×100 relay final at the the London 2012 Olympic Games on 11 August 2012 in London.
The Trinidad and Tobago quartet are already due to receive silver, after the US team was disqualified due to a failed drug test by Tyson Gay.
(Copyright Johannes Eisele/AFP 2016/Wired868)

He was 28 years old when he led the local relay team, which included Burns, Jaycey Harper and Darrel Brown, to silver at the 2001 Edmonton World Championships.

“Should we get gold, I would feel a great sense of satisfaction,” said Bolton. “I felt that before I retired, I wanted to leave the 4×100 team in good shape for the future. And I think I did that.

“So it will be a source of immense satisfaction for me to see that those young boys took it all the way.”

At the Athens 2004 Olympics, Boldon helped Burns, Brown and Nicconnor Alexander to seventh place, as Trinidad and Tobago competed in its first Olympic 4×100 final in this millennium.

Four years later, Thompson, Bledman, Callender and Armstrong joined Burns to sprint across the line for silver at Beijing, behind the Jamaica quartet of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Asafa Powell and Bolt.

There is no word from the IOC that the Jamaica team is in any danger of losing its medals. And it will be another week or two before the world discovers the identity of the Beijing drug cheats.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago sprint star Richard "Torpedo" Thompson. (Courtesy Power 102FM)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago sprint star Richard “Torpedo” Thompson.
(Courtesy Power 102FM)

Boldon, who also coaches TTOC 2015 Junior Sportswoman of the Year Khalifa St Fort, hopes young athletes take note of the perils of drug use; and run clean.

“Just do it the right way,” said Boldon. “It is almost a bigger shame to lose the medal and affect your teammates, your country and yourself. it is not worth it.

“I have several upgraded medals and some that should be upgraded. When your career is done, all you have left is your character and your reputation.

“(Drug use) is not worth it.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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142 comments

  1. Local News is reporting it as well

  2. I wouldn’t be happy with a win like that

  3. After the stupidity of Jamaica, boycotting Trinidad. This will be best for Trinidad

  4. I m praying to the Lord for our men to get the gold

  5. If I had my way at the next Olympic games I would let the cheats who won medals reappear and have a presentation where the medal is removed from around there necks and placed on the next in line .

  6. Yeah and the Americans and them does behave like they are so Holy ent and always doing the things by the book ent what is the other American woman runner who was also stripped of her trophies to eh is ah good thing that she also didn’t follow Flo Jo to her grave and yuh know how many years I have been telling everyone that November 19th 1989 was a sell out game in order for the Americans to go to the World Cup in Italy 1990 eh because they were hosting their first ever World Cup in 1994 eh but nobody was believing me nah until the whole Truth was finally exposed years after. The Americans really good yes steuuppsss

    • Yeah if you know how that really hurt my heart especially when I saw her story before she became a winner eh and someone told me that the reason why some of.these runners cheats is because of the endorsements and the plenty of monies that they makes and of course by the time that they are exposed eh plenty of the monies done spent already and the only thing that they are stripped of are their trophies. Them really good yes

  7. Wired, if gold is awarded, let’s lobby for a ceremony at Woodford Square, complete with podium and the National Anthem.

  8. I don’t care if it’s 20 years later. As an athlete..especially when you retire your most prized asset is your name. If you were a cheat your name should be mud. I just wish they could dig up Flo Jo body or find some of her pee to prove she cheated with that 10.49 run. For a hundred years no woman will ever be able to legally beat that record because Flo Jo took her secret to the grave.

  9. Never believe that meh JA people would cheat and I am really hoping that our own runners won’t be cheaters themselves. Them really good yes

  10. That’s a shitty way for us to get Gold. Don’t think we should be doing and cartwheels and hi fives. If we get it, accept it, say thanks and quietly walk away.

    • Cheups. If we were the fastest clean team in the world, I’d say that is worth celebrating. :-/
      If Nesta Carter’s ‘B’ sample fails, he cheated our runners the chance to stand on the podium.

    • It wouldn’t be the same.

    • It would never be the same but we as a country should do all we can to make up for the shitty deal our athletes got. Public recognition although it won’t make up for the loss it would show our support for the amazing CLEAN effort our guys put in. If only we had some money now😈. Let the govt retrieve some of the blasted Lifesport millions and give it to the gold medal winners. Shake down that snake Daniel and let him cough up the effin 34 million 😠

    • Chica, it won’t be the same. But it is as close to justice as we can still get. So why not take it?

    • I never said not to take it. Take it with open arms but I wouldn’t be doing cartwheels out the door. It’s just unfortunate really. But take it yes.

    • Athletes may be filled with mixed emotions, anger, excitement etc… but the whole thing is unfortunate

    • China Emery… That’s why dopers need to be dealt with severely! Imagine how angry relay team members will be if one member is a cheat. The issue is integrity and the probable millions of income denied athletes who were in the race and who placed behind the cheat. Your argument is futile!

    • Ok Paula Trini Ayoung point taken. I understand and accept that my argument is indeed weak and makes no sense.

  11. Wait….Bledman was part of our silver medal team?

  12. ..technology exposes the ‘cheats’…?
    ..the truth always prevails…and after darkness comes the light..

  13. I always remember Richard Thompson’s thrilling finish in the 4×100 final in London. He got the baton in sixth or seventh place. I think most people would have felt it was over. He ran his heart out and thought he finished fourth…
    The 4×100 team moved to up third. Then second… God knows where they might end up! 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwLDpcye-VM

  14. Nothing complicated about it. Cheat in the Olympics, and steal someone else’s glory, and you will do immeasurable damage to yourself, your sport and your country. It’s also possible you take away teammates’ medals if it’s a relay involved. Would you want a gold medal that way? Not ideally, but let’s see what athlete on this planet would refuse his or her rightful place after all the cheats have been weeded out. History will record the new medalists forever. That 8 years the doper had it don’t seem like ‘so long’ now, right? You don’t do all that work within the rules to have someone who cheated steal your glory. The process exists because the testers concede they are always one step behind. This is what it has to be. You can say you want clean sport and then cry foul when cheaters are caught. Pick one or the other.

  15. Yeh might be a Colombia situation

  16. My My….this has me elated yet still so angry at the time span. Drug testing playing catch up is soo not cool

  17. The technology to catch the baddies is always so far behind…

    • Maybe. But a decade later could find an athlete in retirement so a lifetime ban for example is just a formality.
      Ppl don’t go to jail over this, do they? So you’re still walking around happy like pappy.
      Plus there are ways to enjoy your assets without them being in your name so if somebody sues you, you can skirt around it.
      In the meantime think of the life that the honest ones are not living over that decade…
      Not unheard of for a “failed” athlete to end up with a less than enviable life…

    • But if we can hold them even a decade later. And, better yet, sue them for unfair earnings… It can be a major blow to cheats I think.

    • It is better than nothing to me. Significantly. If they hide their assets, so be it. They will have to spend the rest of their lives hiding.
      What they can’t hide will be taken. Let them live like that. I don’t think that is happy like pappy, although some will handle it better than others.

  18. Like finally a move on Carl Lewis!

  19. “Jamaica’s sprint sensation, Usain Bolt, is not under suspicion”
    whew
    [wipes forehead]

  20. i wanna see some retesting of the 1984-2000 medalists in track and field, cycling, weightlifting, kayaking, canoeing and rowing.

  21. Totally ridiculous Lasana Liburd these guys have given T&T so much over the years through sport and it’s like their efforts are never really acknowledged or appreciated. Any other country would have ensured their athletes got those Silver medals…quick is da word…because they know the value of sport and they value their athletes! So now we wait to see how this latest development unfolds.

  22. Chups. Look how long they’re supposed to get the silver. If this is true my grandchildren might see them collect the gold medal

  23. Do you really want a gold medal that way? I would take it if they were caught immediately but I don’t know about years later.

    • A cheat is a cheat and should not be given a pass. It’s your prerogative to not accept the award. But ask yourself this, how in the world can they detect advanced doping techniques when the technology is behind 20 steps?

  24. Tbh, I don’t believe in “Retroactive Testing”.
    8 Years after you wanna do test on Samples and Strip People of Medals?? That’s just BS…..
    If you have New Technology for Testing, Use it going forward, although the drugs used by those Cheats is always one step ahead of the WADA.
    You shouldn’t wait for Olympics to Elapsed then to do Test, that just Complicates Everything.

    • Tests are done during all games! Samples are always stored for later testing because as you said “the cheats are always ahead”! Not by one step, though, but by several steps…

    • I’m aware but stripping someone after 2 Olympics elapsed just doesn’t make any sense….
      If that’s the case, Then the Technology being used today should also be used on Samples from the 80’s as well……

      Would or Should technology from the future (2030) be used to retest these said samples again?

    • Cheaters must never be allowed to keep records, medals, glorious reputation, and lucrative contracts. Could be 12 years after, they must be exposed and banned for life! Doping should never be tolerated.

    • And they still holding Nazi war criminals now if they catch them? I say strip ’em and make them pay if possible. It could be 20 years later.
      I only wish the IOC was investigating the airport scandal in Trinidad. 🙂

    • “I only wish the IOC was investigating the airport scandal in Trinidad.” :v :v :v

    • I don’t get Choy Aping argument. So give cheaters a free pass bcus they did it yrs ago? How sway???

    • I don’t care if it’s 20 years later. As an athlete..especially when you retire your most prized asset is your name. If you were a cheat your name should be mud. I just wish they could dig up Flo Jo body or find some of her pee to prove she cheated with that 10.49 run. For a hundred years no woman will ever be able to legally beat that record because Flo Jo took her secret to the grave.

    • I say to hell with clean athletics…everyone should just use they best drugs and we’ll see who the fastest is then. 100m in 8seconds… And for the people here who cannot understand “sarcasm” this what it looks like.

  25. One guy on that teAm tested positive a few years ago after Beijing. If it’s him he will probably have to find another country to live in.

  26. My money on the guy next to usain

    He was unbelievably fast

  27. This development is amazing for us but bad for the sport. When will the scourge of performance enhancement cease?

    • never.
      humanity is corrupt.

    • If I was clean athlete in Beijing, I would be excited as hell right now.

    • Sport is now driven by greed. Ppl will do just about anything to win. It’s a whole different ball game now inno. Case in point #Russia…

    • USA has had MANY positive drug tests. The idea of “state sanctioned” doping in the US may not be either practical or possible, but when you look at the Armstrong doping, BALCO, Angel Heridia…Jon Drumond’s more recent saga…the Alberto Salazar allegations
      you see deeply entrenched issues in American sport that cannot be ignored.

    • If the IOC continue down this path, we will make progress. Because there is a real chance of getting caught. Even if it might take as long as eight years.
      Find a way to sue the cheats too and I bet you get a cleaner sport.

    • it took me YEARS to watch the Tour de France without thinking: Nice ride! Let’s hope the pee clears!”

    • Exactly Lasana n this is why I’m Glad the IOC took over the testing bcus ppl were allowed to fall thru da cracks once they had da money or influence. It’s sad really.. but this is why I will always have a big issue with Gatlin. Dude was sanctioned 3 times for banned substances n yes he did his time but these drugs stay in your system for years…he will always have a competitive advantage in my eyes.

    • Andreas Stueven I meant the IOC took it over from the IAAF which has a headquarters in jamaica..they no longer in charge of Olympic Games testing but I believe it still has a hand in the world championships testing..

    • Cherisse The testing is still in the hands of Wada and their national counterparts. This is the result of a routine recheck of past samples with technology that was not available at the time. To my knowledge several rules etc needed changing to make this happen on a regular basis. Wada is doing their part as good as they can as far as i can see, including to try and stay on top of National Subsidiaries (like the Russian one) to ensure they do not become corrupt. I assume some rule changes will stay in the house to make it easier to catch those…. But i agree with Lasana: It is a good thing even if it takes 8 or more Years….

    • Cherisse IAAF will control Athletics, except at the Olympics… so there was no real “taking over” IOC is in charge of the Olympics…. the International Federations of the respective Sports have to agree to their rules, if they want a part of that… in return IOC will “listen to the IF advise” as to the qualifications and race set up….drug testing during the Olympics is within the jurisdiction of the IOC, which has WADA execute it…. while all IF’s have also to adhere to WADA in their constitutions as part of the Olympic Charter, the practice may look a bit different, particularly for the out of competition testing…. and then there are corrupt testing facilities….

    • Jurisdiction in Olympic sports is often a lil confusing and difficult… once in Jamaica the Jamaican Lab and the Jamaican Arm of WADA is responsible for out of competition testing…

    • I know hun I’m just saying I’m glad Olympic testing is no longer in the hands of IAAF which obviously swept certain things under the rug. IOC as we are seeing is doing a much better job..but as I stated IAAF is still involved in testing for other competitions but not Olympics Andreas Stueven

    • the samples retested were taken at the Games…. thats why only medalists: because testing is mandatory for everyone on the podium in all sports at the olympics…

    • I know the samples were taken at the games..