Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis confirmed that no athlete from the two island republic was among the 54 athletes from the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
However, there will be a nervous wait as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed today that all medalists from the past two Olympics will have their blood and urine samples reanalysed by modern technology, which was not available at the time of either tournament.
“The IOC indicated today some of the measures they are taking,” Lewis told Wired868. “They are putting together a special committee to deal with this issue and they have restated their commitment to zero tolerance (on performance enhancing drugs).
“They have also indicated that they have expanded the testing they are doing in 2008 and 2012 and they will now be retesting all medalists. So I think we are far from a conclusion on all of this…
“Every country will essentially be holding their breaths until there is closure on this.”
The IOC’s vow means that javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott, 100 metre sprinter Richard Thompson and 400 metre runner Lalonde Gordon will be among 12 Trinidad and Tobago athletes whose blood and urine samples will be scrutinised.
However, Lewis said the local olympic body fully supports the IOC’s stance and insisted that it was good for sport.
“The IOC is obviously taking a very serious and determined approach to the issue of doping at the Olympic Games,” said the TTOC president. “I fully support the IOC’s approach on it. They need to do what they have to do and let the chips fall where they may.”
Already, the Jamaica Gleaner has reported that its own olympic body was informed of at least one failed drug test by a runner. The Jamaica Olympic Committee (JOC) denied this.
Is the IOC in danger of scoring an own goal by potentially lifting the lid on cheating champion athletes within two months of the Rio 2016 Olympics?
Lewis believes the disgracing of dirty athletes might be cathartic instead.
“It is not devaluing the games, it is a commitment to deal with the issue,” said Lewis. “They have been very transparent about it. They are going to be targeting people who are eligible to compete at the 2016 games.
“Given the subterfuge by people hell bent on doping, the IOC must use whatever means they see as necessary to catch them. One cannot be naive; those who are bent on using PEDs use very novel approaches and WADA and everyone else is often playing catch up.
“So as (the IOC) come up with better and more effective methods, they are going to employ it.”
Lewis confirmed that the IOC contacted the olympic bodies of the 31 Beijing athletes who failed their initial drug test, even as they now await corroboration via the ‘B’ samples. Another 23 athletes from the London Olympics are in a similar position.
The TTOC has not been informed of any cheat within its ranks.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, to date, has not been informed (of any drug cheat by the IOC) and neither, as far as I am aware, has the NAAA,” said Lewis. “So at this point in time, we are not one of the 12 countries (who were represented by doping athletes)… But today, we received notification from the IOC that they intend to expand their program to include all medalists from 2008 and 2012.”
Once the scandal has passed, Lewis believes the Rio Olympics will benefit from the IOC’s stance.
“I think it is the right time,” said the TTOC president, “because, for those who may have been on some kind of program, there is now a very real possibility that they will eventually be caught.
“So this levels the playing field.”
(Trinidad and Tobago medalists at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics)
Gold: Keshorn Walcott (Javelin/20012);
Silver: Richard Thomson (100 metres/2008); Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson, Aaron Armstrong (4×100 metres/2008); Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson (4×100 metres/2012);
Bronze: Lalonde Gordon (400 metres/2012); Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow, Deon Lendore, Machel Cedenio, Ade Aleyne-Forte (4×400 metres/2012).