Olympic history is constantly being rewritten as technology catches up with more and more people who cheated the system with doping violations. In essence, becoming an Olympic medalist is no guarantee that one will remain an Olympic medalist forever.
Last week saw the International Olympic Committee stripping off Olympic medals from more than a dozen athletes who won them in either the 2008 Olympic games or the 2012 Olympic games.
The medal strippings were based on doping violations that were discovered when tests were carried out on stored samples. The tests proved that the athletes in question had cheated.
With the new slew of athletes implicated in doping violations, the total number of doping violations by Olympic athletes from 2008 and 2012 is now over 75. Most of the athletes implicated represented Russia and other countries near it and turinabol—an anabolic steroid–was a common drug of choice.
It is becoming increasingly evident that it is a difficult task to keep athletes who cheat by doping from competing. The cheaters are constantly finding new ways to beat the tests available at the time of the games. By retaining and storing samples, however, technology has been able to catch up with some of these cheaters.
So while the science and technology employed by the Olympic committee’s drug-testing lab years ago to test athletes were not sensitive enough to detect the small residual concentrations of the drugs present in the system of the athlete, new testing methods have increased the period of time during which long-familiar drugs can be detected in the body.
As more and more cheaters are found out, some previously undecorated Olympians are inheriting medals for their performances eight years ago. It is a really sad rewrite of Olympic history and one that hopefully will soon be at an end as technology continues to catch up with the underhanded techniques of cheaters.