Olympics, Anti-doping plans to conduct testing based on intelligence
Perhaps the James Bond theme at the Olympic opening ceremony was not so far-fetched after all. The anti-doping authorities are planning to conduct target testing based on intelligence operations.
“We are stepping up the fight against doping from Olympics to Olympics,” Professor Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, said yesterday.
“We had 4000 tests in the Beijing Games four years ago and there will be more than 5000 during these Olympic Games. But the number of samples is not necessarily the important thing. The important thing is the quality.
“If you are talking about innovations for these Games there is one particular way – we are basing more of this testing on intelligence and information. The UK Anti-Doping Agency is one of the few that has a whole department of intelligence.”
The target testing will be in addition to the mandatory testing of athletes who finish in the first four in every event. In all, there will be 6250 tests conducted before the Games close.
Professor Ljungqvist, an 81-year-old Swede, has been prominently involved in the global fight against drugs in sport for four decades.
Asked whether there might be an element of 007 about the London 2012 anti-doping operation – whether there might be any “tapping of coaches or police involvement” – Professor Ljungqvist replied: “We are obtaining information about what may be going on in the doping world – in terms of transport and transfer of substances, how they’re coming in and out of the country.”
The IOC could always enlist the intelligence-gathering services of a former Olympic champion. In the days before the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which she won two long jump golds competing for the unified Germany, Heike Drechsler led a double life as a member of the drug-fuelled East German track and field machine.
She was employed as a spy by the state secret police, the Stasi. Her code name was Springen, which means “jump”.