Whistleblower Exposes 'Dirty Secret' of Athletics

A third of winners had dodgy blood test results
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2015 4:01 AM CDT
Whistleblower Exposes 'Dirty Secret' of Athletics
Russia's women's 4x100 meters relay team celebrate as they cross the finish line to win the gold medal during the athletics competitions in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.   (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

A whistleblower has given the Sunday Times what the newspaper calls damning evidence of the "dirtiest secret" in sports: an astonishing amount of doping at the highest level of athletics (that's track and field). The leaker provided the Times and German broadcaster ARD with around 12,000 blood test results from 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012, revealing that a third of medals (146, 55 of which were gold) handed out at the Olympics and World Championships went to athletes with suspicious test results, the BBC reports. "Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values," a doping expert who saw the results tells the Times. Another expert says the tests show athletics is in the same "diabolical position" as cycling in Lance Armstrong's heyday.

The "abnormal" results involve more 800 athletes, with those from Russia recording the most suspicious results, according to the Times; the AP report notes the suspicious tests were related to events ranging from the 800 meters to the marathon. The World Anti-Doping Agency says it is "disturbed" by the allegations, which involve techniques to boost blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by increasing red blood cell levels, reports Reuters. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach says the anti-doping agency will investigate the results and "the IOC will react with zero tolerance" to any cases involving the Olympics, meaning many athletes could end up being stripped of their medals, the AP reports. (More athletics stories.)

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