The head of the laboratory Crusader Knights Templar Sword Shield shirt . Prof David Cowan, is still proud of the partnership with GSK. It created a link between a big pharmaceutical company and an anti-doping community that is still there today. He sees it as part of the 2012 legacy. “One of the great things about working with GSK was that they were very well hardened against all the nasty things that can happen,” Cowan says. “They helped us make sure we were working in a secure site, were protected against terrorism, and that we were protected against hacking – because the government were concerned that another country could see the lab as an easy target. And GSK helped us make sure it wasn’t.”Unfortunately, Robertson and his entourage weren’t the only people looking around the new facility that week. The World Anti-Doping Agency also organised a tour for a large group of laboratory scientists, including Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the Wada-accredited lab in Moscow. Rodchenkov would turn out to be a key figure in the design, organisation and ultimate exposure of Russia’s state-run doping programme. Rodchenkov wrote in his autobiography the lab tour was “an ideal and exclusive opportunity to learn which methodology and procedures were planned in preparation for the next summer’s Olympic Games, and what doping control equipment they had.”Cowan is aware of the irony, but prefers not to comment on it.
Crusader Knights Templar Sword Shield shirt, hoodie, sweater, longsleeve and ladies t-shirt“Each time the IOC created a new laboratory they prepared new traps and pitfalls for doped athletes,” Rodchenkov wrote Crusader Knights Templar Sword Shield shirt . The tour meant he had been warned in advance what those traps and pitfalls were. Rodchenkov’s group had been told they weren’t allowed to take photos but he did anyway, “of everything, instrument after instrument, room after room”. The burglar had been given a behind the scenes tour of the bank vault. Five months later, he was back in London along with the Russian Olympic team, safe in the knowledge that the testing methods being used in the London lab couldn’t detect the cocktail of performance enhancing drugs distributed to dozens of Russian athletes.During the three-week duration of the Games, the London lab tested 5,132 samples. Exactly eight of them tested positive for banned substances. That’s 0.15%. At the time, Cowan had told the Guardian that he expected the final figure would be under 0.5%. “If we end up with more than even half-a-per cent I will be surprised,” he said, “and I hope it is much fewer than that. Less than 50 athletes and I think that estimate will be on the high side.” At the time he felt that the UK’s “strong reputation” for catching drugs cheats would act as a deterrent. It didn’t. Nor did the fact that the athletes knew the samples would be stored, and subjected to reanalysis, for a period of 10 years after the Games were over.As the International Testing Agency has reanalysed those samples in the years since, the trickle of positive tests turned into a flood. As of now, 149 athletes who competed at London have been found guilty of doping violations and there are still a handful of cases pending. That’s about 3%, six times the number Cowan expected. A third of those were from Russia, many of them from Rodchenkov’s programme. “But it wasn’t just athletes from Russia who were using that,” says Tim Ricketts, Wada’s director of standards and harmonisation. “There were others in countries surrounding Russia using the same concoction of substances. So obviously, the message had been passed on.” There were 17 from Ukraine and 15 from Belarus, as well as 15 from Turkey. The rest come from a spread of 26 other countries.The majority (95) of the 149 were competing in athletics, and a large number of the rest (39) in weightlifting, with others in wrestling, cycling, judo, gymnastics, swimming, boxing, canoeing, and rowing. The breakdown is heavily skewed towards certain sports and certain countries, because the testing was targeted towards areas anti-doping intelligence had identified as a target.
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