4,500 Doping Tests for Beijing Games

July 31, 2008 10:47:55 AM PDT
There will be 4,500 doping tests for the Beijing Games, a 25 percent increase from the 2004 Athens Olympics. That includes 1,300 pre-competition tests and almost 800 blood tests. "This is of course a cat-and mouse game, but for the first time the cat will be at the same level as the mouse," said Dr. Patrick Schamasch, the IOC medical and scientific director. "And I do hope the cat will be waiting for the mouse outside the hole."

Schamasch led a small tour Thursday of the China Anti-Doping Agency's laboratory in Beijing, a three-story red and gray building that will carry out the tests for the Olympics. The lab employs 140 people, and Schamasch called it the "most secure place in Beijing at the time of the games."

The lab is expected to administer about 400 tests for human growth hormone. Schamasch declined to answer many questions about this test, except to say it was essentially the same test used four years ago. There were no positive HGH tests in Athens, a drug that is difficult to detect because it passes out of the body quickly.

"We don't have any new method here," Schamasch said. "We have an improved method that has been developed in the past."

When asked to elaborate on the test, Schamasch said: "We don't want to answer that question. We don't want to reveal to the cheaters what we are doing. We want to frighten them, but not reveal exactly what we do."

Schamasch said those selected for HGH tests would be chosen on basis of "intelligence and other parameters."

Schamasch said about 100 pre-competition tests had been administered through Thursday with no positive results.