The 50-page report prepared by the WADA Independent Observer (IO) program from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is now available. The IO program helps enhance athlete and public confidence at major events by randomly monitoring and reporting on all phases of the doping control and results management processes in a neutral and unbiased manner.
The program was launched at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, at the invitation of the International Olympic Committee. This successful mission resulted in growing interest among the International Federations and major event organizers who began to invite the program to monitor their events’ doping control.
Since 2000, WADA IO teams have participated in more than twenty major events besides the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including IAAF World Championships, the Tour de France, and the 2003 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.
View the entire WADA Independent Observer (IO) report from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Executive summary from report:
An Independent Observer Team (IO Team) was appointed to attend the Olympic Games in accordance with an agreement established between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The Terms of Reference provided for the review of relevant documentation, attendance at the event venues to carry out observations and assessments of the various steps including test distribution planning, notification, sample collection and handling, as well as the subsequent Laboratory reporting and results management procedures.
Areas that were not part of the scope of the IO Team’s mandate were the pre-Games and Out-of- Competition programmes, the International Federation’s blood screening programmes and observation in the WADA accredited Laboratory which was handled by laboratory experts from the IOC Medical Commission (IOC-MC). The results management of the tests analysed at the Laboratory in Beijing from the pre-Games and Out-of-Competition programmes was however part of the IO Team’s assignment.
In total 4,770 tests were carried out as part of the doping control programme from 27 July until 24 August 2008, which was the largest ever testing programme for an Olympic Games. The tests included 3,801 urine and 969 blood tests. Urine tests included 817 EPO tests, and blood tests covered 471 human Growth Hormone (hGH) tests. The Beijing test figures show an increase of 32.5 % compared to the previous summer Games in 2004 in Athens. Tests were conducted at 41 doping control stations, 34 located in Beijing and seven in the co-host cities. Of the total number 1,462 were pre-Games/Out-of-Competition tests. 61 results were subject to a TUE.
Nearly half of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) present in Beijing did not provide whereabouts information for their Athletes to enable the most effective pre-Games and Out of Competition testing programme. Information about the requirements and tools to facilitate the provision of whereabouts
information should be made available to the NOCs in the future.
The various sections of the IO Team’s report provide details about the organisation of the doping control procedures and recognise the IOC and the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (BOCOG) for the dedicated work of the staff and volunteers in the doping control teams. The facilities at most of the doping control stations were of the highest standard, creating a comfortable environment for conducting the doping control sessions.
Even though this report contains comments in regard to various occurrences observed by the IO Team, we would like to state for the record that no departure from the IOC-Anti-Doping Rules (IOC-ADR), Technical Procedures or International Standards were observed that would invalidate the doping control results reported from the tests at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
All the disciplinary proceedings conducted during the Games and their administration were managed efficiently and professionally by the IOC. Furthermore, the IO Team applauds the position of the IOC-DC and IOC-EB to actively investigate the role of the team coach/medical personnel in the doping cases.
An area that left room for improvement was the administrative reporting of the Laboratory. Additionally there is considerable potential to make the results management administrative work more efficient and less susceptible to mistakes through multiple administrative systems used by BOCOG and the IOC. Since the development over the past few years of ADAMS, a secure integrated administrative programme specifically for doping control management, its’ use at the Olympic Games would make the processes much more efficient for all parties.
This is underlined by the fact that once the Laboratory had apparently delivered all reports to the IO Team, it transpired that around 300 test results were missing in comparison to the doping control forms. The IO Team therefore checked the status of the receipt of these Laboratory results with the IOCMC, but at the time of the delivery of this report on 19th September 2008, the IOC had not been able to finish processing the test results from the Laboratory. They believed however, that they too may be missing some reports.
Consequently the IO Team reserves the right to submit further comment to this particular issue once the IOC has been able to cross-check all doping control report forms and test results from the Laboratory.
Regrettably there were technology problems with the on-line therapeutic exemption system (TUE) in the crucial period just before the Games. Nevertheless this did not disguise a lack of understanding of the TUE and aTUE process in many NOCs, who appeared not to be aware of the Rules and procedures to follow.
Until now the role of the Independent Observer Team introduced at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, has been to observe the doping control procedures and note any issues that occurred in a post-Games report. The IO Team in Beijing is of the opinion that the role of the IO Team could serve a more effective purpose through observing the doping control procedures and monitoring compliance, but also supporting the IOC Medical Commission and the Organising Committee by means of providing any observations on a daily basis that may contribute to improving the procedures throughout the Games.