Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Mass doping claims could taint Rio Olympics

Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson said on Wednesday that she fears the Rio Games next year will be tainted by drugs, as she lashed out at doping cheats in the crisis-hit sport.

The champion hurdler, who will miss this month’s world championships in Beijing after wrist surgery, said she had no doubt some athletes in Rio will be doped.

“Unfortunately, it’s going to be there,” she told reporters at an event in Sydney marking the one-year countdown to the 2016 Olympics.

“I don’t know how confident I am about how clean it’s going to be in Rio. But as long as we can do everything we can to make it the cleanest Olympics we can, then that is a really good start.” 

‘Extraordinary’ levels of doping
Pearson was speaking as the sport faced explosive new allegations of mass doping, with a database belonging to governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations leaked to German and British media.

It allegedly shows details of 12 000 blood tests from 5 000 competitors which revealed “extraordinary” levels of doping, although the IAAF dismissed it on Tuesday as “sensationalist and confusing”.

Pearson, who injured her left wrist when she tumbled during a Diamond League race in Rome in June, said she was disappointed at the latest scandal.

“I don’t understand how you can go out into a sporting arena and compete, knowing what you have taken, and be proud of that,” she said. 

“But at the end of the day, it’s good that they are being caught as much as it’s disappointing that it still exists.” 

Australian Olympic Committee chef de mission Kitty Chiller said at the same function that the nation had zero tolerance to drug cheats.

“If you dope, to be blunt, if you cheat, and you’re a member of the Australian Olympic team, we will name, shame and put you on a plane,” she said. – AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Related stories


Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Zanele Mbuyisa — For the love of people-centred...

She’s worked on one of the biggest class-action cases in South Africa and she’s taken on Uber: Zanele Mbuyisa speaks to Athandiwe Saba about advocating for the underrepresented, getting ‘old’ and transformation in the law fraternity

Update: Standard Bank rejects climate proposal

Climate considerations are pressing Standard Bank shareholders to push for the recusal of those with fossil fuel ties.

More top stories

Wildlife farming vs Creecy’s panel

The departments of environment and agriculture legislation are at odds over modifying the genes of wild animals

Drugs and alcohol abuse rage in crime stats

Substance abuse has emerged as a reason for the spike in crimes during the first quarter of 2021.

UPDATE: Magashule tries to tip the scales on Ramaphosa in...

The suspended secretary general argues that the rules the party relied on to sideline him are invalid but those informing his attempt to suspend the president are lawful

Modack charged with Kinnear murder

Nafiz Modack is the second person to be charged with killing Charl Kinnear and five others are accused of conspiracy to commit murder, among 61 other charges

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…