Steroid Testers Will Try to Catch Cheaters for Eight Years

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It is no longer good enough to collect a urine and/or blood sample from an athlete and test it for banned anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines now require that an athlete’s urine and blood can be stored for many years while anti-doping researchers seek new methods of uncovering covert steroid use.

While Major League Baseball player Ryan Braun may have convinced a single arbitrator that allowing a urine sample sit for 48 hours would compromise the results, WADA officials are confident that the integrity of a sample can be preserved for as long as eight years in storage.

The eight-year storage guidelines add a powerful weapon to the anti-doping arsenal. Steroid use is much more pervasive than testing statistics suggest. It is widely accepted that most steroid users are capable of successfully evading detection.

Even David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has admitted that WADA has done a poor job catching doped athletes. According to steroid testing statistics, only 1 to 1-1/2 percent of athletes use a banned performance-enhancing substance. Howman thinks it could be as high as 10 percent while other doping experts believe it is much, much higher.

Anti-doping officials have high hopes for the 2012 London Olympics. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the international pharmaceutical firm, has contributed to the London anti-doping effort with the creation of a state-of-the-art testing facility with the latest technology.

GSK has plans to analyze over 6,250 anti-doping blood and urine tests at the 2012 London Olympics.

Professor David Cowan, the director of drug control at King’s College in London, will be the head of the London laboratory. Cowan has promised to perform significant “data-mining” of the test results. The data-mining approach promises to provide a comprehensive profile of the sample. Not only will it detect over 200 banned substances, Cowan claims it will help officials uncover novel steroids and PEDs.

GSK Olympics Anti-Doping


AFP. (March 7, 2012). Olympics doping lab to hold tests for eight years. Retrieved from