Jamaica’s sprinters were fantastic in the 2012 London Olympics, which led to 11 medals — six being gold. On Monday, the World Doping Agency announced that they will be probing Jamaica about its’ drug testing, which could lead to a nightmare scenario for the Summer Olympics.
The Jamaica sprinters’ success is great for the Olympics because it shows that determination and work ethic can allow any ‘small’ country to compete with the ‘big’ countries. The premier performer for their sprinter squad was Usain Bolt.
Bolt won three gold medals, including setting the Olympic record for the 100-meter dash at 9.63 seconds. It appeared that nothing would be able to get in the way of Jamaica’s sprinters being dominant at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Olympics, until Monday.
The reason why the World Doping Agency is probing Jamaica’s drug testing is the information they received from former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission executive director Renee Anne Shirley. Shirley told the World Doping Agency that Jamaica barely drug tested its athletes prior to the London Olympics.
This is huge because steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs have been a huge problem for the Olympics. Notable names include sprinters like Unites States’ Tyson Gay and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, prior to the London Olympics. Countries are required to have frequent drug testing of its athletes to avoid cheating. The IOC forbids athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs. The only exception to taking certain drugs is if the IOC approves of it.
The Summer Olympics suffered a black eye in 1988 when Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson tested positive for PEDs after his record-breaking 100-meter dash at the Seoul Olympics. The Olympics cannot afford to have a similar incident like that happen again. MLB has lost many fans because of players taking PEDs, especially in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Olympics could be next if Bolt tests positive for PEDs.
It is very possible for a sprinter to have taken PEDs prior to the Olympics and not have it in their system during their race. No one is saying that Bolt took PEDs, but sports fans have learned that anything is possible after more than two decades of positive PED tests in numerous sports.
The most alarming thing of all is that Shirley said that Jamaica conducted 60 of the 71 drug tests after the London Olympics. This means that there is a very good chance that at least a few of the athletes would have tested positive for PEDs if Jamaica followed the IOC drug testing protocol.
Jamaica did have other sprinters that excelled in the 2012 Olympics. Bolt’s teammate Yohan Blake won the silver medal in the 100 and 200-meter dash, and he was part of the Jamaican 4 x 100-meter relay team that won the gold. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the gold medal in the 100-meter dash and the silver in the 200-meter dash and 4 x 100-meter relay, and Veronica Campbell-Brown won the bronze medal in the 100, was part of that relay team, and finished fourth in the 200.
The World Doping Agency’s findings could determine the Olympics’ credibility among fans and the media. Bolt’s legacy and many other Jamaican athletes could be tarnished if the World Doping Agency finds out that they discarded a positive PED test.