Photo credit: Felipe Dana/AP Images

Less than a month ago, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended its accreditation of the Brazilian Doping Control Laboratory, which was supposed to handle all drug tests related to the Rio Olympics. WADA—which is as inept and corrupt a sporting body as you’ll find on this planet—cited a vague and unspecified “non-conformity” in its reasoning for pulling the plug on the only lab anywhere close to Rio de Janeiro. Today, they changed their minds and decided to reinstate the lab.


They did not expand on why the lab had its card pulled in the first place, but tried to reassure athletes that drug testing would go along as normal.

“All parties worked diligently to resolve the identified issue so that the Laboratory could be up and running optimally for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games that start on 5 August,” Niggli continued. “Athletes can be confident that anti-doping sample analysis has been robust throughout the Laboratory’s suspension; and, that it will also be during the Games.”

Although the Games will now nominally have a way to test athletes for doping as usual, this development is not particularly reassuring. No matter how bad the Rio lab was, WADA and the Olympics were never not going to reinstate it. Their options were to either go forth without an accredited doping lab, or fly the samples to Bogota and conduct tests there. This is the same lab that got suspended three years ago, so it’s not as if a few weeks of investigations have suddenly made it legit. The Olympics start in 16 days, and they have to appear to have a handle on things, even if they don’t.


Also, it’s worth noting that a WADA seal of approval isn’t a magic bullet. The IAAF ignores their recommendations, they can’t stop massive state-funded doping operations, they are an altogether flimsy legal body, and their affiliate USADA recently un-punished someone for having tested positive for having ingested tap water.

The IOC is reportedly waffling on whether or not to suspend Russia in the wake of the big reveal that they’d run a top-down doping program. The Games will be a great event without any cheating, or political malfeasance, or viral outbreaks, or crumbling infrastructure, or poop water.