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Jamaica Basically Stopped Drug Testing Its Athletes Before The Olympics

In the past two months, Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson, and three more track and field athletes have tested positive for banned substances. What's changed? Perhaps, says the ex-head of Jamaica's anti-doping body, they're actually being tested now.

Renee Anne Shirley became executive director of JADCO last year, and upon taking over, was shocked by what she found. Disarray, corruption, and a lack of resources combined to ensure that one of the world's best per-capita sporting nations didn't have anything like a world-class drug program. She stepped down in February, and now she writes it up for Sports Illustrated, but this is the part that'll make some news (emphasis mine):

In July, Elliott was vague when asked about the number of out-of-competition tests conducted by JADCO in 2013. "I don't want our athletes to know whether it's 400 or 500 or whatever," he told The Guardian. But Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller recently told Parliament that—in total since 2009—there have been 356 out-of-competition tests conducted in Jamaica.

The current program—while improved—makes a mockery of Jamaica's posturing and flames suspicion more than it douses it. Between the time Between the time the current board was appointed, in February 2012, and the start of the London Olympics late last July, out-of-date testing kits and limited staffing resources resulted in a total of one out-of-competition test.


As the accompanying chart notes, in the three months leading up to the Olympics, not one Jamaican athlete was tested out-of-competition—when dopers are more likely to be caught by surprise and fail a test.

Of course, U.S. sprinting star Tyson Gay failed multiple drug tests this year. The sport's problems are bigger than one island's.

An inside look at Jamaican track's drug-testing woes []

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