When you pee into a drug tester’s cup at the Olympics, you don’t just pee into a plastic cup labeled “ATHLETE PISS,” you pee into state-of-the-art BEREG-KIT Geneva bottles made by Swiss manufacturer Berlinger. They have a locking top that can only be opened by a machine that destroys them, which would seem to theoretically prevent fraud and invalidate any sample that shows signs of tampering. However, WADA just announced that you can actually beat the system by freezing the piss:
On 19 January, WADA was informed by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany, that security bottles of the new generation ‘BEREG-KIT Geneva’, introduced in September 2017 by Swiss manufacturer Berlinger Special AG (Berlinger), may potentially be susceptible to manual opening ‘upon freezing’ of a sample. Security collection equipment, which includes A and B security bottles, are purchased by Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) – i.e. International Federations, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organizations and Major Event Organizers – to collect, transport and store urine and blood samples for athletes’ doping controls.
The IOC, naturally, is “very concerned”:
Those who have watched Netflix’s doping documentary Icarus may remember how Russian FSB (the agency formerly known as the KGB) stooges posing as building maintenance workers were able to unlock Berlinger bottles somehow and swap out dirty piss for clean piss at the Sochi Olympics, though the bottles did show signs of tampering after a second investigation. WADA asked Berlinger to try and replicate the flaw and crack one of their own bottles via freezing. It did not work. But don’t worry! They’re, uh, following up in the matter.
WADA acknowledges that this situation, if confirmed, will raise concerns and questions. We wish to reassure athletes and other stakeholders that WADA is resolutely committed to following up with Berlinger until the matter is resolved; and that, we will keep stakeholders apprised as the situation evolves.
The Pyeongchang Olympics start in less than two weeks.