The International Olympic Committee has confirmed 23 competitors from the 2012 London Olympics have failed doping retests.

In a statement, the IOC said 265 London samples had been retested with improved techniques and the 23 failed positive tests come from competitors from six countries, competing across five sports. The 23 athletes are in addition to the 31 caught in retests of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a confirmation from the Russian Olympic Committee disclosed that 14 of those athletes were Russians. The Russian Olympic Committee said eight Russian athletes who took part in the London Olympics tested positive for doping during the 2012 games. The second admission in a month that illegal substances were used by Russian athletes could now add more uncertainty about Russia’s participation in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

It was recently reported by the Russian state television that 10 medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 2012 high jump champion Anna Chicherova, were among 14 Russians that tested positive in the reanalysis of their doping samples. Chicherova, the gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2011 World Championships in Athletics who won a bronze medal in the event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, continue to compete. Chicherova’s coach Vladimir Plekhanov said they have not received correspondence from the IAAF, the world governing body of athletics. For several years, Chicherova was among the world leading high jumpers until she missed the 2010 season because of pregnancy and reestablished herself as the world leading female high jumper displacing Blanka Vlašić after returning in 2011.

IOC president Thomas Bach said these reanalysis show, once again, our determination in the fight against doping. Bach added we want to keep the dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and this is why we are acting swiftly now. The IOC said in a statement the samples were re-examined after intelligence-gathering that began last August.

The reanalysis of samples from both the Beijing and London Olympics was welcomed by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). UKAD’s director of operations Pat Myhill remarked the ability to retest samples, as a result of new intelligence or the development of new testing techniques, is a vital tool in the fight against doping in sport. Myhill added retrospective analysis allows us to pursue those who cheat clean athletes, long after the competition has ended. The UKAD’s director of operations added it sends a clear message to those who dope – if you chose to make that choice, and think that you’ve got away with it, think again and we can and will catch you.

Russia has been involved with several doping accusations and evidence in the recent past. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian lab now living in Los Angeles, revealed in an interview published in the New York Times that he switched tainted urine samples for clean ones at the doping lab used for the Sochi Games with assistance from people he believed to be officers of the Russian security services.

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