A former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) vice-president has alleged that the number of positive drugs tests at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 was “capped” at 12 despite a higher number of failures.

Ollan Cassell, a member of the American gold medal winning 4×400 meters relay team at Tokyo 1964 who later served 23 years at the world athletics body, made this revelation. Cassell remarked the decision formed part of a pact between then IAAF head Primo Nebiolo and Juan Antonio Samaranch, former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President.

The former International Association of Athletics Federations vice-president also said the decision by Samaranch and Nebiolo was reportedly taken in order to give an impression to everyone that both bodies were taking a strong anti-doping stance while avoiding too big of a scandal. Cassell said he had been warned by Nebiolo about the decision he and Samaranch had made about capping the number of positive drug tests in Los Angeles Olympics at a dozen. The former IAAF VP further added Nebiolo told him they had done it ‘to protect the Olympics and the USA’ so there would be no scandal.

The allegations of Cassell fit with claims in the past about the covering-up of failed drug tests at Los Angeles 1984. Arnold Beckett, a former member of the IOC Medical Commission, had remarked that someone had broken into the hotel of Commission chair Prince Alexandre de Merode and shredded the documents. Merode admitted sampled had been destroyed but claimed this was due to accidental haste by organizers rather than deliberate wrongdoing.

Allegations of a similar nature have also been made by officials working within the UCLA facility where drug testing took place.

Craig Krammerer, one laboratory official, said five of the nine allegedly covered-up failures were for anabolic steroids, with the remainder for either Testosterone or Ephedrine.

In total, 1,502 athletes were tested at the Los Angeles Games and twelve positives were reported across the sports of athletics, volleyball, weightlifting, and wrestling. The list included two silver medal winners in Swedish wrestler Tomas Johansson and Finnish 10,000 meters runner Martti Vainio. The remaining athletes subsequently admitted to blood doping during the Games, although this was not made illegal until 1985.

Ollan Cassell also praised the present-day IAAF for their tough stance to recent Russian doping scandals that also involves allegations that samples have been tampered with. Cassell remarked the IAAF had moved in the strongest direction toward Rio by suspending the All-Russia Athletic Federation. The former IAAF VP criticized the International Olympic Committee for not taking a similar stance and remarked he thinks the IOC is the one that came out looking the weakest on drugs by not taking a firmer stance against the Russians. Cassell also said it seems to him like the IAAF is going to be the one that’s going to have to sort of lead this movement of stronger drug testing and make sure that clean athletes are the ones that are participating in international competitions.

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