Blog: Athletes’ samples can be tested for up to eight years after collection

25 July 2012

With the London Olympics starting this week, it is timely to remind athletes that ASADA keeps samples collected for testing for up to eight years. This allows us to take full advantage of future scientific methods to detect doping that may not be evident with today’s technology.

In light of this, we want to highlight to athletes and their support staff the steps involved in the testing process, and emphasise that athletes can incur an anti-doping rule violation years after a test has been conducted if a substance has been detected in their sample.

Also, athletes can be selected for testing anywhere, any time, and are subject to both random and targeted selection methods.

The points below outline each step of ASADA’s testing process.

  1. A Doping Control Officer (DCO) or Chaperone will notify the athlete that they have been selected for doping control and whether the athlete is to provide a urine sample, a blood sample or both.
  2. The athlete is required to report to the doping control station.
  3. An individually sealed collection vessel is chosen by the athlete.
  4. A Chaperone of the same gender will directly witness the urine sample leaving the body and go into the beaker.
  5. An individually sealed sample collection kit will be selected by the athlete.
  6. A measured amount of the urine will be put into a bottle labelled ‘A’ and ‘B’.
  7. If required, a trained phlebotimist will collect the blood sample in the presence of the DCO and chaperone.
  8. A small amount of urine in the collection vessel will be checked by the DCO to measure the specific gravity and is recorded.
  9. The DCO will request the athlete to provide any information should they wish to about prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, herbal products, food supplements, and any other substances used within the last seven days. 
  10. The secure sample and a laboratory copy of the Doping Control Test Form are sent to the laboratory for analysis.
  11. A strict chain of custody regarding transportation, storage and opening of the sample is followed each time.

The drug testing process at the 2012 London Games is very similar to ASADA’s processes. However, as the testing will be done under the International Olympic Committee Anti-Doping Rules there are a few differences to the testing process which can be found at http://www.asada.gov.au/london2012/index.html

It is vital that athletes familiarise themselves with their anti-doping obligations at the Games by visiting the ASADA dedicated London 2012 Olympics Games web page.

If you are an elite athlete, a positive test for a prohibited substance or method can mean being stripped of your Olympic medals, your reputation and future sporting career, as well as risking your long-term health.

For more information about how athletes going to the Games can meet their anti-doping obligations visit our London 2012 website page at http://www.asada.gov.au/london2012/index.html and more anti-doping videos are avaliable at http://www.youtube.com/user/asadavideo.