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Olympic officials vow to hunt down drug cheats

January 28, 2014|By David Wharton

Later this week, Olympic officials will begin rigorous pre-competition testing of athletes headed for the 2014 Sochi Games.

The program is scheduled to start Thursday with the opening of the athletes' village. At an anti-doping conference late last year, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that 2,453 tests will be conducted worldwide before the Games end on Feb . 23.

"I think it would be stupid to try to cheat," IOC medical director Dr. Richard Budgett told the Associated Press. "If there are any doping cases in Sochi, some of them may be because athletes are being stupid."

There were recent concerns when the World Anti-Doping Agency threatened to revoke accreditation for Russia's primary lab. But the lab made suggested changes and has been cleared to continue operations.

Testing during the Games will focus on endurance sports such as biathlon and cross-country skiing that have a history of cheating.

Analyses can detect use of performance-enhancing drugs dating back months, officials have said. Urine and blood samples will be stored for eight years for retroactive testing.

Doping has been a major topic of discussion leading up to previous Games, but with Sochi it has been overshadowed by security concerns and the controversy over Russia's anti-gay legislation.

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