Doping and sports - 2008 Olympics

Zero Tolerance for Doping 'was the official slogan of the Beijing Olympic Games. A number of athletes had already been eliminated with positive tests prior to arrival.

During the Olympics, six of the 4,500 samples taken were positive. More might follow in the future as the sealed and frozen samples would be stored for eight years for the development of new testing methods.

Although she had qualified for the Olympics, the IOC did not accept the registration of Ekaterina Thanou (1975-). The Greek had embarrassed the organization four years earlier when it did not show up for a doping test. Especially the way how she did this embarrassed the IOC: with her former partner, the sprinter Konstantinos Kenteris (1973-), she had feigned a motorcycle accident. Both were then not welcome at the Athens Games and were also given a two-year suspension. They didn't even show up for the disciplinary committee, which is why the IOC now vetoed. Thanou, however, did not simply accept that. Calling the IOC a "totalitarian regime," she went to court, where she lost her case.


Taiwanese Chang Tai-shan (1976-) was not allowed to go to the Olympics because he tested positive for prohibited substances. He was suspended for three years.


At a check-up just before traveling to Beijing, Vladimir Gusev (1982-) had such high blood values that the Russian Federation wisely decided to leave him at home.

Italian Marta Bastianelli (1987-) won the 2007 World Championship under 23 in Stuttgart, Germany, and she dreamed of the Olympic title. Her urge to lose weight, however, killed her dream. In July 2008 after the European Championships in Verbania, she tested positive for fenfluramine and received a two-year suspension so she could forget the Olympics


Floret fencer Andrea Baldini (1985-) crowned himself Italian champion in 2007, he won his second European title in July 2008 and with the Italian team the bronze medal for national teams. Three months later he finished second at the World Cup in St Petersburg. However, he was not allowed to participate in the Beijing Olympics because doping research revealed the use of furosemide, a diuretic used to mask doping. In 2009, however, he became world champion and in 2010 he won the gold medal at the European Championship.


Jaqson Kojoroski (1979-) earned a selection for the Olympics from the Brazilian Olympic Committee, but when traces of cannabis were found during a check he was not allowed to travel.


Greek Yiannis Tsamis (1986-), the year before European double-scull champion, tested positive for finasteride and was therefore not allowed to go to Beijing.


Russian Sergej Alifirenko (1959-), who won the gold medal with the rapid-fire gun and four years later the bronze medal at the 2000 Olympcs, was also selected for the Beijing Olympics but had to cancel. Initially it was said that he had an eye injury, but in December it came out that he was suspended for two years for the use of dexamethasone.


Six weeks before the Olympics in his own country, Chinese backstroke swimmer Ouyang Kunpeng (1982-) was caught a second time using clenbuterol, resulting in a lifelong suspension. In December 2010, that sentence was reduced to two years, but Ouyang no longer appeared on the starting blocks. Coach Feng Shangbao got a life sentence.

American Jessica Hardy (1987-), the world record holder of the 50 and 100 m breaststroke, tested positive for Clenbuterol just before the Olympics, for which she was suspended for a year and therefore missed Beijing. Her revenge was sweet, at her return in 2009 she improved the world record of the 50 and 100m breaststroke during the US Open and in the autumn of 2009 the American claimed the overall victory in the world cup.

Greek Ioannis Drymonakos (1984-) won the 200m butterfly stroke at the European Championships in Eindhoven in a new European record time. Moments later it was announced that previously during his training camp he had delivered a positive check on trenbolone, losing both the title and the record. Moreover, he was suspended for two years, forcing him to forget Beijing. After serving his sentence, he finished third in the 200m butterfly battle at the 2010 European Championships, won two bronze medals at the 2012 Debrecen European Championships and also swam three distances at the London Olympics.

Track and Field

Julie Coulaud (1982-) would participate for France in the 3,000m steeple. However, the use of testosterone was detected during a control during her training camp in Font-Romeu. She was suspended for three years. After her suspension, she was sentenced to six months imprisonment and a € 2,000 fine for possession of prohibited substances after it became apparent that she had hidden EPO, growth hormones and insulin. She stated before the Court that she had received the goods through a Spanish physician from Valencia.

Dimitrios Regas (1986-), the Greek 200m champion, tested positive for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone, causing him to miss the Olympics.

The Greek 200m specialist Anastasios Gousis (1979-) was caught in July using methyltrienlone, which made him forget the Olympics and was suspended for two years.

With his final place in the national championship, Jamaican Julien Dunkley (1975-) earned a ticket for the Olympics, but the check afterwards showed that he had been on the anabolic steroid Boldenone. It delivered him two years of suspension and the exclusion for the Olympics.

Russian speed walkers and training buddies Viktor Burayev (1982-), Sergey Morozov (1988-), Aleksey Voyevodin (1970-) and Vladimir Kanaykin (1985-) were suspended for two years in August 2008 after EPO was found in their blood a few months before. Morozov and Kanaykin even received a lifelong suspension after a second positive check in 2012.

Eight Russian female athletes were excluded from the selection just before the start of the Olympics because they had tampered with their urine samples during a doping test, which apparently came from one and the same person.

Yuliya Fomenko (1979-) was chosen to defend her country in the 1500m. In July, however, she was banned from the selection because she did not deliver her own urine sample during a check. DNA testing afterwards confirmed this suspicion. She received a two-year and nine-month suspension and all results achieved from April 2007 were canceled.

Svetlana Cherkasova (1978-) was supposed to run the 800m, but messed with her urine samples just before the Olympics for which she was suspended for two years.

Multiple Russian champion Yelena Soboleva (1982-) won the 1500m at the 2008 World Indoor Championships, but had to surrender the title after a positive doping test. The world record that she set was thereby removed from the tables. In July she was thrown out of the Russian selection, she too had delivered someone else's urine at a doping test. She had two years and nine months and all her results from April 2007 were canceled.

Tatjana Tomashova (1975-), the double world champion in the 1500m, could not defend her 2004 Olympic silver medal because she, too, had delivered a urine sample other than hers. Discarded from the selection, suspended for two years and nine months and all results deleted from April 2007.

Olga Yegorova (1972-), in 2001 world champion at 5,000m and four years later the silver medal in that same event, had also tampered with her urine samples and, like her fellow countrymen, had to leave for two years, forcing her to forget Beijing.

In 2006, Gulfiya Khanafeyeva (1982-) broke the world record for hammer throw with a throw of 77m26. She also delivered other people's urine and she received the same punishment as her teammates. For a new offense in 2012, she was banned from the athletics fields for eight years.

With a personal record of 65m78 at the 2007 World Cup in Osaka, Japan, Darya Pishchalnikova (1985-) won the silver medal in discus throwing and was therefore a medal candidate for the Beijing Olympics. In July 2007 she was caught manipulating doping tests and had to stay at home. She also had to hand in her silver medal from the World Cup. Four years later in London, she was at the Olympics again, but after it turned out that she had won the silver medal with the help of oxandrolone, she was suspended for life and she also had to surrender her medal.

Hammer-thrower Tatyana Lysenko (1983-) was the eighth in the Russian camp who was not allowed to go to Beijing. Traces of 6a-methylandrostendione were found, after which she was sent out of the selection, was suspended for two years and lost all her titles after May 2007, including the world record of 78m61. In 2012, she won the hammer throw competition at the London Games, but the test afterwards again demonstrated the use of steroids, which earned her eight years of suspension.

Romanian 800m runner Liliana Barbulescu (1982-) and her colleagues from the 1,500m Elena Antoci-Buhaianu (1975-) and Cristina Vasiloiu (1988-) were banned from the Olympic team and suspended for two years for using EPO.

Bulgarian 1,500m runner Daniela Yordanova (1976-) tested positive for testosterone during an out-of-competition check and was suspended for two years, making her unable to go to Beijing. She then tried her chances as a bodybuilder.


Every year about forty weightlifters are suspended due to doping use, especially just before the Olympic Games. This time it was no different.

Of both the Greek and Bulgarian teams, eleven weightlifters were caught. The Indians also found a sinner, and suspected a number of other athletes as well.

Mohammed Jassim (1981-) from Iraq was caught doping after the Asian Championships and was not allowed to go to the Beijing Olympics.

The Bulgarian federation threw Alan Tsagaev (1977-) out of the Olympic selection after he tested positive for anabolics. Together with him, seven Bulgarian men and three women were banned: Ivaylo Filev (1987-), Demir Demirev (1984-), Mehmed Fikretov (1986-), Ivan Stoitsov (1979-), Iwan Markov (1988-), Georgi Markov (1988-), Velichko Cholakov (1982-2017), Milka Maneva (1985-), Donka Mincheva (1973-) and Gergana Kirilova (1972-).

Alan Tsagaev (1977-) already delivered a positive test after the 2004 Olympics, because this was his second offense he was banned for life. Georgi Markov (1988-) also got a life sentence, he handed in a urine sample from someone else after the 2003 World Cup. Demir Demirev (1984-), Iwan Markov (1988- and Milka Maneva (1985-) were unexpectedly checked for a training camp at their 2015 rehearsal, and that test indicated the use of stanazolol, forcing them to leave for eighteen months.

Velichko Cholakov (1982-2017) died of a heart attack at the age of 35. He captured the bronze medal in the +105 kg category during the 2004 Olympics in Athens. That same year he also became European champion in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Two years later he won the silver medcal at the European Championship. In 2008, just before the start of the Beijing Olympics, he tested positive for steroids. After serving his sentence, Cholakov took the Azerbaijani nationality. In 2012, he was about to participate in the London Olympics, when he had to give up due to health problems.

Australian Belinda Van Tienen (1987-) was suspended for two years after a two-year investigation because Benzylpiperazine (BZP) was found in her urine. She too could forget about Beijing.

Monika Devi (1983-) was selected by India for the Olympics, but she had to stay at home because she had tested positive just before. She also received a two-year suspension.


In July it appeared that the Chinese Luo Meng had swallowed diuretics, together with his coach Zhang Hua (1935-) he had to leave for life.

During the Games


Pole Adam Seroczynski (1974-) was suspended for two years when it appeared that he had used Clenbuterol. With that he was also the first canoeist that got caught.


Spanish Maria Isabel Moreno (1981-) would normally participate in the road race, but when she arrived in Beijing, she tested positive for EPO, after which she left China in a panic.

Equestrian sport

German rider Christian Ahlmann (1974-) was closed out of the Olympics after his horse Cöster (1993-2016) tested positive for Capsaicin. After the Olympics, Ahlmann received from his Olympic Committee the bill for transportation and subsistence expenses and was removed from the German A-squad. He also received a four-month suspension, which was later doubled. When Ahlmann appealed against this, the suspension was even extended to two years.

Brazilian Bernardo Alves (1974-) had also put the narcotic Capsaicin on the legs of his horse Chupa Chup and was excluded from the Olympics.

Brazilian Rodrigo Pessoa (1972-) had given his horse Rufus Nonivamide and was deleted from the rankings.

Capasaicin was also found on the horse Lantinus of Irish Denis Lynch (1976-), on which he was allowed to pack.

Dermot Henihan, head of the Irish delegation, refused to exchange another word with Lynch. He called the incident "a bitter pill to swallow" and even threatened to keep the entire Irish team away from the next Olympics.

In an interview with the Irish Indepent, the president of the Irish Olympic Committee Pat Hickey (1945-) accused Lynch of dragging Irish equestrian sport 'through the mud' and feared that the incident would have serious consequences for the Irish equestrian industry.

Damien McDonald (1972-), head of the Irish equestrian sport, called the event a 'nightmare'. He even feared that jumping would disappear from the Olympics.

Because Camiro, the horse of Norwegian Tony Andre Hansen (1979-), also reacted positive to Capsaicin, Morten Djupvik (1972-), Stein Endresen (1959-), and Geir Gulliksen (1963-) had to hand in their team bronze medal. Of course Hansen was not allowed to participate in the individual test and he received 4.5 months suspension.

American dressage rider Courtney King (1979-) had administered her horse Felbinac, her return ticket was also ready.


Vietnamese Dô Thi Ngân Thur'o'ng (1989-) participated in artistic gymnastics, but was caught during a check on the use of Furosemide, on which she was sent home.


North Korean shooter Kim Jong Su (1977-) captured the silver medal in 50m pistol shooting and the bronze medal in 10m air pistol, but he had to return the medals after a positive pee for Propanolol. Normally hypertension is treated with this beta-blocker, but with shooters it is very popular to prevent trembling.


16-year-old Luxembourger Raphaël Stacchiotti (1992-) swam the 200m freestyle, in October it became known that he had tested positive on glucocorticoids.

Track and Field

Russian 3000m steeple runner Roman Usov (1978-) could pack his bags after his pee signaled the use of Carfedon.

Greek Fani Chalkia (1979-), who won the 400m hurdles at the 2004 Olympics, was the top favorite for that competition in Beijing. On the third day, it became known that a doping test in Japan indicated the use of methylfienolone a few weeks before. She was banned from the Olympics promptly and received later a two-year suspension.

Lyudmyla Blonska (1977-) captured the silver medal in the heptathlon, but the Ukrainian lost her medal when it turned out that she had used methyltestosterone. Since she was caught for the second time, she, and her husband who coached her, got a lifetime sentence.

Greek Athanasia Tsoumeleka (1982-) participated in the 20 km speed walk, but it turned out that this was done with the help of CERA. Given that she had delivered a positive pee just before the Olympics, that meant a lifelong suspension. She kept the honor to herself and announced her goodbye.

Russian fast walker Igor Yerokhin Erokhin (1985-) tested positive and was suspended for two years. In 2013, abnormal blood values were found in his biological passport and he received lifetime suspension.

Cypriot Alissa Kallinikou (1985-) ran the 400m. But one month before the Olympics, she had tested positive for testosterone and because the result was only known after the Olympiad, she was suspended for two years with retroactive effect.


Ukrainian Igor Razoronov (1970-) was excluded after a positive Nandrolone test.

IOC accused

Led by English Sarah Lewis (1964 -), Secretary General of the World Ski Federation, a group of observers accused the IOC of serious violations of the doping controls. For example, 300 doping samples were claimed to be missing and 140 results were alledgedly changed. Moreover, 102 National Olympic Committees did not meet their obligations to the IOC, which remained without consequences.

Results of new tests after the Games

Bulgarian Tezdzhan Naimova (1987-) ran the 100m in Beijing, but did not make it through the preliminary round. In 2009, the Bulgarian Athletics Federation announced that she had tampered with her urine test a month before the Olympics and was suspended for two years with retroactive effect. In 2013, she won the 60m indoor at the European Championship in Gothenburg, but the check afterwards pointed to the use of drostalonon. The verdict was a lifelong suspension because it was her second positive test.

The 4770 frozen doping tests from Beijing were re-examined in the IOC laboratories in Lausanne from the beginning of 2009. Thanks to a new test that also allowed the detection of the modern EPO variant CERA, many athletes were caught.

Most amazing was Rashid Ramzi (1980-) from Bahrain, who had won the 1,500m. Ramzi, born in Morocco, had to hand in his gold medal and was suspended for two years.

The new tests the year after the Olympics revealed that Italian Davide Rebellin (1971-), who won the silver medal, and German Stefan Schumacher (1981-) had used the new drug CERA in the road race, they were suspended for two years.

Croatian runner Vanja Perišic (1985-) tested positive for CERA during the post-Olympic check of 948 blood samples. It earned her a two-year suspension.

After the Games, hammer throwers Wadsim Dsewjatouski (1977-), winner of the silver medal, and Iwan Zichan (1976-), winner of the bronze medal, responded positive on Testosterone, for which the Belarusians had to surrender the medal. It was the second time for both of them and that meant a lifelong suspension.

During the retesting of the blood samples taken from the Ethiopian-born Turkish Elvan Abeylegesse or Elvan Can (1982-) after the 2007 Athletics World Cup, it appeared that she had taken stimulants. All its results were scrapped retroactively between August 2007 and 2009, including the Olympic silver medals at the 5,000 and 10,000m in Beijing.

32 new cases were discovered in May 2016, including 14 Russian athletes with 2012 Olympic champion Anna Chicherova (1982-) as the best known, thereby losing her bronze medal she won at the 2008 Olympics.

A month later, seven weightlifters were caught: Armenian Hripsime Khurshudyan (1987-), Azerbaijan Intigam Zairov (1985-), Moldavian Alexandru Dudoglo (1989-), gold medalist Ilya Ilyin (1988-) from Kazakhstan, bronze medalist Nadezda Evstyukhina (1988-) and silver medalist Marina Shainova (1986-) from Russia and Turkish Nurcan Taylan (1983-).

In July followed the Turkish weightlifter Sibel Özkan (1988-) who had to hand in her silver medal and the Belarusian Aksana Miankova (1982-) who won the gold medal in hammer throw.

On August 16, the Russian women's quartets of 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m had to hand in their gold medals, because of 100 m runner Yuliya Chermoshanskaya (1986-) and 400 m runners Anastasiya Kapachinskaya (1979-) and Tatyana Firova (1982-) prohibited drugs were discovered.

A whole series of weightlifters followed on 24 August: Azerbaijaan Nizami Pashayev (1981-), Belarusians Iryna Kulesha (1986-), Nastassia Novikava (1981-) and Andrei Rybakou (1982-), Chineses Cao Lei (1983-) , Chen Xiexia (1983-) and Liu Chunhong (1983-), Kazakhs Mariya Grabovetskaya (1987-), Maya Maneza (1985-), Irina Nekrassova (1988-) and Vladimir Sedov (1988-), Russians Khadzhimurat Akkaev ( 1985-) and Dmitry Lapikov (1982-) and Ukrainians Natalya Davydova (1985-) and Olha Korobka (1985-).

On August 29, it was reported that Artur Taymazov (1979-) from Uzbekistan had to hand in his gold medal that he had won in the category up to 120 kg in wrestling freestyle.

The row of caught weightlifters grew steadily, on August 31 five more were caught: the Russian bronze medalist Nadezhda Evstyukhina (1988-) and silver medalist Marina Shainova (1986-), bronze medalist Tigran Martirosyan (1988-) from Armenia and Alexandru Dudoglo (1989-) from Moldova.

On 1 September Cuban Yarelys Barrios (1983-), silver medalist in discus throw, and Samuel Francis (1987-) a 100m runner from Qartar were disqualified.

On 13 September four Russians were added to the list: Mariya Abakumova (1986-) silver medalist in javelin throw, Denis Alekseyev (1987-), bronze medlaist with the relay team 4 × 400m, 10,000m runner Inga Abitova (1982-) and cyclist Ekaterina Gnidenko (1992-).

On September 23 followed Vasyl Fedoryshyn (1981-) from Ukraine who won the silver medal in the category up to 60 kg in wrestling freestyle.

25 weightlifters were removed from the rankings on 6 October 2016.

On 26 October 2016, the IOC disqualified nine athletes, including six medal winners: Belarusian weightlifters Andrei Rybakou (1982-) and Nastassia Novikava (1981-), Olha Korobka (1985-) from Ukraine and Sardar Hasanov (1985-) from Azerbaijan, Russian Ekaterina Volkova (1978-), who won the bronze medal on the 3,000m steeple, free style wrestlers Soslan Tigiev (1983-) from Uzbekistan and Taimuraz Tigiyev (1982-) from Kazakhstan, Cuban long jumper Wilfredo Martinez (1985-) and Spanish 100m hurdler runner Josephine Nnkiruka (1986-).

On November 17, 16 new athletes followed, including 10 medal winners: weightlifters Khadzhimurat Akkayev (1895-) and Dmitry Lapikov (1982-) from Russia, Mariya Grabovetskaya (1987-), Maiya Maneza (1985-), Vladimir Sedov (1988-) and Irina Nekrassova (1988-) from Kazakhstan, Nataliya Davydova (1985-) from Ukraine, Iryna Kulesha (1986-) from Belarus, Nizami Pashayev (1981-) from Azerbaijan, high jumpers Vita Palamar (1977-) from Ukraine and Elena Slesarenko (1982-) from Russia, wrestlers Asset Mambetov (1982-) from Kazakhstan, Vitaliy Rahimov (1984-) from Azerbaijan and Khasan Baroyev (1982-) from Russia, pole vaulter Denys Yurchenko (1978-) from Ukraine and Greek triple-jumper Hrysopiyí Devetzí (1976-).

On 25 November the IOC took the gold medal from weightlifter Ilya Ilin (1988-) from Kazakhstan and from hammer thrower Aksana Miankova (1982-) from Belarus and the silver medal from Belarusian shot putter Natallia Mikhnevich (1982-). Belarusian shot putter Pavel Lyzhyn (1981-) and fellow 800m runner Sviatlana Usovich (1980-) were deleted from the rankings.

On 12 January 2017, the IOC took the gold medals from Chinese weightlifters Lei Cao (1983-), Xiexia Chen (1983-) and Chunhong Liu (1983-). For Belarus, shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk (1980-) had to hand in the bronze medal and hammer thrower Darya Pchelnik (1981-) was removed from the ranking.

On January 25, 2017, the IOC reclaimed the gold medals from the Jamaican 4 × 100m relay team because Nesta Carter (1985-) had tested positive for methylhexaneamine, which also forced Usain Bolt (1986-) to return one of his many medals. Because she tested positive for turinabol, Russian Tatyana Lebedeva (1976-) lost the silver medals she had won in the long jump and triple jump.

On 1 March 2017, the IOC took Ukrainian Victoria Tereshchuk (1982-) from the bronze medal she won in the modern pentathlon for using turinabol.

When the IOC in April 2017 looked at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, it turned out that 50 Olympians had to surrender their medals for doping use, with a Russian record of 14 places of honor.