Britain says Olympic doping lab will catch cheats

Britain says Olympic doping lab will catch cheats

Published Jan. 19, 2012 6:44 p.m. ET

A new doping lab will be used to catch athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs during the London Olympics, scientists and government officials said Thursday.

The lab, which covers the size of seven tennis courts and is located outside London in the town of Harlow, will house a team of more than 150 scientists working 24 hours a day during the games.

More than 6,250 samples - or up to 400 a day - will be tested during the Olympics and the Paralympics.

''With 50 percent of the athletes being tested, anybody who does try to cheat will stand a good chance of detection,'' said Professor David Cowan of King's College, head of the doping team. ''For any athlete who wants to cheat when they come to London, my advice is just don't come.''


More than 10,000 athletes will be competing during the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics. All medalists will be tested, and others at random. Athletes can be tested at any time or anywhere during the games, including at residences and training sites.

British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson called the testing facility the ''most up-to-date, modern testing lab that exists anywhere in the world.''

''Of course we cannot absolutely guarantee that these will be a drug-free games, but we can guarantee we have got the very best system possible to try to catch anybody who even thinks of cheating,'' he said.

The International Olympic Committee stores doping samples for eight years so they can be tested retroactively when new detection methods are devised.