Revelations by ARD Anti-Doping Editorial Team Continue to Generate Discussions

Polish Canoeist Demands Compensation from the IOC

Hajo Seppelt and Felix Becker

One week after the clenbuterol revelations: Adam Seroczynski contemplates taking action for damages against the IOC. Thomas Bach headed the Disciplinary Commission in 2008, which rejected meat contamination as the cause. Ground-breaking new methods announced in the field of testing and analytics.

Adam Seroczynski, the canoeist banned at the 2008 Games in Beijing for a positive clenbuterol result, has said in an interview with the ARD anti-doping editorial staff that he wants to restore his reputation. The Polish athlete is considering taking action for damages against the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"I think the behaviour by the IOC is a complete scandal. And they didn’t deal with my case in a way that was important for me. So my lawyer and I will definitely now try to fight for my rights. I want to prove that I’m completely clean. And if we win, if the court ruling proves that I’m right, we will definitely look at the options for getting compensation, for getting some kind of financial redress for me."

Polish sports officials have also pointed out a tantalizing detail in this connection: The president of the IOC today, Thomas Bach, was deeply involved personally in the two-year ban issued to the Polish canoeist. As the head of the Disciplinary Committee, he signed the ruling. At that time, meat contamination was not regarded as a credible cause for a positive test result.

New analysis options

In order to be able to differentiate better in the future between doping and meat contamination, anti-doping researchers in Europe are working on new testing and analysis options. Mario Thevis from the anti-doping lab in Cologne outlines their efforts to the ARD:

Mario Thevis | Bildquelle: ard

"We've had research projects ongoing in this area for several years now. And they’re taking a range of approaches here. Our own efforts are also focusing on achieving verification, and on the differences, on what distinguishes clenbuterol when it comes from contaminated meat, or when it is in fact from the deliberate taking of medicaments, from drugs."

Thevis went on to say that such a verification method could already become reality by 2018. The question is: In the event that doping is verified in cases with samples from Beijing, will the IOC be prepared to pursue these cases on a legal level as well? When asked by the ARD anti-doping editorial staff about this, the IOC informed them that it does not respond to "hypothetical questions".

"Question becomes, are there any patterns?"

In the current suspicious case of the Jamaican Olympic team, even Renee Anne Shirley – the former executive director of the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission and one of the few critical voices in Jamaican sports – regards meat contamination as a conceivable cause:

"I mean, we don’t have angels. I mean, I don’t think any country does. But when I’m hearing that there are low levels of clenbuterol, that is something that I could see being put down to food contamination. Question becomes, are there any patterns, who were the athletes, did they come out of a particular camp? All these types of issues are things I would presume that will have to be looked at."

IOC didn't answer more questions

Why has the IOC decided not to let the results be confirmed, to keep the cases secret and halt the investigations? When the ARD posed this question to them, the IOC said that they had nothing further to add to their statement from April 1st.