THE BIG PICTURE: Another doping positive from London raises the total to 121

The International Olympic Committee announced Friday that “Davit Modzmanashvili, 37, of Uzbekistan, competing in the Men’s Freestyle Wrestling 120kg event (Qualifications and Finals) in which he ranked 2nd and was awarded the silver medal, has been disqualified from the Olympic Games London 2012. Re-analysis of Modzmanashvili’s samples from London 2012 resulted in a positive test for the prohibited substance dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (oral turinabol).”

This adds yet another positive to the London list, and occasioned a terrific post by Dr. Bill Mallon, one of the finest Olympic statisticians in the world, on the OlympStats site, a worthwhile destination for stat geeks of all generations.

Mallon has been keeping count of the doping results and notes the breakdown of the torrent of positives that have come from the IOC’s program of re-testing samples to take advantage of better detection methods. Some of the numbers:

● There have been 114 confirmed positives from the 2012 Games and seven which are “pending,” meaning subject to appeal. Of these, four were pre-Games positives, 11 were announced during the Games and 106 were found in the re-testing process. That tells you how prevalent doping was even seven years ago. Is it still?

● Of the 121 positives, 45 were men and 76 were women. Not sure there is any inference to draw from that (suggestions welcome).

● The 121 positives came from 26 countries; the leaders include:

1. 38 Russia
2. 16 Ukraine
3. 12 Belarus and Turkey
5. 6 Kazakhstan

Mallon notes that 85 of the 121 (70.2%) came from countries that were at one time part of the Soviet Union.

● Nine sports had positives:

1. 80 Athletics
2. 30 Weightlifting
3. 3 Cycling and Wrestling
5. 1 Boxing, Gymnastics, Judo, Rowing, Swimming

Mallon, an accomplished physician and surgeon, further noted that “Of the announced violations (114), fully 50 of them are for Turinabol (dehydrochloromethyltestosterone = DHCMT), often combined with other drugs. Why Turinabol? Turinabol was developed in the former East Germany, by the pharmaceutical company Jenapharm. It was originally only detectable for a few days after administration, but a test developed in 2012 by Grigory Rodchenkov (a familiar name in the Russian doping scandal) enabled it to be detected for up to 50 days after administration. Thus, many athletes who thought they were safe in 2012 were later detected by the use of that test.”

These figures beg the question of how many other doping positives have there been in other Games? Mallon, of course, has the list and while London 2012 was the worst – by far – many other Games have had plenty of disqualifications. The full details of the 418 Olympic doping positives are listed here.

These compilations are a wonderful job by Mallon and friends; thanks, Bill!

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