LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — An effective blood test for
detecting human growth hormone will be in place for the Beijing
Olympics, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday.
HGH is considered one of the most widely abused
performance-enhancing drugs, and experts say athletes have been
able to use it with little fear of being caught. The substance
clears the system quickly, making testing difficult.
“By the Olympic Games there will be a capacity to detect HGH,”
WADA president John Fahey said.
A test was used at the 2004 Athens and 2006 Turin Olympics but
yielded no positives because athletes using it would have stopped
in time to make sure it cleared the system beforehand. The latest
development should allow for more routine testing out of
“We know people have been taking human growth hormone with
impunity and have been for 20 years,” WADA director general David
He said the test would be able to catch cheats within a window
of “more than 48 hours.”
Officials refused to give details, saying drug cheats needed to
be left in the dark. But Fahey did say he was very confident about
“We all know these things end up in court more often than
not,” he said. “It’s got to withstand the legal challenge as
well. No reason to believe that all of that won’t be in place and
that there will be a capacity to test at the Beijing Olympics.”
Fahey said traces of the drug could also be frozen and stored in
samples for up to eight years, meaning users could still be caught
and lose their medals years later.