December 12, 2008

Medal Table Moves

Quick quiz: what was Canada's final rank, in terms of total medals won, at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games?

The correct answer is: check back in 2016 and we'll let you know. As specified in Article 6.5 of The IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Beijing 2008:

Samples shall be stored in a secure manner at the laboratory or as otherwise directed by the IOC and may be further analysed. Consistent with Article 17 of the [WADA] Code the ownership of the samples is vested in the IOC for the eight years. During this period, the IOC shall have the right to re-analyse samples (taken during the Period of the Olympic Games). Any anti-doping rule violation discovered as a result thereof shall be dealt with in accordance with these Rules.

The reason I bring this up is that on Thursday, the IOC ruled on three doping cases arising from positive tests in Beijing. Two of those were medalists in the men's hammer throw from Belarus (both, incidentally, tested positive for exogenous testosterone). Belarus won 19 medals in Beijing, including the silver and bronze in question; the IOC ruling will reduce their total to 17. The two medals in question will pass to Hungary and Japan. Canadian James Steacy moves up from 12th to 10th.

Once the IAAF strips the Belorussian athletes of their medals, Canada — with 18 medals — will move from a tie for fourteenth place into a tie for thirteenth place, nearly four months after the Beijing Closing Ceremony.