Brazilian cyclist Kleber Da Silva Ramos is one of the latest Oympians to fail a doping test during the Rio games. The 30-year-old failed the pre-Olympics drug test on July 31 and is barred from competing until a verdict is reached in his case.
The UCI, cycling’s governing body, has reported that Kleber tested positive for Cera, a banned blood boosting drug. Cera isn’t new to the world of cycling or to the Olympics. The EPO (erythropoietin) was first detected in 2009 as cyclists tested positive for the substance.
Da Silva Ramos competed in the men’s Olympic road race on August 6, but his status remains suspended until the International Olympics Committee (IOC) makes a ruling on his case.
According to CNN, Brazil’s drug testing practices have come under scrutiny from the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). Brazil takes significantly fewer samples from its athletes than normal and delays in delivering the samples gave WADA cause for concern that corruption was happening.
Brazil’s team of 477 athletes is the second largest competing in the Rio Olympics. Considering the amount of worldwide anxiety about Rio’s ability to host the 2016 games, the doping issues are just one more item in a long list of concerns.
The issue of doping began when WADA’s only accredited laboratory in Brazil faced a month long shut down for undisclosed reasons. This closure caused a serious delay in testing that normally takes place in the beginning of July. The lapse in access to accredited facilities has created holes in team testing and made it difficult to complete proper testing a month before the games, which is critical to guarantee athletes won’t fail doping tests.
Now, the WADA laboratory is up and running and will conduct 6,000 doping tests for teams across the world. However, retrospective testing still remains difficult because of the initial delay.
Kleber isn’t the first Olympic athlete to fail a doping test during the Rio 2016 games. The Russian track and field team was banned way before the Rio even games began in July when a wide-reaching doping conspiracy was discovered. Doping and failed drug tests aren’t anything new for Russia or for East Germany, a country that conducted elaborate doping schemes throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
In more recent developments, 18-year-old Chinese swimmer was also suspended from competing after failing a doping test. According to USA Today, the dynamo swimmer was expected to be an athlete to watch during the 2016 Rio games, but now the Xinyi has accepted a “provisional suspension on a voluntary basis” after appearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Polish weightlifter Adrian Zielinski has also been declared ineligible to compete after a failed doping test. The athlete will join his brother, Tomasz, another weightlifter back in their home country after Tomasz was banned from competing in the Poland Championship in July when he tested positive for nandrolene. Adrian was the 2012 weightlifting champion at the London Olympics, but this doping discovery may permanently hurt his ability to compete.
Doping has always been a concern at the Olympics, but with everything else going on at the Rio games, from security concerns, pollution, and inadequate facilities, this is just one more issue with the 2016 Olympics.
Shortly after arriving in Brazil, another athlete, Bulgarian steeple runner Silvia Danekova also failed a doping test. Her case has already been heard by the CAS and she has officially been declared “ineligible to compete.”
The Rio Olympics are now halfway over, ending on August 21, but the cases of failed doping tests may not be over. Considering Brazil’s lax policy on testing the country’s athletes and the continued discovery of new doping cases, there may be more disqualified athletes before the games conclude.