March 15, 2016

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) A special World Anti-Doping Agency task force will identify athletes who should be targeted for drug-testing ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to deter and weed out any cheats before they get to the games, the IOC said Tuesday.

The IOC also confirmed, as reported by The Associated Press last week, that hundreds of doping samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games are currently being reanalyzed with enhanced tests before Rio to catch any athletes who escaped detection at the time.

The International Olympic Committee said a WADA task force is gathering information and intelligence, identifying any gaps in pre-games testing and coordinating extra doping checks in the lead-up to the Rio Games in August.

The task force ''will identify athletes or groups of athletes who should be included in registered testing pools, and those who the IOC should test during the four-week period'' of the Olympics, it said.

The WADA group will work with national anti-doping agencies of Australia, Denmark, Japan, South Africa, Britain and the United States.

The task force will advise the IOC and Rio organizers who should be tested, both in and out of competition. The intelligence will be used to finalize the day-by-day testing plan during the period of the games, which begins with the opening of the athletes village on July 24.

''We are trying passionately to protect those clean athletes who are going to Rio,'' IOC medical director Dr. Richard Budgett said. ''And the best way to do that is to catch the cheats and deter the cheats before we get to Rio de Janeiro.''

As Budgett told the AP in an interview in London last week, the IOC said hundreds of selected samples from the Beijing and London Olympics are being reanalyzed before Rio. The IOC stores samples for 10 years so they can be retested when improved techniques become available.

''The IOC and WADA have together identified and agreed on the sports and countries being targeted,'' the committee said. ''This includes in particular athletes likely to compete in Rio de Janeiro who also competed in London and Beijing, and specific methods of analysis where there have been advances.''

Budgett said the results will be known in a number of weeks or months.

''The aim of the program is to prevent athletes who cheated in London or Beijing, and got away with it because we didn't have as advanced methods of analysis as we do now, from competing in Rio de Janeiro,'' he said.

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