What really happens when an Olympic athlete takes a drug test? Local 4 Dr. Frank McGeorge says it's a lot more invasive, and potentially embarrassing, than you might imagine.
Do you know where you're going to be for every hour of every day for the next 3 months? Even if you do, would you want to share the information? If you're an elite athlete in the U.S. Anti-Doping Association's registered testing pool that oversees Olympians -- that's pretty much what you have to do.
Potential Olympians can be tested anytime, anywhere, but to help narrow it down a bit, they must provide a 60-minute time frame and exact location for every single day.
If you say you're going to be in bed, at home, from 6 to am, you better be there. If the sample collection people show up and you're not there, you'll be on the road to suspension.
When an athlete is selected for testing and the officials show up, they don't leave your side until a sample is provided. That's partly because one way to cheat is to insert a catheter into your bladder and fill it with urine from someone who isn't taking banned substances.
When athletes are providing the sample, they are required to roll up their sleeves up to their elbows and disrobe from their bellybutton to their knees in front of the official, so there is no way to fill the specimen jar except naturally.
Athletes are tested at random in general, although clearly some top athletes are definitely tested more often.
According to the U.S.A.D.A. in 2008, Michael Phelps was tested 20 times, while Ryan Lochte was only tested 6 times. But in the past three years, the tables have turned and Phelps was tested 44 times while Lochte was tested 56 times. Compare that to a newcomer like Allison Schmitt, who was only tested 18 times.
Occasionally the testing is a blessing in disguise. U.S. beach volleyball player Jake Gibbs tested positive for a banned hormone, but after further investigation, it turns out the hormone was elevated because he had testicular cancer, which is now being treated.
To look up the testing records for your favorite Olympian, click here.
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