Bolt's gold in peril as relay mate tests positive

KINGSTON • Usain Bolt's 2008 Olympics 4x100m relay gold medal could be in jeopardy after team-mate Nesta Carter was identified as one of 32 athletes who failed a retrospective drugs test.

The Jamaica Gleaner reported yesterday that a retest of Carter's 'A' sample from the Beijing Games had found traces of the banned stimulant methylhexanamine.

The result of retests of Carter's 'B' sample was not yet known, the Gleaner said, citing "well-placed sources".

Carter, 30, ran the first leg for Jamaica's 4x100m relay team in Beijing, which also included Michael Frater, Asafa Powell and Bolt. The team took gold in what was then a world record time of 37.10sec, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and Japan.

Carter was also a member of Jamaica's gold medal-winning relay teams at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 world championships, as well as the 2012 Olympic Games.

If Carter is subjected to doping sanctions, it could mean Bolt stands to lose his relay gold.

In previous doping cases where individual members of a medal-winning relay squad have tested positive, the whole team was stripped of their medal. The United States men's 4x100m team were stripped of their silver medals from the 2012 Olympics after Tyson Gay's doping case.

Neither Carter nor his agent replied to repeated requests for comment. Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Michael Fennell also declined to comment.

Methylhexanamine has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) prohibited list since 2004, although it was reclassified on the 2011 list as a "specified substance".

Wada defines specified substances as those that are more susceptible to a "credible, non-doping explanation".

Sold as a nasal decongestant in the United States until 1983, methylhexanamine has been used more recently as an ingredient in dietary supplements.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) programme of revisiting samples is aimed at using developments in testing techniques to expose traces of drugs that were undetectable in 2008 or 2012.

Doping cases are usually handled by the relevant national federations and national anti-doping agencies, but the IOC has decided that any arising from the re-tests will be dealt with directly by them.

"We want to keep dopers away from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This is why we are acting swiftly now," IOC president Thomas Bach said last week.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Bolt's gold in peril as relay mate tests positive'. Print Edition | Subscribe