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Anti-Doping Lab Unveiled for Winter Olympics

More than 2,000 urine and blood samples will be tested during the Vancouver Olympics as part of a $16.4 million effort to catch drug cheats. A state-of-the-art doping lab for the Feb. 12-28 Games has been unveiled at the Olympic speedskating oval in Richmond.

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More than 2,000 urine and blood samples will be tested during the Vancouver Olympics as part of a $16.4 million effort to catch drug cheats.

A state-of-the-art doping lab for the Feb. 12-28 Games has been unveiled at the Olympic speedskating oval in Richmond.

The 14,530-ft2 facility is a replica of the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab in Montreal. The building cost $8.9 million, with another $7.5 million for operations.

"This lab will utilize the finest techniques and methods available to detect the use of prohibited substances in blood and urine samples collected from athletes," says the lab's director Christiane Ayotte.

Ayotte acknowledges it will be impossible to catch all cheaters. "We cannot say pure sport, pure games," she says. "We put in the best energy, and I'm 100% confident that nobody can do better than what we'-re doing now, what we will be doing."

Besides standard testing, Vancouver anti-doping officials will conduct random and target testing based on intelligence.

Starting on January, 30 technicians will be working at the lab around the clock. Testing will begin on Feb. 4, when pre-competition urine and blood samples are taken.

Vancouver officials say it's likely the first time in Olympic history that a doping lab has been located within a secure sporting venue.

Nearly 500 trained volunteers will collect samples at the various sports venues in Vancouver and Whistler. Drivers will deliver the samples to the Richmond lab and deposit them through a slot, sending them directly into a refrigeration unit for processing. Test results should be known within 72 hr.

About 2,000 samples will be taken from Olympic athletes, and 425 from athletes at the subsequent Paralympic Games. By comparison, 1,200 samples were tested during the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

After the games, the doping lab will be used to house a sports medicine center and sports science services.

Source: Associated Press