Sportswear brand Adidas has moved to suspend its contract with Tyson Gay, the U.S. sprinter, as sports administrators began to react Monday to the latest body blow to hit the flagship Olympic sport of athletics.
In comments following the disclosure that both Gay and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell had tested positive in findings disclosed less than a month before the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, said he was “naturally disappointed.”
But, in a statement to The Associated Press, the soon-to-retire IOC leader reiterated the body’s zero-tolerance policy against doping.
“Clearly, the fight against doping can never be totally won, but these cases do once again show the effectiveness of the strong, sophisticated and continually evolving battle against doping in sport being waged by the International Olympic Committee and its partners in the Olympic Movement,” Rogge said. “While not perfect, the methods are ever improving, with blood passports and the ability to test athletes 24/7 in and out of competition proving to be effective in catching cheats and acting as deterrents.”
For the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), spokesman Nick Davies said the body’s commitment to anti-doping was “unwavering because we have an ethical obligation to the majority of athletes who believe in clean sport.
“It is for them that we have built a programme that is well-resourced, far-reaching and sophisticated.
“The fact that we are able to detect and remove from the sport athletes who have breached our anti-doping rules should be seen in this context.
“The credibility of our anti-doping programme, and the sport of athletics, is enhanced, not diminished each time we are able to uncover a new case.”
Adidas said it was “shocked by these recent allegations, and even if we presume his innocence until proven otherwise, our contract with Tyson is currently suspended.”
Gay said yesterday that he had been notified by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that an out-of-competition sample had tested positive. He said he would pull out of the World Championships and that his ‘B’ sample would be tested soon. He declined to identify the substance involved, but said he had “put my trust in someone and I was let down.” He said he competed clean because he believed in fairness.
Powell confirmed that a sample he gave at the Jamaican national trials in June had returned “adverse findings” for oxilofrine. He said he had “never knowingly or wilfully taken any supplements or substances that break any rules. “I am not now – nor have I ever been – a cheat.”