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Decorated Olympian Complains of Faulty Anti-Doping Containers at Pyeongchang 2018

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Norwegian cross-country skier and eight-time Olympic champion Marit Bjørgen has complained about the quality of containers used to hold anti-doping samples at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, suggesting they were not totally secure. Photo: Bjørn S. Delebekk

By James Diamond |

Norwegian cross-country skier and eight-time Olympic champion Marit Bjørgen has complained about the quality of containers used to hold anti-doping samples at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, suggesting they were not totally secure.

The 38-year-old, who is now retired, reportedly told Norwegian television channel NRK that a container she used during the competition smashed as she closed it.

“I closed the container and the bank was shattered into pieces,” she is quoted as saying.

“The doping officer suggested that there was a crack in the container.”

Bjørgen said she was concerned that had the container not smashed and the crack was later discovered, she could have been accused of manipulating the anti-doping sample.

“I don’t know what would happen if a crack was found in the container with my doping sample,” she said.

“I was a little scared after what happened at the 2014 Olympics [in] Sochi.”

Scratches found on containers holding anti-doping samples at the Sochi Games were taken as evidence of a Russian state sponsored doping program after the ex-head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov confessed such a system had existed.

It was previously thought the bottles were tamper-proof, but in 2016 Rodchenkov told The New York Times how Russian officials had worked out how to open them and swap tainted urine samples for clean ones during Sochi 2014.

Scratches subsequently found on Russian samples were then thought to prove Rodchenkov’s confession was true.

Russian news agency TASS, however, have used Bjørgen’s story to suggest the scratches found on Sochi containers may not have been caused by tampering but due to poor quality.

An investigation into possible tampering was launched, TASS said, “because of scratches on the banks for doping tests”.

Bjørgen retired from cross-country skiing at the end of the 2017-2018 season.

At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang she won two golds and one silver, becoming the most decorated athlete in Winter Olympic history with 15 medals in all.

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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