Usain Bolt may lose gold medal after Carter 'fails drugs test'
June 4, 2016 - 9:29AM
Usain Bolt could be stripped of one of his six Olympic titles after allegations that one of his Jamaican 4x100metres team-mates with whom he won gold at the 2008 Games has tested positive for a banned substance.
The world's greatest track-and-field star is facing the devastating news that Nesta Carter is reportedly among those to fail a drugs test in the re-analysis of urine and blood samples from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Carter is understood to be on the list of 31 athletes who failed those retests, which took place last month using the latest scientific techniques in order to weed out drugs cheats ahead of Rio 2016.
Carter, the sixth-fastest 100m runner of all time, ran the opening leg of the Olympic final eight years ago as Jamaica stormed to victory in a world-record 37.10sec, helping Bolt to a clean sweep of sprint titles as he burst on to the global stage at his first Games.
Unless Carter manages to clear his name, all four members of the Jamaican relay team - which also included Michael Frater and Asafa Powell - could lose their Beijing medals, ruining Bolt's perfect Olympic record.
Such a punishment would also destroy Bolt's attempt to complete an unprecedented hat-trick of 100m, 200m and 4x100m triumphs this summer in Rio. There is no suggestion that Bolt has committed any anti-doping offence.
Mike Fennell, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, refused to confirm or deny the news, while Carter's agent has failed to respond to repeated attempts to contact him. Both the International Olympic Committee and International Association of Athletics Federations declined to comment.
Traces of a prohibited substance were found when the IOC tested Carter's 'A' sample from the 2008 Games as part of a batch of 454 people they identified as likely to compete at this summer's Rio Olympics. It is understood that his 'B' sample test is due to be re-analysed in Lausanne later this month.
With a 100m personal best of 9.78sec set in 2010, Carter has been a crucial member of the all-conquering Jamaican 4x100m team led by Bolt, winning two Olympic and three world titles over the past six years. He also won individual 100m bronze at the 2013 World Championships.
Carter, who has not yet run this year, plies his trade at Jamaica's MVP track club alongside double Olympic sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and formerly Powell, before he left two years ago. Bolt, on the other hand, runs at Racers, Jamaica's other leading athletics club and MVP's main rivals, who also boast Yohan Blake and Warren Weir in their ranks.
Should Carter's failed test be confirmed by analysis of his 'B' sample, the IOC is likely to impose a backdated ban and annul any results from the period when the offence took place. Such a sanction could also impact on relay medals he won alongside Bolt at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Championships and London 2012 Olympics.
It is possible that the IOC could strip all Jamaican relay team members of any medals won during the time of Carter's offence, as with the United States men's 4x100m team who had their London 2012 silver medals taken away after Tyson Gay failed a drugs test.
However, when fellow American Marion Jones was stripped of her two relay medals from the Sydney Games for doping offences, her team-mates kept theirs after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
As well as potentially putting a blemish on Bolt's perfect Olympic record, confirmation of Carter's failed test would add his name to an ignominious list of the fastest men in the world to have committed doping offences.
Behind Bolt, who holds the world record with 9.58sec, every other man to run under 9.79sec has served a drugs ban, with Gay (9.69), Blake (9.69), Powell (9.72) and Justin Gatlin (9.74) all falling foul of anti-doping regulations.
So far 14 Russians and one Spaniard have been identified among the group of 31 athletes across six sports to fail tests from their 2008 Beijing samples. Twenty-three more positives have also been found from re-analysis of London 2012 samples, of which eight are known to be Russian.
Thomas Bach, the IOC president, yesterday insisted his organisation would not stop in its attempt to rid the Olympics of drug-takers.
"Related to Rio is the efforts we are making to protect clean athletes and prevent dopers participating," he said. "You are all aware of the [re-testing of samples from 2008 and 2012] and strengthened testing programme to catch as many dopers as possible before the Games has started.
"We are taking decisive actions and we will not hesitate to sanction everybody within our reach who is implicated in a doping case."
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