A programme that saw more than two-thirds of 5,000 urine and blood samples taken at London 2012 re-analyzed to test for banned performance-enhancing drugs, leading to an Olympic record number of disqualifications, has sent a clear message that athletes who have cheated can never rest comfortably, it has been claimed.
Yesterday, the eight-year anniversary since the Closing Ceremony of the Games in Britain's capital, marked the date the statute of limitations under the Olympic Charter at the time expired.
According to Bill Mallon, the editor of Olympedia, a total of 139 athletes have so far been banned or disqualified from doping at London 2012, 65 of them caught in the re-analysis programme with only nine failing during the Games.
The figure includes 39 medalists, 13 of them Gold.
Three females in the Long Jump Finals, Ineta Radeviča, Anna Nazarova and Ineta Radevica were all disqualified for doping, while Karin Mey Melis did not start in the final. As a result they denied Bermuda’s Arantxa King of a spot in the Final, King finished 12th in the qualifications with 12 spots going to the final. Had these athletes been caught before the final, and the qualification leaps would have been the same, King would have placed 7th in the qualifications and a spot in the final.
It is the highest number of athletes ever to have been disqualified at an Olympic Games, beating the previous record of 81 at Beijing 2008.
World Anti-Doping Agency President Witold Bańka, however, claimed that the fact such a comprehensive programme of re-testing has been conducted means more athletes who should have won medals at the time are receiving credit for their performances.
"Re-analysis conducted on samples taken at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London has proven to be effective," Bańka told insidethegames.
"It means that justice can be served – even if it is years later – thanks to new or improved detection methods.
"Athletes who unfairly missed out on medals can then enjoy their belated moment of glory and recognition.
"It sends a clear message that we will not stop seeking justice for those who have been cheated and that we will always stand beside the athletes who choose to compete clean."
The International Testing Agency, who have been conducting the programme on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), confirmed in June that they had completed the re-analysis of the London 2012 samples.
It is believed that up to a dozen cases are still be officially closed.
A total of 46 Russian athletes have been disqualified from London 2012, leading to the loss of 14 medals, including five gold.
Many were implicated as a result of the McLaren Report into allegations of state-sponsored doping in Russia.
Russia were followed by Ukraine with 17 athletes disqualified, Belarus with 15 and Turkey with 14.
Athletics was the sport which produced the largest number of disqualified athletes for doping with a total of 91 having their performances annulled.
Weightlifting followed with 34 and cycling and wrestling had four each.
Boxing, canoeing, gymnastics, judo, rowing and swimming all had one each.