Riders, horses all test clear of drugs at Olympics

FEI President Princess Haya walks the Greenwich Park Olympic cross-country course with London 2012 equestrian manager Tim Haddaway.
FEI President Princess Haya walks the Greenwich Park Olympic cross-country course with London 2012 equestrian manager Tim Haddaway. © Kit Houghton/FEI

All samples taken from riders and horses at the 2012 London Olympics tested clear for banned substances, FEI president Princess Haya has announced.

The clean result puts to rest the drugs debacle from the Beijing Games, in which five horses tested positive for banned substances. More horses tested positive at Beijing than human athletes across the entire Games.

Athens in 2004 was also rocked by a drugs scandal, with a gold medal being forfeited over a drugs infringement.

“The FEI had a really steep mountain to climb after Athens and Hong Kong, but we had a clean Youth Olympic Games, a clean FEI World Equestrian Games and now we’ve crowned it with a clean Olympic Games in London,” Haya said.

“We knew that fair play and clean sport was the only way to produce top sport in the Olympic equestrian events and we are very proud that we have achieved that goal.

“The fact that all human and equine samples came back negative demonstrates the success of the FEI Clean Sport campaign, which has resulted in a major reduction in the number of positives in the Olympic disciplines over the past two and a half years.”

Haya said a rigorous and comprehensive testing programme was in place.

All medallists’ horses were tested, plus all fourth-placed horses. Random testing was also carried out, with computerised selection. For riders, the top four finishers, plus two other athletes selected at random, were tested by the IOC in each event, along with other individuals selected at random.

“These were the most tested Games ever and we also tested for more substances than ever before,” Haya said.

“We worked hand in hand with the Horseracing Forensic Laboratory in Newmarket and thank them for the speed with which they processed all the Olympic samples so that we could maintain a level playing field throughout the Games.”

“The equestrian community shouldn’t be thinking of this as a triumph. Having a clean sport should be our normal day-to-day business, but now that we’ve had three major championships that were the most heavily tested ever and they were 100 per cent clean.

“We can hold our heads up high and say that yes, this is a victory. We haven’t reached this point by resting on our laurels, there’s always work to be done and I am incredibly proud of the FEI’s performance over the four years since Hong Kong.”

Haya said it had been a real team effort, kick-started by the recommendations of the Clean Sport Commission headed up by Professor Arne Ljungqvist and the Stevens Commission, lead by Lord Stevens.

“The national federations and the athletes and their support teams, as well as the team at FEI Headquarters have all played a major role in this success. Our community has really embraced the Clean Sport campaign,” she said.

Ljungqvist, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and vice-president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, congratulated the FEI.

“I am very happy to hear that the Clean Sport campaign has led to such a successful and clean Games and would like to congratulate the FEI.”

Ljungqvist was on-site at Greenwich Park to watch the Individual Jumping Final on August 8, the same day that IOC President Jacques Rogge attended the Olympic equestrian events.

Lord Stevens, who led the Stevens Commission that worked alongside the Clean Sport Commission, also attended the Olympic equestrian events.

“To have totally clean Games at London 2012 is the best possible endorsement of the FEI’s Clean Sport campaign,” he said.

In congratulating the FEI, he said the result was due in no small measure to the huge amount of work that has been done on education within the equestrian community.”

Haya called the 2012 Olympic Games the best ever for equestrian sport.

“The London 2012 equestrian events were really incredible and Greenwich was a wonderful venue.

“We could not have wished for better sport and we now have a whole new fan base, which has to be the best legacy we could ask for.

“Now we have a duty to turn that fan base into new athletes so that our sport can continue to thrive and grow.

“We owe a huge debt of thanks to the whole LOCOG team [Games organising body], but particularly to the Equestrian Competition Manager Tim Hadaway and venue general manager Jeremy Edwards and their teams for all their devotion to the cause. And, of course, to all the wonderful volunteers. These were the best Games ever for equestrian sport.”




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