The AIU was set up by the world body in 2017 to combat drug-taking in athletics, succeeding World Athletics’ in-house anti-doping department. Brett Clothier the head of AIU said more than a third of the AIU’s cases are “World Championship or Olympic medallists or major marathon winners”. Clothier added: “Based on what has happened in the past, yes, for sure there will be cases before the Olympics that will shock people.”
It follows a study which showed a lack of out-of-competition testing for top-three finishers in some 2018 races. According to Telegrapy Clothier said “We did a statistical study that showed that, in 2018, of all the marathon races around the world outside of the six major marathons, something like 70% to 80% of the podium finishers didn’t have any out-of-competition tests in the nine months leading up to the race. There was just no testing. Not only that, but the athletes weren’t in a testing pool so they knew no-one was going to test them.”
He added that, without action, the sport may have faced “rampant, unchecked doping” by marathon runners. “So it needed to be fixed or else the industry was going to face its own moment, like cycling did in the 1990s, or like baseball did [in the 2000s]. Rampant, unchecked doping,” said Clothier.