Rio Olympics Get Reprieve on Sending Doping Tests to Paris Lab

  • Anti-doping agency had suspended Rio lab because of errors
  • Rio laboratory suspension lifted after personnel changes

Organizers of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games have been spared from having to send drug tests to Paris after the World Anti Doping Agency announced the city’s laboratory had been cleared to resume testing.

Organizers had drawn up plans that would have required the games’ airline partner Tam to fly about 5,000 tests to a laboratory in Paris after the local facility was suspended last month for not meeting required standards.

“WADA is very pleased to announce that the Rio Laboratory’s accreditation has been reinstated,” said Olivier Niggli, WADA’s director general. "All parties worked diligently to resolve the identified issue so that the laboratory could be up and running optimally for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games that start on 5 August."

Recent revelations of widespread doping in the Russian Federation have increased the pressure on the International Olympic Committee and WADA to assure drug-free competition. Staff at the Rio lab, including its head, have been replaced in recent weeks, and foreign experts will now oversee operations at the laboratory and across games venues, Rio 2016 communications head Mario Andrada said in an interview Wednesday.

"All the mistakes that WADA pointed out in the Brazilian laboratory have been fixed," Andrada said.

WADA also suspended the lab’s accreditation in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup that took place in cities across Brazil. Tests then were sent to Switzerland.