UCLA lab receives partial suspension
WADA penalty arises from concerns over handling of certain banned substances.
The UCLA Olympic laboratory, which came into prominence when it served as the testing center for the 1984 Los Angeles Games, has been placed on partial suspension over concerns about its handling of certain banned substances.
World Anti-Doping Agency officials announced the three-month penalty Tuesday, saying the lab may continue its work but must obtain a second opinion from another accredited facility before reporting positive findings related to two specific anabolic steroids and two glucocorticoids.
WADA found that, in cases limited to those substances, UCLA had not adhered to best practices.
University officials declined to comment about plans to resolve the problem, but the U.S. Olympic Committee had no qualms with the suspension.
“We’re completely in favor of strict compliance with the code,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said. “To the extent that any laboratory is noncompliant, whether it’s in the U.S. or otherwise, we support the direction that WADA has taken.”
The UCLA lab was founded in 1982 with a grant from the organizing committee for the 1984 Games. It also served as a testing center for the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Now, under contract with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, it claims to analyze approximately 45,000 urine samples each year and does testing for the NCAA, NFL and other organizations.
USADA said there was no evidence that UCLA produced false positives or that athletes had been wrongfully disciplined.
“WADA’s announcement regarding the UCLA Laboratory doesn’t mean that there should be any concern about the reliability of anti-doping processes in the United States,” USADA said in a statement.
In other Olympic news, Blackmun confirmed the USOC has begun preparing for a crucial International Olympic Committee vote in mid-July.
IOC members will decide whether to alter the current bidding competition between Los Angeles and Paris, giving the 2024 Summer Games to one city and 2028 to the other. A dual-award arrangement could lead to intense negotiations in advance of September’s final selection.