Controversial stimulant DMAA – the substance that has caused more doping violations in recent years than any other including blood boosters and steroids – was responsible for just one violation during the 2012 London Olympics.
Syrian runner Ghfran Almouhamad tested positive for DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine/methylhexaneamine) two days before her 400-metre hurdles heat in which she placed eighth.
Almouhamad was instantly banned from the meet by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and her result will be removed from Olympic records.
She was the only athlete of eight who tested positive during the Olympiad to be linked to a food supplement. The others were for the red blood cell boosting EPO (erythropoietin), steroids, diuretics and cannabis.
While there were only eight busts during the London Games compared to 19 in the 2008 Beijing Games and 26 in Athens in 2004, Trond Husø from the Anti-Doping Database (http://dopinglist.com/ ) told us there were a further 15 athletes selected for their national teams who tested positive in the immediate lead-up to the games, bringing the total to 23.
At the Olympics more than 5000 tests were performed in the GlaxoSmithKline-sponsored testing unit run by King’s College specialists under IOC jurisdiction. That meant about 1-in-2 athletes including every medal winner would be tested for more than 240 prohibited substances.
The samples are held for eight years and can be retro-tested in that period if new information or methods come to hand.
In the two months leading up to the Games, another 100-or-so athletes in contention for national selection failed doping controls and became subject to bans. Some of these cases were DMAA-related.
DMAA appears on that World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 240+ prohibited substance list, but has become a popular ingredient in pre-workout supplements favoured by gym users.
Doubts about whether it is sourced from the geranium plant or synthetically manufactured, along with safety concerns, has led to many regulatory agencies moving against it, including the US Food and Drug Administration and European authorities.
Manufacturer of the most popular DMAA product, Texas-based USPlabs, hit back yesterday with a study it sponsored that showed DMAA was sourced from the geranium plant, which countered a growing body of science that found no commercially usable DMAA in geranium oils.