The 2016 Olympics were definitely a win for melanin, and one competitor that is known to deliver when it comes down to bringing home the gold is Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt, and of course the equally matched Jamaican men’s 4x100 relay team. Even if Jamaica isn’t your home country, the win in Rio was nothing short of satisfying. So imagine everyone’s shock and disappointment when the International Olympics Committee asked for their medals back. During a retest of samples provided to the IOC in 2008, Jamaican first-leg sprinter Nesta Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine, which is most commonly used as a nasal decongestant, and in fitness supplements.
The IOC classified methylhexaneamine as a ‘specified drug’ until 2011, which permitted athletes to keep their medals so long as they could prove that they didn’t use the drug to heighten their performance. However, since the drug hadn’t been reclassified in 2008, the committee had no mercy. These positive test results disqualified all four sprinters, costing them their gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I know, hurtful. Especially when Bolt had just made history by being the first person to complete a triple-triple; winning three major sprinting events in three consecutive Olympics.
The IOC withholds the right to hold all samples from all Olympic competitors for up to ten years, and can retest at will with all new technology. Now that the Jamaican team has been disqualified, the 4x100 men’s relay team of Trinidad and Tobago will now be credited as having won the gold. Japan will now have the silver, and Brazil will receive bronze.
After the positive test results were revealed back in June of last year, Usain Bolt himself gave a statement saying, “It’s heartbreaking…because over the years you’ve worked hard to accumulate gold medals and work hard to be a champion … but it’s just one of those things. Things happen in life, so when it’s confirmed or whatever, if I need to give back my gold medal I’d have to give it back, it’s not a problem for me.” Now that the IOC has made an official ruling, Bolt has not yet released any new statements. Rumors of Bolt’s retirement are still afloat, however we’re still expecting to see him at the games in Tokyo 2020.