Usain Bolt lost his claim to the title of ‘triple-triple’ Olympic champion when a Jamaican 4 x 100 metres team-mate retrospectively tested positive for a banned substance and caused the 2008 Beijing gold medal winners to be stripped of their title.
Bolt, the world’s greatest track-and-field star, is now the only one of six sub-9.79 sec 100m runners not to have committed a doping violation, with double Olympic champion Nesta Carter caught out in the reanalysis of urine and blood samples from the Beijing Games.
Carter, the sixth fastest 100m runner of all time, ran the opening leg of the Olympic 4 x 100m final nine years ago as Jamaica stormed to victory in a then world-record 37.10 sec, helping Bolt to a clean sweep of sprint titles as he burst on to the global stage at his first Games.
However, news emerged last summer that Carter’s name was on a provisional list of athletes whose doping samples failed retesting when they were analysed using the latest scientific techniques in order to weed out drugs cheats ahead of Rio 2016.
The Jamaican did not compete in Rio and has been fighting to clear his name, but the International Olympic Committee confirmed his sample had tested positive for the prohibited substance methylhexaneamine.
All four members of the Jamaican relay team – which also included Michael Frater and Asafa Powell – have now been stripped of their medals from Beijing 2008, ruining Bolt’s perfect Olympic record of 100m, 200m and 4x100m triumphs from three Games.
Original Beijing 4x100m silver medallists Trinidad and Tobago are likely to be upgraded to gold, with Japan boosted to silver and Brazil bronze. Bolt could potentially lose other medals if any of Carter’s later samples test positive.
The International Association of Athletics Federations, in a statement on Wednesday night, said:
“Once the IOC’s case and any appeal is concluded for the disqualification of Nesta Carter from the men’s 4x100m event at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 for an anti-doping rule violation, the IAAF will take it to the Jamaican federation to determine Carter’s sanction beyond this disqualification. The IAAF will also retest any samples it holds in storage for the athlete from other competitions.”
Carter is to lodge an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the verdict.
“Mr. Carter will be taking his appeal to CAS,” Carter’s lawyer, Stuart Stimpson, said on Wednesday.
“It’s heartbreaking [the positive test] 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,” he said.
“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.”
With a 100m personal best of 9.78 sec set in 2010, Carter, 31, had been a crucial member of the all-conquering Jamaican 4 x 100m team, claiming gold medals alongside Bolt at the 2011, 2013 and 2015 World Championships and London 2012 Olympics. There is no suggestion that a doping violation was committed during any of those competitions.
He also won individual 100m bronze at the 2013 World Championships.
Methylhexaneamine, an energy-boosting ingredient used in many dietary supplements, has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited stimulant list since 2004, although it was reclassified as a specified substance in 2011.