Usain Bolt will lose one of his nine Olympic gold medals — in the 4x100m relay event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – over Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter’s failed dope test.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday that Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a banned stimulant, in re-analysis of samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Carter and Bolt were teammates on the winning 4×100-meter relay team, which also included Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.
“The Jamaican team is disqualified,” the IOC said in a statement. “… the corresponding medals, medallist pins and diplomas are withdrawn and shall be returned.”
The relay title in Beijing completed the first of Bolt’s three gold medal sweeps in the 100, 200 and relay at three straight Olympics.
Trinidad and Tobago is in line to get the gold medal from 2008, Japan could be upgraded to silver, and fourth-place finisher Brazil could get the bronze medal.
Carter testified by videoconference to an IOC disciplinary hearing held in Lausanne on October 17.
The IOC’s ruling states that Carter noted he was taking supplements in 2008 “advised in this respect by his coach, Mr. Stephen Francis.”
“The athlete explained that he had given several samples for doping controls whilst he was taking Cell Tech and Nitro Tech before the 2008 Olympic Games and he had never tested positive for a prohibited substance,” the detailed verdict stated.
“He therefore did not believe that these supplements could contain prohibited substances. He did not understand how methylhexaneamine could have been found in 2016.”
Though methylhexaneamine was not specifically named on the 2008 list of prohibited substances, it “fell within the scope of the general prohibition of stimulants having a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect as the listed stimulants,” the three-member IOC panel wrote.
Carter can appeal the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. However, the IOC panel already anticipated one challenge in its written verdict.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (”CAS”) has confirmed that the presence or use of substances falling within the scope of generic definitions of the prohibited list, can be used as a basis of establishing anti-doping rules violations,” the verdict said.
In 2016, when Carter’s B-sample tested positive, following a re-test, Bolt said: “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. 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.”