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Vancouver Olympics to Double Doping Tests

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About twice as many samples from athletes will be tested for doping at next year's Vancouver Olympics than were done at the 2006 Turin Winter Games.

Dr. Christiane Ayotte says close to 2,500 urine and blood samples will be tested as part of a $16.4 million effort to catch drug cheats. Ayotte and others will work in a state-of-the-art doping lab at the Olympic speedskating oval in Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver.

The 1,350 square-meter facility is a replica of the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab in Montreal. Ayotte said the laboratory "will utilize the finest techniques and methods available to detect the use of prohibited substances," but she acknowledged it will be impossible to catch all cheaters.

Nearly 500 trained volunteers will collect samples at the various sports venues in Vancouver and Whistler. Drivers will deliver the samples to the Richmond lab and deposit them through a slot, sending them directly into a refrigeration unit for processing. Test results should be known within 72 hours.

Thirty technicians will be working at the lab around the clock beginning in January. Testing will begin on February 4, when pre-competition urine and blood samples are taken.

After the Olympics and Paralympics, the doping lab will be used to house a sports medicine center and sports science services.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.