The ABP is "definitely a step in the right direction," says Don Catlin of Anti-Doping Research, Inc., in Los Angeles, who serves on the IOC's medical commission. "It is catching on," Catlin says. "But it's complicated." The ABP model, he adds, is a good one, but "having it work worldwide requires considerable dexterity and coordination of analysis."
Whether or not the ABP scheme uncovers any wrongdoing at the 2012 Summer Games, the athletes can be sure that their biological samples have been closely scrutinized. "You can sort of describe it as the most comprehensive screening and testing that's ever been done in the Olympics," Catlin says.
This year the IOC has the unprecedented benefit of a multimillion-dollar sponsorship from a major drug company, GlaxoSmithKline, which is providing a base of operations near London and laboratory services for the anti-doping effort. "I've done three Olympics, and we've always had a huge budget," Catlin says—but nothing like the resources available this year.
He compares the preparation for an Olympic anti-doping campaign to an athlete's training for the games. "It's the same Olympic model going on with the laboratories," he says. "The labs are training vigorously for four years."
—This article includes reporting by Larry Greenemeier.