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London 2012 unveils Anti-Doping Laboratory

Posted on 19/01/2012

Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics with Professor David Cowan

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today unveiled the WADA accredited anti-doping laboratory which will operate during the London 2012 Games.

LOCOG, laboratory service providers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and laboratory operators King’s College London, welcomed Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics for a tour of the facility which is based in Harlow, Essex.

Over 6250 samples will be analysed throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games, up to 400 each day which is more than at any other Games. The laboratory, which measures the size of seven tennis courts, will be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over 1,000 LOCOG staff will work within the Anti-Doping process and a team of more than 150 anti-doping scientists will carry out the testing at the laboratory, led independently by Professor David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London.

The facility, which has been provided by pharmaceutical company GSK, will be operated by leading anti-doping experts from King’s College London and supported by scientists from around the world.

Paul Deighton, London 2012 Chief Executive, said: 'Today is an important milestone in the countdown to the Games. Working with one of the world’s best pharmaceutical companies and one of the country’s leading universities we have been able to create a facility to successfully and efficiently process 6,250 tests during the Games which has never been done before. As we unveil the anti-doping lab we recognise the importance of a robust testing system and continue to show that London is ready to stage a successful Games.'

antidopinggroupHugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said: 'We are doing all we can to ensure that there is no place to hide for drug cheats at London 2012. Our message to any athlete thinking about doping is simple – we’ll catch you. This lab, from GlaxoSmithKline and King’s College London, is at the forefront of the fight against doping. It will be populated with scientists at the top of their field during the Games who will carry out an exhaustive testing process.'

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline said: “As a science based organisation, GSK is well placed to help deliver the scale and cutting edge technology required to run an operation like the anti-doping facility for London 2012. We have worked with King’s to put systems in place to enable this laboratory to test more samples than any previous Games and at the same time developing a blueprint for doping operations at future Games.’

Professor David Cowan, Director of King’s College London’s Drug Control Centre said: 'These laboratories are the most high-tech labs in the history of the Games, analysing more samples than ever before. We have developed, with GSK support, super-fast and super-sensitive technologies to be able to detect use of prohibited substances. Our role is to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the lab to deliver robust anti-doping testing for the Games.'

The Anti-Doping process during the London 2012 Games will create a legacy of knowledge about operations and processes. In July 2011, GSK signed an agreement with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to share information about its medicines in development, while LOCOG will debrief on all processes.

Further information:


-    Up to 6250 samples will be tested during Games time – more than any other Games
-    The Anti-Doping workforce at the Games will be over 1,000 people
-    Up to 1 in 2 athletes will be tested at the Olympic Games including every Olympic medallist
-    The laboratory will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
-    Up to 400 samples will be tested every day
-    The shortest test turnaround time will be 24hrs (some tests will take longer)
-    The laboratory is 4400 square metres in size  – the same size as 7 tennis courts
-    A team of more than 150 anti-doping scientists will carry out the testing during Games time, led by Professor David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London.

Notes to editors: 

For further information please contact Emma Reynolds, Press Officer at King’s College London on 0207 848 4334 or at

For more information about King's, see our 'King's in Brief' page.

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