During an interview Thursday with PBS’ Charlie Rose, former Vice President Joe Biden said he was taking a hard look at a ban on US athletes and officials attending the 2022 Beijing Summer Olympics if the IOC does not update its anti-doping standards.
The Beijing Olympics were initially sanctioned in 2012, when 11 athletes from the US team tested positive for banned substances. No athletes from any other country have been tested positive, raising the possibility that China’s testing levels are superior to the rest of the world.
“In the end, my view is you can’t put athletes in that situation if you cheat with impunity,” Biden said in the interview. “You’ve got to screen for them.”
The US Olympic Committee, which promotes amateur athletes in the United States, has maintained that all American competitors have full access to the doping standards in place for those tests, in addition to conducting its own testing.
The committee issued a statement on Thursday that defended the USOC’s record on testing.
“The United States Olympic Committee is the most stringent testing organization in sport. We have a process in place that meets the highest standards, including comprehensive drug testing prior to participation, and at the event itself.”
In July, CNN’s Jake Tapper and Bob Costas each traveled to Beijing to document drug testing at the Winter Games, where they interviewed a representative of the IOC.
The situation was pointedly noted on the Opening Ceremony: While Costas called out the press for not questioning the efficacy of Chinese testing, China’s Anthea Farish, who is in charge of the IOC’s anti-doping program, responded with reassurances that all athletes in Beijing would have access to the same standards as the rest of the world.
Biden also addressed China’s involvement in using chemical weapons in Syria, noting that China has a vote on the United Nations Security Council but choosing not to vote in favor of the resolution condemning the attack on Douma.
“China is one of the biggest arms importers in the world,” Biden said. “They’re one of the biggest arms dealers in the world, but why should they — why would they vote for that resolution in the United Nations that they don’t support?”