Major advances in the fight against doping meant that the Olympic Games Sydney 2000 represented a landmark moment for the Olympic Movement, in several ways.
Collaboration between the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) enabled the first out-of-competition drug tests. More than 2,000 such tests across 27 sports were carried out in the lead-up to Sydney 2000. In addition, the IOC and WADA initiated the Independent Observer Programme to monitor all aspects of doping control, from test administration to results and analysis procedures. Following the Games, out-of-competition testing became commonplace across the sporting world, while the Independent Observer Programme was deemed a success and adopted at more than 50 major sports events.
The Games ushered in a new era of increasingly advanced doping tests. However, some controversies cast a shadow on this progress, for example the BALCO case and the confession from athlete Marion Jones, of having taken performance-enhancing drugs before the Games.
Sydney 2000 featured the introduction of testing for the performance-enhancing drug erythropoietin, commonly known as EPO. The test was the result of years of research funded by both the IOC and the Australian Government and vetted by an advisory panel consisting of some of the world’s foremost experts in sports sciences. The 307 EPO tests conducted during Sydney 2000 represented the first time in Olympic history that blood samples had been taken from athletes to test for prohibited substances. The success of the EPO test led to funding for further research into a method for detecting human growth hormone (hGH), with an official test introduced at the Olympic Games Athens 2004.