Thomas Hicks won the 1904 Olympic Games marathon in St. Louis, Mo., with a little help from his friends—two doses of strychnine, raw eggs and a brandy chaser, administered during the race! Times have changed. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will celebrate World Metrology Day on May 20 with a look at how the science of measurement plays a critical role in enforcing today's stringent anti-doping rules. A NIST symposium "Metrology for the Olympic Games" in Gaithersburg, Md., will emphasize the measurement research and standards that underpin testing for performance enhancing drugs.
Speakers will include Victoria Ivanova, scientific project manager at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Canada and Lindsey Mackay, chemical reference methods team leader in the chemical and biological branch of the Innovation, Industry Science and Research of National Measurement Institute of Australia (NIMA).
Ivanova's overview of WADA testing and research program will review recent drug detection advances including detection methods for various types of blood doping that can increase stamina and performance at the risk of health complications ranging from heart disease, stroke and cerebral or pulmonary embolisms to autoimmune diseases. WADA also is searching for a way to detect emerging threats such as gene doping in which genes could be introduced into an athlete's body to alter their genetic makeup and improve their physical performance.
Mackay will review NIMA's work with WADA to provide quality assurance and measurement reference tools for sports testing. NMIA's anti-doping efforts include work to detect erythropoietin (a natural occurring hormone that increases endurance by increasing the supply of red blood cells), human growth hormone, and artificial or natural steroids.
The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) established May 20 as World Metrology Day three years ago and encouraged national measurement institutes such as NIST to celebrate metrology and its importance to society. World Metrology Day commemorates the signing of the Metre (Meter) Convention in 1875. This year's worldwide theme is "Metrology Measurement in Sports." Belinda Collins, director of the NIST Technology Services Organization, will give an overview of World Metrology Day. The symposium also will feature poster exhibits on NIST research in sports-related metrology.