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A barge carrying the Olympic Rings passes Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay. Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Olympic athletes were not subject to the usual, rigorous standards of the world anti-doping code during the 16-month period leading to the Games, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Why it matters: For approximately three months during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, virtually all drug-testing programs were suspended, which may have opened the door for athletes to engage in performance-enhancing drug use, AP notes.

  • "Unless you’re a fool, you’d have to be concerned,” Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, told AP.

Between the lines: Concerns over the stringency of drug-testing comes as personal bests, national and NCAA records, and world records have been seen across track and field over the past year-plus.

By the numbers: There was a 45% reduction in testing globally in 2020 compared with 2019, a non-Olympic year, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

  • In April and May 2020, WADA reported just 3,203 total tests, compared with 52,365 during those months in 2019.

Yes, but: WADA says testing has returned to full capacity in recent months, with 24,430 tests reported in May and 22,099 in April.

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2021 - Health

Before Merck backed COVID antiviral, Trump admin turned it down

Photo illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Trump administration officials fought over whether — and ultimately declined — to fund the same antiviral drug that Merck announced yesterday significantly reduces hospitalizations and deaths among coronavirus patients.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's decision almost certainly delayed the development of the drug. Having an effective antiviral pill during the Delta wave could have substantially reduced its death toll.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).