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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 22 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.