The International Olympic Committee recently promised $10 million of research funding to catch drug cheats.
New World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie plans to put that money to good use.
“This new fund from the IOC will create tremendous opportunities for advances in anti-doping and allow our scientists to look at alternative approaches to sample testing for banned substances,” Reedie, who takes over as WADA president from John Fahey on New Year’s Day, told the Press Association. “We test in the main blood and urine, but now we will look at different approaches, such as can we use a lock of hair?”
Anti-doping authorities currently test blood and urine samples, but some drugs last much longer in hair, according to the Press Association. Cell samples are another possible alternative.
This is not the first time hair samples have been thought of in drug testing. It was reported in 2011 that testing hair could determine if one ingested clenbuterol intentionally or accidentally through eating tainted meat.
Cyclists have tested positive for clenbuterol, most recently 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Michael Rogers two weeks ago.
French authorities have taken hair samples for drug tests as far back as 2009.