USA Swimming Supports Eliminating FINA’s Power In Drug Testing; WADA Receptive

Growing support is mounting to make radical changes in the oversight of drug testing on athletes in Olympic sports.

USA Swimming recently threw its support behind such a movement when USA Swimming President Jim Sheehan and Executive Director Chuck Wielgus wrote a letter to the Travis Tygart, Chief Executive Officer for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on September 29th.

Dear Travis,

The USA Swimming Board of Directors fully supports USADA’s efforts to bring about change to the global anti-doping efforts and organization. We agree completely with the reforms proposed out of the iNADO summit in Copenhagen at the end of August and we were very pleased that you were a part of the work done by the NADOs that participated.

Anti-doping efforts around the world need to be independent from all sport organizations and from influence from governments. Without true independence and the ability to take on not only those individuals who are cheating but also the systematic programs we have seen causing irreparable harm to the clean athletes of the world.

Thank you for everything you and your colleagues at USADA do in trying to make sport clean and free from the use of performance enhancing drugs both here in the USA and around the world. You have our full support.

Signed Jim Sheehan and Chuck Wielgus

On Saturday, October 8th at the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) welcomed a set of recommendations that would increase its own power in drug testing.

Currently, WADA conducts drug testing for each sport’s federations, but the federations (including FINA) have oversight over what is tested for and what is released. That current arrangement is now coming under scrutiny.

WADA stakeholders first proposed the move to strengthen WADA’s independence and sanctioning power Sept. 20, and WADA’s Executive Committee endorsed the suggestion the following day. But this is far from the end of the line, as WADA will continue to hold discussions on the proposal AND the International Olympic Committee needs final approval on all changes.

In a statement from WADA, President Sir Craig Reedie commended the steps taken in Lausanne.

“WADA welcomes all constructive proposals aimed at reinforcing clean sport. Today’s Summit was one more stop on our road to strengthening WADA and the global anti-doping system. The recommendations that were put forward today will be considered along with others that we have received from stakeholders on such key topics as: WADA’s governance and funding model; consequences for non-compliance; investigations; and testing.

“It was encouraging to hear the sentiment expressed in today’s Olympic Summit that echoes the consensus reached by other stakeholders to the effect that WADA must be given greater authority and regulatory powers.”

This news comes just weeks after numerous National Anti-Doping Organizations issued a statement calling for “the anti-doping system should be independent of sports organizations” and other standards that would ensure WADA’s independence. This was in response to what unfolded at the Rio Olympic Games, where doping clouded over much of the actual competition. Russian athletes were allowed to compete in most sports after evidence of systematic doping was revealed in the McLaren report.

Even during the Games, several swimmers were not shy to share their opinions about issues with doping in the sport. Michael Phelps and Lilly King were among those to express their displeasure about what unfolded in Rio.

Past Olympians who competed against proven dopers have encouraged action, both among athletes and from those with political power in the sport. Among them: 1996 Olympic silver medalist Allison Wagner and 1976 gold medalist Shirley Babashoff.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>