“Athletes who cheat by using doping substance may think they have gone undetected, but they should never rest easy.”
As stated in the newly released 2012 World Anti-Doping Agency, by chairman John Fahey, AC:
“It’s no exaggeration to say that 2012 highlighted the very best in clean sport and the worst in cheating, as WADA carried out the responsibilities mandated by the World Anti-Doping Code (C0de).”
In his statement in the report, Fahey noted that “the London 2012 Games set the bar for future Olympics in terms of its anti-doping program. The UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) worked in collaboration and cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and the London Organizing Committee (LOCOG) to set up pre-Game testing plans.
Fahey also stated that 2012 “[…] gave us many wonderful moments to admire and enjoy, and remind us of the enormous social impact sport can have on countries and communities.”
After such a high (no pun intended) at the 2012 London Olympics, we saw the ugly side with the US Postal Service (USPS) Pro-Cycling Team case. Sometimes, the vision of the power and glory that comes with winning, overshadows the harsh reality that can stem from doping in order to win. In this case, 5 athletes from the USPS Cycling Team were stripped of their medals after samples were reevaluated from the 2004 Athens Olympics.
With the cooperation of national and international law enforcement agencies, and multiple anti-doping agencies, the case of the USPC Cycling Team later provided the evidence leading to Lance Armstrong’s life-time ban from the sport.
A crucial part of WADA’s strategy is to incorporate and develop partnerships with other organizations that have more experience and expertise, in order to make easier the finding of solutions “in the fight against doping in sports.” One specific, noteworthy event was the joining of the international Pharmaceutical industry and anti-doping authorities, through the Paris pharmaceutical conference ‘New Partnerships for Clean Sport.’
Throughout 2012, WADA provided multiple activities in anti-doping training, education, and outreach across all continents. One effective tool being WADA’s Coach True, providing “elite-level and recreational-level coaching modules.”
The Athlete Committee was created by WADA to bring forward the voices of athletes everywhere. During the Code Review Process, the 18 members of the committee came forward, expressing any concerns and insight from past and present athletes about the anti-doping issues. The main focus of this committee, though, is to express the pressures of athletes (especially young athletes), and their temptations to do whatever it takes to get to the top. The main message conveyed to the 2012 London competitors: “be true to yourselves and to the Games, the pinnacle of sporting achievement.”
Athlete Committee Member Felipe Contepomi stated:
“Athletes that use drugs to cheat their way to a podium or secure a place on a team really have achieved nothing … You have to be true to yourself and compete as a clean athlete. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘Everything I have achieved has been down to genuine effort.’”
According to the report, in 2012:
- WADA was notified of and reviewed 1,902 decisions
- 36 of those sanction decisions were appealed by WADA
- 14 of those decisions resulted from appeals filed by WADA in 2012
As of December 2012, 172 countries joined the UNESCO international convention against doping in sport. This is a new record high.
WADA continues to use a system called ADAMS to withhold the Code. But what is ADAMS? ADAMS, or the Anti-Doping Administration & Management System, “acts as a central clearinghouse for anti-doping information.” This system is web-based, and serves as a “database management, system created specifically for WADA stakeholders to allow the sharing of anti-doping information and activities in a single, secure mechanism.” This program is free to use, and at the end of 2012, was available in 15 languages.
WADA does focus on the medical conditions of athletes everywhere, though. Those athletes with “legitimate, documented medical conditions” can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for a prohibited substance or method. These are screened through Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs). Some adjustments and refinements done in 2012 in regards to the TUE include:
- musculoskeletal conditions
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- androgen deficiency
You can read the full 2012 WADA Annual Report here, where you can find more information on their statements, training and education, and their mission to make sport clean and fair throughout the world.