Milorad Cavic Questions Michael Phelps’ Commitment To Anti-Doping

This week, Michael Phelps appeared before a Congressional subcommittee to testify about the issue of doping, but a rival from Phelps’ past came forward this week with questions about why Phelps is tackling the issue post-retirement.

Serbian world champ Milorad Cavic openly questioned Phelps’ anti-doping stance in an open letter of sorts this week, posted on Twitter:

Cavic criticizes Phelps for speaking out for doping reform only after his retirement, suggesting Phelps hadn’t supported blood passports when he was still convenient. Cavic (also retired) suggested the timing of Phelps’ stand was “convenient,” and though he says he’s not suggesting Phelps is a cheat, he categorizes Phelps’ recovery rate as “nothing short of science fiction.”

The reference to blood passports may stem from a program Cavic tried to popularize back in 2009 where athletes would undergo “athlete biological passports” which track biological markers of doping and results of anti-doping tests over a series of years. Cavic wanted athletes (Phelps included) to make their results fully public on his website, according to an ESPN story from the time.

You can see Phelps’ testimony before the subcommittee here.

Phelps and Cavic went head to head in several Olympics, most notably the 2008 Beijing Games. Cavic very nearly ended Phelps’ dream of 8 gold medals at those games, pushing the 100 fly down to a touchout where Phelps won by just .01 seconds in one of the most dramatic finishes all-time.

Cavic does conclude his letter by expressing his hope that Phelps will continue to champion anti-doping causes to make a difference in the sport.

A full transcript of Cavic’s statement:

Dear Michael,

Doping has been a problem and it’s only getting worse. I, too, don’t know what to tell my son, nor would I wish that my son ever be half as good as I was knowing what he’ll face tomorrow. People get tested, some more than others… I could even recall Lance Armstrong getting tested 3x in one day and never failed once, but that’s not the problem. At the moment, we’re not able to detect new drugs and advanced methods of doping. Why you’re seeking reform now that you’re retired, and never before supported blood passports, is beyond us all, perhaps even convenient. I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat, you’ve gradually improved your times throughout your career, but your recovery rate is nothing short of science fiction… We all just wished we could understand it. Anyway, I really do hope that you’ll stick with this, because incase our sons go pro some day, I’d like to think you made a difference #NeverTooLate

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132 Comments on "Milorad Cavic Questions Michael Phelps’ Commitment To Anti-Doping"

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College Swim Guy

Sounds like a sore loser to me😉

Shirley Babashoff was also a sore loser

Babashoff spoke the truth. Very ignorant to say she was a sore loser.


Guessing he was being sarcastic about Surely Shirley. But i agree with Cavic and Phelps’ recovery. Reminds me of Kornelia Ender. Or Lance Armstrong stringing fantastic performances through many a Tour.


Here we go. The evidence you are basing your accusations on is that Lance took drugs and Phelps recovered well. Give me a break with these people

Coachy, there is no mention in my post of thinking that Phelps has taken PEDs. I simply made an observation. And Cavic is correct, Phelps is phenomenal in his ability to recover, AND so was Lance. Name someone else with the ability to recover like that. What i’d really like him to do now is to submit to some exercise physiology tests that can evaluate and quantify his ability to recover. Lets see what is different about him.

THAT is bush league. Can’t throw in “I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat” when the entire post is suggesting exactly that. Invoking Lance Armstrong, saying Phelps was akin to “science fiction”, etc. This post tastes of the sourest grapes in the world

Also, didn’t Armstrong fail some drug tests but prevented the results from being made public through bribery and intimidation?



To be fair, Armstrong’s power in cycling allowed him to do that. Phelps’ power in swimming is just as strong, if not stronger. Big names in unpopular sports doing inhuman things = more money and recognition for the sport


By the way, I am still not accusing Phelps of doping. But pretty much all of the things about Lance can be applied to Michael. I think we as a society should remain open to the idea that athletes could be doping, and to not be so offended that “our” athlete could be cheating. And we also need to stop automatically putting athletes in the “role model” category either, and getting upset when the mess up. They are purely entertainers and owe the public and our children nothing

I’m pleased this message has thumbs up. I made the point that a small dose of scepticism to greatness is normal a few years ago and it wasn’t welcomed aha.


Don’t worry it will soon be in the negatives. It’s just how it is on SwimSwam and also in America. We are so quick to accuse others of juicing (Hosszu,Ye Shiwen, Biederman, etc.) But when it is our athlete, the idea of them cheating is inconceivable. And when our Olympic athletes do get caught, we forget about it pretty quickly. SwimSwam commenters gang up and downvote everything that is an open minded thought, or a differing thought.

Joe Bagodonuts

Wow! Generalize much?

Indeed Armstrong did fail tests. In one instance, he had a medical doctor write a false, back-dated prescription for a cream, allegedly for saddle sores.

Lance was also making 10x’s the amounts of $$$ that Phelps is even worth today. Though, any swimmer that is still winning golds in his or her 5th Olympics (aka Dara Torres) is an eyebrow raiser…most swimmers peak for a few years at best and the normal career of a swimmer is one and maybe two Olympics at most.


This is a ridiculously stupid thing to say on Cavic’s part with literally nothing positive coming out of it…

Exactly….Cavic looks like a complete douche. He has not only failed to advance his “cause” he now has many people wondering about his motives. He’ll forever been known as #headdownatfinish

Joe Bagodonuts

It IS ridiculously stupid and wholly unsubstantiated by anything other than Cavic’s surmise that the only possible way that anyone could have beaten him was if that person was cheating through PED’s. “50.59 is obviously achieved sans drugs, but 50.58 could ONLY be achieved through use of drugs.” Solid logic, Milo.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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