Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, has vocalized his dissatisfaction with yesterday’s news concerning the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) reinstating the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). As reported, despite the original standards for Russian reinstatement not having been met, WADA‘s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) suggested that RUSADA be reinstated under amended criteria, officially ending a near-3-year suspension.
When asked about the controversial decision while taking part in the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum, Phelps responded, “When is an organisation going to fully take responsibility and take charge to change? Because that’s not what sports is.”
The 33-year-old dad of two boys continued, “Sports aren’t about putting performance-enhancing drugs in your body and standing up and performing. It’s sad to see this.” (First Post)
Phelps has been a vocal advocate of anti-doping practices including testifying before the United States Congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in February 2017, speaking on ways to improve and strengthen the anti-doping system.
The 23-time Olympic gold medalist said in Hong Kong this week, “I’ve complained about it, I’ve testified about it. And still nothing changes. So I guess that then leads us here and where do we go next? What else can be done?
“Somebody has to take charge and if WADA‘s really not going do anything about it then somebody else has to.
“It’s frustrating to see an organisation like that (WADA) do this to sports. I mean I’ve talked about multiple years, I don’t know if I’ve ever completed in a clean field. That’s pretty sad, that at the Olympic Games, at world championships, that you can say that. I’m just upset.”
Phelps also spoke with the point of view of being a dad. “For me being a father, that’s something I’m going to tell my kids and explain to them. It’s just so disappointing to see that.”
And Phelps wasn’t the only high-profile athlete to voice a strong opinion concerning the route WADA chose to take. American backstroke force Ryan Murphy tweeted that he was ‘so disappointed by WADA‘s decision’, while recently-retired British Olympian Lizzie Simmonds called the move a ‘huge step backwards in the fight for clean sport.’
Thanks for your leadership Travis. I'm so disappointed by WADA's decision https://t.co/bp6JqAC5aw
— Ryan Murphy (@ryan_f_murphy) September 21, 2018
It’s a dangerous precedent to set and is a huge step backwards in the fight for clean sport.
In the world of anti-doping there is no such thing as compromise. This case should have been no different.
— Lizzie Simmonds (@LizzieSimmonds1) September 20, 2018