Phelps On WADA’s Russian Reinstatement Decision: It’s Sad To See This

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.’


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2 years ago

Michael Phelps, Lizze Simmonds, and Ryan Murphy +1 Good job speaking out. Watch ICARUS.

Reply to  Scribble
2 years ago

It was heartening to see a number of other swimmers who showed leadership by taking to social media to denounce the WADA move, including Rowdy Gaines, Connor Jaeger, Lilly King, Katie Ledecky, Cody Miller, Adam Peaty, Leah Smith, Andrew Wilson, and perhaps others. Would have been nice to see even more immediate outrage from the swim community, the USOC, NGB leaders, LA 2028 leadership, and others. Either some of them left Travis Tygart and USADA out to dry on this, or intentionally deferred to him. Hope it is the latter.

Reply to  Itraba
2 years ago

The USA Swimming Athlete Committee released a statement on the issue.

Reply to  Athlete
2 years ago

Yes, the USA Swimming Athlete Committee released a statement prior to the decision, but nothing after the decision. And where is Tim Hinchey on the issue? And where are the five swimmer nominees running for election to the USA Swimming Board (Adrian, Coughlin, DiRado, Gemmell and Tarwater)? Phelps is really not the best person to be USA Swimming’s or USADA’s athlete spokesperson. Why is no one in authority at USOC, USA Swimming, other NGB’s pushing back on WADA and the IOC to demonstrate that there will be financial and other consequences for their decisions?

Swimmer A
2 years ago

I agree with Phelps, Russia’s anti doping agency worked to provide cover for athletes taking PEDs. That’s bad.

Kristiina Allekõrs
2 years ago

Very good Michael. Please make come back 200IM. Leveaux coming out of retirment after 5 years. He is frensch hero in 2008 4×100 metres relay.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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