USADA, White House Official Call for Independent Investigation Into Chinese Doping Scandal

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) joined a leading White House official in calling for an independent investigation into a January 2021 doping controversy where 23 Chinese swimmers went unpunished by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for positive tests of trimetazidine (TMZ).

USADA CEO Travis Tygart urged governments to appoint an independent prosecutor to review the entire case file in a statement on Tuesday morning, a day after WADA doubled down on trusting China’s kitchen contamination theory during a press conference on Monday. Tygart said governments and the sport movement should “overhaul WADA to ensure a cover-up of positive samples on the eve of the Olympic Games cannot occur ever again, and to once and for all remove the fox from guarding the hen house by making WADA truly independent.”

Tygart stressed that a resolution must be reached before the Paris Olympics this summer, “as it is unfair for all athletes competing in these Games to possibly compete agains those who tested positive and whose results were kept secret until now.” Among the 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for TMZ were Tokyo Olympic champions Zhang Yufei, Wang Shun, and Yang Junxuan. China’s foreign ministry spokesman called recent allegations of widespread doping among Chinese swimmers “fake news” on Monday.

Tygart also addressed WADA’s claim that it had precedent for clearing the 23 Chinese swimmers due to contamination, including a case involving more than 10 athletes in the U.S. back in 2014. He said those athletes in question were not American, and that USADA had nothing to do with them.

“These 10 cases were not USADA’s, and we had no involvement with them, if they in fact happened in the U.S.,” Tygart said. “This is a disturbing claim, as these cases must be International Federation cases with which USADA has no involvement. But it suggests WADA’s decision to allow China to sweep the 23 cases under the rug without consequence is apparently just the tip of the iceberg. So, how many more cases have been treated the same in violation of the rules?”

Tygart had more unanswered questions following WADA’s press conference that stretched nearly two hours on Monday, including: “How did a controlled drug, TMZ, arrive in the kitchen? Did any kitchen staff have a prescription or use TMZ? Did an employee crush TMZ pills while in the kitchen? Was CCTV reviewed to determine who had access to the kitchen? Certainly, the Chinese Security Service could have interview the hotel staff to attempt to learn who might have been using TMZ.”

“WADA also appears unconcerned by the fact that TMZ was discovered at a hotel in China by the Chinese State Security over three and a half months after the athletes who tested positive were in the hotel,” Tygart said. “Does WADA believe that the hotel was not cleaned despite these three months spanning the height of the Covid epidemic when restaurants and public places were almost certainly required to perform extensive daily and nightly cleaning?”

Tygart noted that “at least some” of the positive tests featured TMZ levels in a similar range as Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who was dealt a four-year sanction after WADA appealed.

Tygart appears to have the White House’s support in USADA’s battle against WADA. Rahul Gupta, who is President Joe Biden‘s top anti-doping official as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the New York Times earlier this week that an independent investigation is needed.

“The United States stands by its commitment to ensure that every American athletes and those across the globe are provided a level playing field and a fair shot in international athletic competitions,” Dr. Gupta said. “There must be rigorous independent investigations to look into any incident of potential wrongdoing.”

Dr. Gupta said he plans to bring up the topic at a meeting of sports ministers this week in Washington, D.C. He also serves as the Americas representative among public authorities on WADA’s executive committee.

Check out the complete list below of the WADA rules violations alleged by USADA:

  • WADA’s own rules require that a violation be found in contamination cases, that in-competition results be disqualified, that a provisional suspension be imposed at the outset, and that the violation be publicly announced.

  • Under the rules, these 23 athletes committed an anti-doping rule violation even if they were not at fault. CHINADA, nor any other anti-doping organization, has the discretionary power to find no violation based on contamination.

  • CHINADA did not follow the rules.

  • WADA failed to appeal CHINADA’s decision to correct the clear and obvious errors, AND they did not initiate a compliance action against CHINADA for its disregard of the rules.

  • WADA’s statements at the press conference about 10 cases on U.S. soil for which there was no violation and no public disclosure, is concerning. These 10 cases were not USADA’s, and we had no involvement with them, if they in fact happened in the U.S. This is a disturbing claim, as these cases must be International Federation cases with which USADA has no involvement. But it suggests WADA’s decision to allow China to sweep the 23 cases under the rug without consequence is apparently just the tip of the iceberg. So, how many more cases have been treated the same in violation of the rules?

  • By not following its own rules in this case, WADA has shown that different rules apply for different countries or circumstances despite the fact the rules afford WADA no such discretion. The lack of transparency makes this double standard all the more unsavory and intolerable as it undermines any remaining trust athletes have in the current global regulator structure and leadership.

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M C
1 month ago

I can’t believe USADA is pushing this conspiracy theory. They need to focus on keeping the Americans clean and not worry about anybody else. WADA has it covered.

blue
Reply to  M C
1 month ago

USADA is good at conspiracy theory always

Trulycurious
Reply to  M C
1 month ago

Are you being sarcastic or are you Chinese?

Michael Lawrence
Reply to  M C
1 month ago

… covered up. Fixed it for you

Aquajosh
1 month ago

Do you know who the USADA Director of Athlete Relations is?

Allison Wagner.

She was denied World Championships and Olympic gold medals by confirmed drug users.

Denied World titles in 1994 by
Bin Lu – busted for dehydrotestosterone but not before winning three golds at 1994 Worlds.
Dai Guohong – nicknamed “The Flying Dumptruck” for how ugly her strokes were, swam 93-94. Won the 1994 World title in the 400 IM. Mysteriously withdrew from Chinese Nationals in 95, never to be seen again even on the domestic scene.
Denied Olympic gold by Michelle Smith, who came out of nowhere to win three gold in Atlanta, but got caught in 1998 tampering her test with enough alcohol to… Read more »

Bo Swims
Reply to  Aquajosh
1 month ago

Michelle Smith was on again, off again with Snelling at UCSC & spending time at the University of Houston.

In 1990 now banned coach Zhou Ming spent time at our pool with 2 swimmers one being Zhuang Yong (92 Gold in 100 Free). Ming was a guest speaker at a national camp mentioned in the below link. Post 92,Smith left UCSC and with her shot putter husband training by herself and goes from not making a B final to winning 3 gold & 1 bronze in 1996. We all knew what she looked like before & after leaving Calgary.

I think training beside a doper inspired her to be a doper and her doper husband enabled her.

https://archive.org/stream/swimnewsn155/swimnewsn155_djvu.txt

Swimmun’ Folx
1 month ago

The US Federal government can do good. But getting the US government involved in this issue (especially at this early stage) may not the be best strategy. Expect unintended consequences.

Keep this in mind:
“The government was the primary source of misinformation during the pandemic, and the government censored dissidents and critics to hide that fact.”
—Dr. J Bhattacharya,
Stanford Medical School Professor of Epidemiology,
Co-author of The Great Barrington Declaration (open letter published in October 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns)

PBJSwimming
Reply to  Swimmun’ Folx
1 month ago

Not sure that I’d quote that guy, who supports some pretty fringe theories.

bigNowhere
Reply to  PBJSwimming
1 month ago

Yes, Bhattacharya is an even bigger source if misinformation. He really lowered my opinion of Stanford.

Last edited 1 month ago by bigNowhere
Sapiens Ursus
Reply to  bigNowhere
1 month ago

If you want to lose some sleep research Stanford and Eugenics. I say lose some sleep because the movement went underground after WW2 and never actually left elite American society…

Trulycurious
Reply to  bigNowhere
1 month ago

It should already have been pretty low.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  PBJSwimming
1 month ago

Didn’t feel like doing much work to see why this guy is dumb, let’s check Wikipedia:

Bhattacharya was an early opponent of lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and questioned the severity of the virus

Welp, don’t gotta listen to him – or you! – about anything else ever now. Freeing.

Confused
1 month ago

The world has two wars going on and the White House is worried about doping 🤦

Mike
Reply to  Confused
1 month ago

To be fair, it’s the guy at the White House who’s job is anti-doping.

PBJSwimming
Reply to  Confused
1 month ago

I think that both are worthy of concern and attention.

Sapiens Ursus
Reply to  Confused
1 month ago

And with such tasks it has quite a large bureaucracy. Indeed there’s more important things for the President to do, this article is referencing a specific official in the specific agency the Office of National Drug Control Policy dedicated specially too, well…

America really has a political literacy problem doesn’t it?

Trulycurious
Reply to  Sapiens Ursus
1 month ago

too? literacy?

Gldnbehr
Reply to  Confused
1 month ago

There is a reason that many countries sponsor doping programs. High performance is not without it’s benefits. It is a government level issue.

blue
Reply to  Confused
1 month ago

because us have a psychological disorder for china

FST
Reply to  Confused
1 month ago

There are a lot more than 2 wars going on right now in the world…

JoeB
1 month ago

Can’t wait for the White House to invade WADA for hiding ”needles of mass destruction.”

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

All of Tygart’s questions are pretty reasonable. (How’d all the contamination get there, and why was it STILL THERE months later?? C’mon. Also, is the procedure Chinada used to even FIND that contamination some sort of defined procedure?!)

And even if you buy the kitchen contamination case…why isn’t there a procedure in place to monitor those specific athletes more closely afterwards???

Like that just seems like a layup – hey, there was an anomaly on these tests, but we’ll allow that there was a “contamination” so there’s no foul by the athletes. But! Now you’ve gotta be tested every x weeks as a precautionary measure.

How is something that simple not something WADA would have in place!?

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

“why was it STILL THERE months later??”

No kidding. I can’t believe WADA even went with that. Sheer buffoonery. The TMZ overflows all year long out of that kitchen like a chocolate waterfall.

They had nothing except defensiveness and threats. That’s why they had to carefully craft that sentence about 10 athletes on American soil. Dressing up nothing as something just like the Alcatraz escapees with the fake heads in a bed.

Carlo
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Also it should be investigated why CHINADA reported the positive cases on it,s soil and didn’t hide it while USADA didn’t.

Also all TUE cases should be made public.

It,s time to crash and burn.

Last edited 1 month ago by Carlo
Bjoel
Reply to  Carlo
1 month ago

It’s been explained multiple times that there is no evidence USADA hid anything, they flat out deny what WADA claims.

It’s very telling that you continue to repeat this claim in attempt to muddy the issue.

Carlo
Reply to  Bjoel
1 month ago

Yeah. I don’t believe USADA. At least CHINADA didn’t hide the positive results which they could easily have done during COVID.

USADA is trying to cover themselves by implying WADA is lying.

Investigate everything including the validity of TUE,s.

USADA also appealed to WADA not to make cases of positive results for doping from contamination public. What USADA called non disclosure. Why did they do so?

It needs to be investigated.

Last edited 1 month ago by Carlo
Trulycurious
Reply to  Carlo
1 month ago

Carlo is a Chinese plant. He makes these claims with no basis at all. What is this USADA appealing to WADA not to make…. bs. What the hell is he talking about? How about posting a link to a real site, not your weird chinese blog. And try not to edit out your comments hours later to hide your tracks.

sur
Reply to  Carlo
1 month ago

why would you make all suspicious yet “cleared” cases public? That’d be directly against personal privacy protocols… besides we don’t know what that would unveiled… how many athletes and from ALL countries would be made public for no reasons. To be cleat that would include us here in America as well.

Carlo
Reply to  sur
1 month ago

You ask the right questions. However, such questions should be directed to USADA.

They are the ones that want to open pandoras box.

The last link I sent, where according to USADA “Almost 30 cases since 2016 are innocent source positives” is from 2021. We are now in 2024.

Last edited 1 month ago by Carlo
Jordan
1 month ago

I reckon president Trump would have just threatened WADA with sanction unless the decision was reverted. Too easy.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Jordan
1 month ago

WADA would have laughed at him and said we’ll see you in court

All we have to do is turn on the television

Breezeway
1 month ago

Well, there goes a sport only Olympic broadcast. NBC and Rowdy will be broadcasting this every day of the schedule. 2016 was bad, now this will be worse

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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