WADA Founder Dick Pound Supports Org’s Handling of Chinese Doping; Athletes Council Reacts

Dick Pound, the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Association, has added his voice to the cacophony amid a global roll over the organization’s handling of 23 positive tests for Chinese swimmers ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Pound, who has been one of the leading voices in the Olympic movement for decades, sided with WADA over their handling of the issue and pressed the United States Anti Doping Association over its response to recent revelations.

“I am deeply disappointed and disgusted by the deliberate lies and distortions coming from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), including that WADA has swept doping cases in China under the rug,” Pound said. “That accusation, bereft of any truth, has but a single purpose: to deliberately damage the reputation of WADA and to lessen the worldwide trust that has been built up since WADA was created a quarter of a century ago to head up the international fight against doping in sport. What is missing in USADA’s conduct is a willingness to work for solutions – just endless and biased criticism.”

WADA also received support from the 42-member WADA Foundation Board. Witold Banka of Poland is the president of that board and China’s first-ever Olympic Games gold medalist Yang Yang is the Vice-President.

There are no Americans on the Board, which is WADA’s “highest decision making authority.” The Americas representatives are from Panama, Jamaica, Chile, and Canada in spite of the United States being WADA’s largest single-nation financial support.

“My suggestion, Mr President (referring to Banka), is two-fold: first, to wait for the report of the independent investigator and then to institute legal proceedings claiming significant damages against USADA since there must be serious consequences arising from its outrageous conduct.

WADA has appointed a Swiss prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation into the whole saga.

Pound’s is the latest in an escalating back-and-forth between the Americans and USADA CEO Travis Tygart and the international organization. Tygart has accused WADA of a coverup of the case of 23 Chinese athletes who tested positive ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Chinese Anti-Doping Association reported the positive tests and concluded that they were caused by contamination in a kitchen used to prepare food for the athletes.

Among the high-profile names on the list of Chinese athletes are double Olympic gold medalist Zhang Yufei, Olympic gold medalist Wang Shun, and World Champion and World Record holder Qin Haiyang.

Anti-doping organizations from other countries have made tamer statements, but have largely stayed on the sidelines of the back-and-forth.

WADA has repeatedly threatened legal action, though that doesn’t seem to have quelled Tygart’s approach. The organization has circled-the-wagons over the last week. In addition to support of the Board and Pound, the WADA Athlete Council, which includes athletes from both China and the United States, has released a statement that is largely in support of WADA’s handling of the matter.

The Athletes Council statement (read in full here) says that they were “presented the chronology of events, the scientific, legal and intelligence & investigations aspects of the case, as well as the rationale for WADA’s handling of the case.”

While the Athletes Council did not explicitly say that it was okay with WADA’s handling, it applauded “WADA’s efforts to communicate the facts behind the case” and “welcome WADA’s move to have an independent prosecutor conduct a thorough review of its handling of the matter, and we look forward to having the opportunity to assess the findings of this review and work in partnership with WADA should any areas of improvement be identified.”

While the statement was not critical of WADA, it was critical of the information about the Chinese cases being leaked. From the statement:

“At the same time, we are concerned by the fact that athletes’ personal information, including their names and photos, have been leaked to the media. This is a serious breach of athletes’ rights, including of minors, which simply cannot be tolerated. As such, we have asked WADA to investigate what led to this information being leaked to the media and whether any adjustments to rules, processes or procedures should be made to limit this risk in the future, while maintaining protection of whistleblowers.”

The statement also says that it “has not been asserted here” that the Chinese athletes were doping.

We firmly believe that athletes who dope, which has not been asserted here, must be appropriately sanctioned and that the global anti-doping system must be robust. We equally believe that the presumption of innocence and the right to fair and due process, regardless of an athlete’s sport or country, must be at the core of the antidoping system.

Read more coverage here:

More from Pound’s Statement

“On behalf of WADA, I am deeply disappointed and disgusted by the deliberate lies and distortions coming from USADA, including that WADA has swept doping cases in China under the rug.

“That accusation, bereft of any truth, has but a single purpose: to deliberately damage the reputation of WADA and to lessen worldwide trust that has been built up since WDA was created a quarter of a century ago to head up the international fight against doping in sport.

“The claim that WADA has in some way inappropriately favoured China is completely false.

“WADA advised the world anti-doping code and applied its standards in an even-handed way.

“Super-powers are treated the same way – ask Russia.

“What evidence has produced to suggest China has benefited in any way?

“Unlike many other cases in other countries, the Chinese NADO reported positive tests in the WADA system, nothing was hidden.

“The Chinese investigation led to a conclusion of contamination, not doping. The evidence pointed firmly in that direction, none pointed to doping.

“To the best of my knowledge and belief, USADA was not present.

“USADA alleges that the whistleblower suggests a different conclusion.

“When WADA asked to be introduced to the whistleblower – assuming he or she actually exists – USADA did not respond.

“Did. Not. Respond.

“Did not respond to the international agency created to lead the fight against doping in sport of which USADA is supposed to be an integral part.”

“USADA is financed by the United States government: that government is currently in a chilly relationship with China’s government.

“Could there be a connection?

“But the beat goes on. Now USADA in its omniscience has declared that the Chinese incident is worse than the state-sponsored systemic Russian doping conduct that WADA exposed and prosecuted.

“That’s a headline grab, unencumbered by evidence.

“What is missing in USADA’s conduct is a demonstrated willingness to work for solutions, not biased criticism and the resulting negative impact on clean athletes.

“I hope the public authorities participating today will support the organisation that they helped to create in 1999 and to maintain ever since.

“WADA is the only organisation with such a unique global mandate and able to bring the public and sports authorities together in a common purpose.

“My suggestion, Mr President, is two-fold: first, to wait for the report of the independent investigator and then to institute legal proceedings claiming significant damages against USADA since there must be serious consequences arising from its outrageous conduct.”

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Chris
30 days ago

Question – how much does China give to WADA? According to reports they gave over $2M to support WADA. https://shorturl.at/lrlRL. What was the contributions from other countries? Is there collusion here on not fully penalizing the 23 swimmers from China? Are there payments potentially influencing reviewers and scrutiny. Is something hidden from investigators. Is there money exchanges tainting the entire process.

Branden,
“There hasn’t been any real evidence that there was “gross misconduct” on the part of WADA, and I doubt that the investigator would get the kind of access to uncover something really shady like bribe money or evidence of intentional doping. If that stuff were accessible, NYT or ARD would… Read more »

JoeB
1 month ago

Notice anything missing? Whatever happened to the mysterious USADA caller, the one who told either swimmers, or their coaches, or both, that China was going to be stripped of its relay gold medals from Tokyo? Why has the USADA caller never been identified? And why haven’t the swimmers and/or their coaches stepped forward to say they were the ones called, this is who called them, and this is what they were told? Everyone wants transparency. But it seems an interesting part of the puzzle has disappeared and no one is asking why. And before someone steps forward and says the athletes and/or coaches only spoke if their names were kept out of it, why are we supposed to accept their… Read more »

Mako
1 month ago

OK, so there was contamination. Then why did WADA suspend swimmers in the past while their cases were investigated even though those swimmers said that their supplements must have been contaminated?

Why give some swimmers the benefit of doubt but deny others the same rights?

It looks like WADA does not treat all athletes the same, and that is why I cannot trust WADA.

Mako
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Then we should be angry with the WA and not WADA. Did I understand you correctly?

Last edited 1 month ago by Mako
Lpman
1 month ago

Two thoughts…
1. Has Dick Pound ever considered going by Richard just to make things a little easier?
2. I wonder if Dick Pound and Steele Johnson are acquainted

Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

I particularly loved this part, “What is missing in USADA’s conduct is a willingness to work for solutions…”

Solutions to what? According to WADA there are no problems, other than organizations who don’t cower and shut up.

My second favorite was this gem from Pound, “…wait for the report of the independent investigator and then to institute legal proceedings…”

Same sentence. Same sentence, He didn’t even soften with a comma. How can anybody be so blind toward the significance of his own words? This independent investigation is such a sham Pound didn’t even offer the slightest pause or possibility that the report would be anything other than totally favorable to WADA, and therefore used to buttress legal action.

Sapiens Ursus
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

As I have understood it, USADA isn’t campaigning for the Chinese athletes to be banned or sanctions against CHINADA, but rather simply raised the concern that the handling of this matter, especially the total lack of transperancy that made their knowlegde of the situation at all the result of leak, had profoundly disturbing consequences about how the ideal of clean sport is truly being upheld.

In response WADA instantly went for hyperbole about how shameful and slanderous USADA questioning them was, even threatening legal action. It only further epitomized the exact worry USADA raised and hardly at all demostrates from WADA “a willingness to work for solutions”.

It’s probably all bluster but a sardonic part of me really… Read more »

Random123
1 month ago

dick pound… we were all rooting for you!

Greg P
Reply to  Random123
1 month ago

I see what you did there 😏

Hmmmm🤔
1 month ago

So, what if the “independent” investigation shows gross misconduct on the part of WADA? Does he still want to sue USADA?

Since they can’t adequately explain their action, the accusations don’t seem so “outrageous”.

Charlie
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Are we not supposed to care that the “external counsel” who advised WADA not to take the case to CAS became internal general counsel of WADA just a year later and is now spearheading the current attempts to cover WADA’s backside? Mere coincidence? The same General Counsel who says the WADA Board wasn’t informed of the matter because the more people who know, the greater the chance of a leak? How about using the vast SwimSwam investigative apparatus to get to the bottom of that? Oh, and the #2 person on the WADA Execcutive Board is a Chinese ex-athlete. Oh, and how can WADA be so sure that CAS would have rejected an appeal of the Chinese handling of the… Read more »

Peter
1 month ago

What a nutter

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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