World Aquatics Confirms U.S. Federal Investigation Into Chinese Doping Tests

The United States has launched a federal investigation into the Chinese doping scandal that saw 23 swimmers test positive for a banned substance in 2021 and still compete at the Tokyo Olympics later that year.

World Aquatics confirmed the investigation to The Associated Press (AP), noting that executive director Brent Nowicki was subpoenaed to testify in the investigation.

The confirmation of the investigation comes just over one month after a House Committee on China asked the Justice Department and FBI to investigate the case under a federal law that allows investigations into suspected doping conspiracies even if they occurred outside of the United States.

“World Aquatics can confirm that its executive director, Brent Nowicki, was served with a witness subpoena by the United States government,” World Aquatics said in a statement to The Associated Press. “He is working to schedule a meeting with the government, which, in all likelihood will obviate the need for testimony before a Grand Jury.”

World Aquatics declined to answer questions about which office was handling the investigation, and where and when Nowicki was served his subpoena, according to AP.

In April, news broke that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at a training camp in early 2021 in the months leading up to the Tokyo Games.

Chinese anti-doping authorities (CHINADA) found Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) in the test results, and acquitted all the swimmers without penalty after finding that the samples were flagged as positive as a result of food contamination.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accepted CHINADA’s findings without an independent investigation. WADA, which launched an investigation after the news broke, has come under heavy criticism over its handling of the case, including being slammed at a U.S. Congressional Hearing that was led by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart and included swimmers Michael Phelps and Allison Schmitt testifying.

Eleven of the swimmers who tested positive in 2021 are set to compete at the Paris Olympics, which begin in just over three weeks. The most notable swimmers who tested positive were Tokyo Olympic champions Zhang Yufei and Wang Shun, and 2023 triple world champion and world record holder Qin Haiyang.

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13 hours ago

“The United States is at risk of losing both the 2028 Summer and 2034 Winter Olympics if American law enforcement over reaches in its investigation of Chinese swimmers,”

The case becomes intriguing and convoluted.

Quoted as Reuters’ reporting:

14 days ago

I think US Government forget that they are not the Masters of the Universe. Hahaha.
The case in China. Are US Government wants to be world organizations like UN or wants to be World’s Ruler.
With USD 1.9trillions deficit why they bother with this trivial matters. Or this is the first step to make a reason to cancel US fund commitment to WADA?

14 days ago

Did anyone say what specifically happened in the kitchen? How did the heart medication make its way to everyone’s food? If there was a rationale explanation, someone should say what happened.

Reply to  M C
14 days ago

Sun Yang was the chef!

Reply to  TimOB
13 days ago

Maybe he used his hammer to tenderize?

Luda Z
14 days ago

News in Chinese media is that Zhou Jihong the Chinese VP of World Aquatics is also being investigated for embezzlement. Things are heating up for cheating China!

Reply to  Luda Z
14 days ago

Yes apparently she can’t leave China. It may make the Olympics a bit fairer!

Sapiens Ursus
Reply to  Luda Z
14 days ago

I don’t think China is quaking that Congress dislikes them, it’s kinda been the status quo for the PRCs entire existence

14 days ago

As an American I am not sure if this is the play

14 days ago

Among the “most notable” CHN swimmers who tested positive, let’s not forget Yang Junxuan (a two-time positve tester, clenbuterol in 2016-17 timeframe and TMZ in 2021) who won gold in the 4×200 Free relay and silver in the 4×100 Mixed Medley Relay in Tokyo Olympics, and gold in the 200 Free individually at the 2022 World Championships. Latest reporting on her is that she was suffering recently from “central nervous system fatigue” but nonetheless set the Chinese National record in the 100 Free in :52.68.

14 days ago


14 days ago

As much as I’d like to see justice, what good is a US federal investigation for a WADA issue?

Reply to  Swammer
14 days ago

The US pays a significant amount to fund WADA…. Could lead to threatening to reduce or withhold payments if WADA doesn’t change their tune.

Reply to  Swim3057
14 days ago

There is no reason to find a corrupt international organization.

Reply to  SwimCoach
14 days ago


Reply to  Swim3057
14 days ago

Lmao…WADA is not even playing a tune, they’re playing by a legal basis for their decisions. It’s literally USADA who needs to change their “tune” lol. Right now they’re just making accusations and brute forcing international organizations to play by their rules.

Also, it hurts the US far more by not contributing to WADA. In fact the US could part ways with WADA entirely. But if US athletes are not abiding by the world anti d*ping code, no other country is going to believe they’re getting tested properly by USADA (their own national ADO). And this extends far beyond just swimming

Last edited 14 days ago by Swimmer

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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