WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CHAIRMAN RICHARD POUND ANNOUNCES FINAL STATISTICS AND BREAKDOWN OF 3639 DOPING CONTROL/DRUG TESTS PRIOR TO OPENING OF SALT LAKE OLYMPICS;
HOPES "MOST DOPING FREE OLYMPICS AND CLEANEST COMPETITION EVER"
(Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) -- World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Chairman Richard W. Pound today released a report (available on wada-ama.org) of the final statistics and breakdown for 3639 WADA doping control/drug tests conducted in the year prior to the opening of the Salt Lake Olympics, including 1200 conducted in the two months lead-up to the Games.
Pound made the following points in a news conference following issuance of the report to WADA Board members:
· WADA, as the oversight body for doping control for sports worldwide, in agreement with virtually all International Olympic Sports Federations (IFs), conducted 3639 out-of-competition drug tests since April 2001. 1621 of these were conducted across the seven International Winter Sports Federations as a lead up to the Opening of the Games.
· We hope to have the most doping free Olympics and cleanest competition ever.
· We want Olympic medalists to be heroes, not winners.
· We conducted 193 out-of-competition EPO blood tests for winter sports as a lead-up to the Salt Lake Games. In addition, 20 EPO tests were conducted on behalf of the International Rowing Association for a total 213 EPO tests.
· We tested athletes from 76 nations in 49 different countries.
· The fact that we conducted these tests at any time, anywhere, and had agreements to track athletes' whereabouts, was a very significant anti-doping strategy:
· The message to athletes is, "You can be tested anywhere / anytime 365 days of the year." In other words, "You can run, but you can't hide."
· There is always interest in the number of positives. As of today, from the 3639 tests, WADA has received 27 positive analytical results. 6 tests resulted in no sanctions due to medical justification. 1 test resulted in a warning by the International Federation. 16 tests resulted in sanctions. 4 results are still in the results management phase, under analysis by the International Federations. The specific breakdown by country and sport is in the report.
· As these results show, the fact is the opposite of the myth that all athletes cheat. It is simply not true. Less than 1|2 of 1% test positive and require sanctions.
· The positives actually help lead to the overwhelming number of negatives. The fear of getting caught is a deterrent to most athletes.
· The vast majority of athletes don't cheat, for three reasons: the purity of the ethics of sport and the Olympics, health of their bodies, and fear of getting caught.
· Athletes should feel confident we are creating a level playing field.
· For the first time, WADA through an agreement with the International Ski Federation (FIS) had its first EPO positive A and B result which related in a doping infraction. WADA and FIS have been working very close to prevent those athletes who decide to break the rules from competing.
· Through an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) WADA was able to conduct testing professional hockey players 7 months prior to the start of the Olympic Games.
· We tested 111 NHL players. This in part was due to the cooperation of the players, the National Hockey League Players Association and the National Hockey League. This shows that even in major professional sports, if there is a will there is a way.
· For the first time, WADA, SLOC and the IOC have created a taskforce coordinating the pre-Games testing program from January 29 through February 8, 2002.
Some final related points on WADA's mission:
· As everyone knows, there is now enormous variation in sanctions of athletes for similar offenses. WADA is writing a World Anti-Doping Code which can bring harmony, confidence, and predictability in what is now a fragmented system.
· Some athletes are saying, after a positive, that they did not know a steroid was in a supplement they are taking. I'd have to respond that Olympic athletes know they have to find out what is in their supplements and if they aren't sure then don't take it. Ignorance is no excuse. We do support research and improved labeling of supplements.
· Here in Salt Lake, WADA's Team of Independent Observers will play a critical watchdog role over every stage of the testing process, helping to assure that alleged problems of previous Olympics do not occur.
· Finally, as a part of our ethics and education program, here at the Salt Lake Games we have launched a voluntary Athlete Passport documenting doping control records and an interactive e-learning program.
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