20 Nov 2002 19:41
De Merode Problem, Not Solution, for Olympic Drug Testing, Says Former
Spokesman Bob Weiner; WADA, USADA Created as Independent Answers to His History
To: National and Sports Desks
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement by Bob Weiner, former spokesman for White House Drug Policy Office, 1995-2001, on the death of Prince Alexandre de Merode, chair of the IOC Medical Commission:
"Prince de Merode hung on far too long in insisting on maintaining the reins in fighting drugs in sports internationally. With the dedication of Dick Pound, Frank Shorter, and Barry McCaffrey, WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) and USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) were created largely because few trusted de Merode's judgment, independence, and history. Lost vials in Olympics and cover-ups of cheating used to be the norm to protect the big names, and de Merode was at the center of the mysterious and unexplainable disappearances of dirty test results. He had to be dragged into approving testing for EPO and other new processes and substances which athletes used to beat the system.
"Thankfully now, under Pound and Shorter's leadership, sports authorities and governments have become invested in working toward clean competitions, but it was in large measure because of de Merode that independent bodies needed to be created. At the end, he insisted on keeping his post as IOC's Medical Commission Chair but in many ways WADA and USADA constantly have had to work around him. Prince de Merode created the problem, not the solution, for sports drug testing and ultimately a clean Olympics."
Weiner was spokesman (Director of Public Affairs) for the White House Drug Policy Office, 1995-Aug. 2001 under Drug Czars Lee Brown, Barry McCaffrey, and the Bush transition. He coordinated drug testing media at the Sydney Olympics for the White House and at the Salt Lake Games for WADA. He is now a consultant on sports and drugs and is President of Robert Weiner Associates Public Affairs and Issue Strategies.
/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
Copyright 2002, U.S. Newswire