Doping in sport: why it can’t be stopped | The Economist

Doping in sport: why it can’t be stopped | The Economist

It was one of sport’s darkest episodes A much bigger scandal with Russian athletes than we knew Following the Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014… …Russia was proved to have carried out… …a vast state-sponsored doping operation Conspiracy to conceal positive tests Widespread doping by Russian athletes at the Sochi Olympics I don’t think anyone was expecting the gravity… …in terms of the findings, in terms of the cheating The scandal didn’t just expose an epidemic of foul play… …it called into question the credibility of a system… …that’s supposed to guard against doping… …and protect honest athletes It still smells of bias… …towards the interests of sports-governing bodies… …to the detriment of the athletes Doping is definitely bad for business… …and that’s used as an illegitimate excuse to… …brush it under the rug or ignore it completely So is there a lack of will to catch the cheats? Doping isn’t just a Russian problem… …it’s a global problem In 2011 an anonymous survey asked… …more than 1,200 athletes… …whether they had used performance-enhancing drugs The result, which was kept quiet for six years, was astonishing 44% admitted to doping… …but typically only 1-2% of samples test positive Our career, our livelihood, our name… …is based on making sure that we… …stay clean and we compete fairly Callum Skinner is a retired track cyclist… …a gold and silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics Now he campaigns to keep doping out of sports What we have to do is to send out a clear message… …that if you do dope… …it comes with negative consequences Just like the Olympic motto… …athletes want to be “faster, higher, stronger” Performance-enhancing drugs promise just that But all drugs come with health risks… …and crucially, they tip the balance in competition The sports governing bodies… …especially the International Olympic Committee or the IOC… …say they want to stop the cheats But Antoine Duval, a leading sports lawyer… …believes they are part of the problem They have an incentive of being seen as doing a lot… …but they don’t have an incentive to catch a lot of cheats… …because that would damage the image of their sport Back in 1999 the IOC declared war on doping It created the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA WADA will be very useful… …for the fight in the future against doping WADA was set up to be the anti-doping watchdog… …and to write the rulebook that would dictate… …best practice globally But WADA’s independence is questionable Rob Koehler has unparalleled insight As the former deputy director at WADA… …he knows the pressures facing the agency As WADA became stronger there was resistance… …from the Olympic movement where there was a desire… …to have more control When you lose control… …you lose the ability to dictate the outcomes 50% of WADA’s funding comes from 190 governments… …and the other half comes from the IOC And WADA’s average annual budget of $27m… …is less than 2% of the IOC’s revenue in an average year We need to understand that WADA as an institution is weak It’s basically a naked legislator It produces rules that it has absolutely no power… …and capacity to enforce WADA has around 120 employees Only seven of them are tasked with conducting… …investigations into doping schemes… …worldwide So it’s extremely dependent on goodwill With no power to enforce… …WADA relies on the national anti-doping agencies… …and sports federations to do drug testing But different countries have different means, ability… …and yes, political will, to catch dopers And that’s why the Russians could run a very neat… …front organisations that was apparently in compliance… …with those rules… …while systematically bypassing them The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were a huge success… …for the Russian team Two years later and just weeks before the… …opening ceremony at Rio 2016… …something happened that no one had anticipated Grigory Rodchenkov… …the head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory… …turned whistleblower His admissions… …captured in the Oscar-winning Netflix documentary… …“Icarus”, thrust Russia’s actions… …into the public consciousness like never before I was helping to facilitate one of the most… …elaborate doping ploys in sports history WADA had been investigating allegations of Russian doping… …since 2014 But it wasn’t until July 2016 that it published a report… …conducted by independent lawyer Richard McLaren The Moscow laboratory operated… …within a state-directed, failsafe system Russia tampered with urine samples of athletes… …in a thriller-like, cover-up operation Russia was found to have mouse holes to slip samples through… …in the middle of the night and switch urine samples They even mixed in salt and coffee… …to contaminate doped samples More than 1,000 Russian athletes were accused of doping Russia was categorical in its denial There has never been and, I hope… …will never be any state system of supporting doping in Russia WADA was determined that Russia should pay the full price The WADA executive committee… …made strong recommendations… …that the Russian Olympic Committee be banned from… …the Rio Olympic games I recall being so proud of the organisation I worked for But the IOC rejected WADA’s recommendations The basic and the difficult question we had to answer… …was: can you hold any athlete… …responsible for the wrongdoing… …of the government of his or her country? The IOC allowed individual athletes… …to appeal against the decision… …at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS The result? Over two-thirds of the Russian team… …were allowed to participate Two years later the IOC cleared 169 Russian athletes… …to take part in the Winter Olympics But were those outcomes entirely due to concern about… …the rights of individual athletes? The answer may lie in a complex web of… …politics and power in sports Russia is a powerhouse in sport They provide a lot of money into sport They host a lot of events in the sport And there’s this Russian politics and sports are very often enmeshed Alexander Zhukov, Russia’s deputy prime minister… …doubled up as president of the Russian Olympic Committee Pavel Kolobkov was deputy minister of sports… …and part of WADA And then there’s Vitaly Mutko He was sports minister during the Sochi scandal… …but he wasn’t sacked for this embarrassing episode In fact he was promoted to deputy prime minister But placing influential people in positions of power… …isn’t just a Russian affair The IOC has two bodies that are predominantly dedicated… …to fighting doping… …WADA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS Like WADA, CAS was also established by the IOC These two bodies are meant to be independent… …but an intricate network of rules… …and people has raised questions Well I think it is a very small community, in terms of sport There’s a lot of conflicts of interest where… …people are filling different roles Three senior IOC members… …Thomas Bach… …Craig Reedie… …and John Coates… …have held key positions at the CAS and at WADA… …often at the same time And the list doesn’t end there Should the president of WADA also be an IOC member… …where there’s… …a divergence of loyalties? You don’t see the president of the US… …sitting in the same time on the Supreme Court This is not the way it should work This inner-circle mentality means that the IOC maintains… …a tight grip on the bodies it had set up as independent IOC is an elitist club of the highest kind All those executives of sports… …raise at least a suspicion… …that there might be something foul Despite its $5.7bn revenue per Olympic cycle… …the IOC is registered as a non-profit organisation… …and benefits from Switzerland’s lenient association laws… …which means it has a lot of leeway in how it runs itself… …and raises the question… …is anyone governing the governing bodies? We have private associations… …that are exercising government governance… …and they are proud of it But they claim it without the strings… …that traditional public authorities… …in democratic countries, at least, are subjected to… …which are transparency, accountability, et cetera So can anyone hold the IOC to account? I put some of the blame on sponsors and broadcasters 73% of the IOC’s revenue comes through TV rights They’re the ones supporting and promoting the Olympic games Surely there should be a responsibility… …from the broadcasters that are sponsoring… …from the sponsors; demand change The IOC insists there is no inherent conflict of interest in its… …relationship with WADA It has stated its desire to make testing more independent from… …sports organisations and governments It claims that a $20m investment… …into anti-doping research… …and the protection of clean athletes… …is now bearing fruit But some athletes believe this should just be the start As soon as athletes start to lose confidence in the system… …they start to think, how can I win… …if it’s not a level playing field? People will always find ways of trying to cheat But what we need to do is get better at catching them And I think one of the key ways that we can do that… …is if sports governance officials wake up to… …their responsibility to athletes… …their responsibility to protect fair and clean sport… …their responsibility to protect the welfare of the athletes… …and their responsibility… …for athletes to have faith in the anti-doping system

56 Replies to “Doping in sport: why it can’t be stopped | The Economist”

  1. It's almost like a man saying he's a girl and sweeping the women's Olympics. Thanks The Economist! For shedding light on the subject. Oh yeah, that's right, my bad. Nevermind.

  2. China Dopes, Russia dopes…ok But the USA though you think the american athletes do not dope?
    you are naive.Just look at Gatlin.
    Most high level athletes in any sport is likely to be doping , that the name of the game.
    There are all sort of PEDs from Epo, to testosterone propionate to halotestin.All have different roles and different purpose.

  3. im going to London mates, send the MI or the SIS to pick me up when no one is home but me, I aint merrying anyone

  4. What about cock-full transgender dudes pretending to be biological women winning (and breaking all records) in…
    Women's track
    Women's weightlifting
    Women's soccer
    Women's basketball
    Women's bicycling
    Women's swimming

  5. It depends on the sport. If your sport depends on skill and control, you're not going to get any advantage from sheer muscle mass. I don't see much of a doping problem for archery, billiards, darts, marbles or tiddly-winks.

  6. So the Russians are bad because they cheated. They were able to cheat because of the communist system in place which allows insiders in the government to hold special offices and manipulate the system for political purposes. Yet all the people pushing for communist way of life here in America still.want to point the finger at the "bad guys" while simultaneously working to subvert our way of life here. Interesting.

  7. The report is still not absolutely objektive, but I liked that they confirmed that it is NOT ONLY RUSSIAN PROBLEM.

  8. Crazy that a professionally-made video with professional research gets 750 views, whereas any cute cat video gets 10 million

  9. The biggest doping scandal in sport is those women who benefit from 20 years of increased muscle mass and bone density from the testosterone produced in their balls, before getting them cut off in order to compete in women's sport.

  10. If only dopping was the only corruption coming from IOC and Olympics comitee, that would still be plenty solvable… but unfortunately, the hole goes waaaaaay deeper than that.
    Dopping itself is a huge problem in itself, but what about colluding with corrupt governments to launder money, divert funds, lie to the public and whole ton of other stuff?

    The Olympics has become the literal definition of bread and circus. It's just entirely disgusting how this cadre of rich people have been manipulating the good will and intentions of athletes and people to enrich themselves and push their own agenda.
    And you can't even criticize all this shit because people think it's a personal attack on something they like, not noticing how the entire core of the thing is rotten.
    I guess to a level we kinda get what we deserve. The Olympics is just another case of "too big to fall", until it gets so big it crushes us all due to apathy.

  11. I think doping is just the logical step because we give too much importance to these games, if instead we give more importance and exposure for the scientific advance, social sciences… Etc will be doping our brains with more knowledge.

  12. It’s a bit ironic to be talking about removing drugs from sports when the Olympic motto is literally “faster, HIGHER, stronger.” I think changing that would be a good first step.

  13. it is stupid because who the fuck in the world cares who runs faster. I mean there are people who care about this but in a nutshell sport in itself doesnt mean anything considering human develpment. Considering world development, considering hunger or free speech or whatever. its stupid. Athletes who are the best are whortless in human development. Athletes are not given noble prices. ITS SOOOOO FUCKING STUPID 😀


  15. We gonna restored everything yes take those 35 billion FUCKK ATT put THE SAME CEOs of Disney, Fox and some Yakuza in it why? The Pentagon knows waz up THO THE JAPANESE OUTGTTA BE TREATED LIKE FRIENDS!!

  16. The IOC is a joke and I don't understand how anyone can still take the Olympic Games seriously. It's a company driven by profit above all disguising as a sport organization.

  17. sport has become part of the international battle to prove the dominance of a society = money and power. It is no longer sport, it is business and nationalism. Sport has lost the initial meaning = that which we do for pleasure.

  18. People have always cheated – as long as some of the cheats get found out there is hope for the clean athletes. However ultimately it comes down to the morals of the individual athletes.

  19. There's somethig else you never hear about. Why not keep the samples for let's 15 years and test a bunch of them every few years ? Because most of them after a while would come back positive and it would show that sport at the highest level is a circus.

  20. If I were Lebron or Messi and looking to improve sports worldwide, I think I would donate $20M a year to help fix this.

  21. Doping will never stop in sports that's a fact, just like everything else in the world it isn't fair if the world was fair and there was no Optical put in place to give people The Edge or people didn't do illegal activity for the win then the people that's on top now would be at the bottom, need I say this again meaning the people who run the world today or brag about they are the baddest would not be where they are in a fair world those people the colonizers the people who run from the Sun that God created will be in the bottle. And the people that most people think are on the bottom in an unfair world would be on top, meaning the people in a class system who you think are shithole people or the people who get racially discriminated the most would be on top in a fair world where there's no doping or anything else other words so called privilege in anything Not Just Sports. God's truly chosen people not the converted ones the ones that were born by Blood semites definition afro-asiatic if you don't have a Asian background or African background you are not the original Jew oh, you are a converted Jew. That's why the world isn't fair and never will be fair if those type of people could have it their way, and don't expect for them 2 Chainz to give up everything that they have just to be righteous just to have the world like God really wanted it to be and end up going back living in caves I don't think so.

  22. There's no doping and female gymnastics that should be obvious because it's like how God would want his chosen people on top that's when you know it's fair. That's one reason why police officers don't have random drug test because they know they take substance to give them the edge how would they physically be able to do their job against God's truly chosen people. You remember that officer who obviously isn't doped-up had a problem taking down 11 year old girl that's how the world would truly be physically in a perfect girl how God would wanted it

  23. As long as there’s “Bread and Circuses” mentality in us nothing is going to change.
    To the world drugs and alcohol consumption seems a be a lot more urgent issue.
    As well as big farma deceiving the whole planet to spend trillions on stuff we don’t need.

  24. Commercialized sport is designed to keep the masses ignorant. It's working. Puppets and shell organizations are in place to ensure the status quo.

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