What is the World Anti-Doping Agency?

The single biggest threat to the Olympics is doping.
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TRANSCRIPT

Question: What is the World Anti-Doping Agency?

Gary Wadler: The World Anti-Doping Agency is an international initiative really to deal with the whole issue of doping.  It was born in really 2000.  Its governance is fifty percent governments of the world and fifty percent sporting bodies of the world.  So it’s a not-for-profit organization and its impact is felt throughout the entire world, if you will.

Question: Who is in this organization, and what makes the rules stick?

Gary Wadler: Well, the origins of the World Anti-Doping Agency really began with the International Olympic Committee.  And the International Olympic Committee back in the ‘60s really put anti-doping on the map and invested a lot of money, did a lot of research, set up the first laboratories, set up the first list of prohibited substances, but at the end of the day, various sundry exposes developed and they finally- they being the IOC, International Olympic Committee, in the name of Juan Antonio Samaranch and more recently Jacques Rogge, who said the single biggest threat to the Olympic movement was doping and we’ve got to externalize it from within.  And so there was a call for an independent entity in the United States.  There were hearings shortly after the Salt Lake scandal and I testified before Senator McCain regarding that and General Barry McCaffrey, who then was a drug czar did, and some leaders from around the world made it clear that they all felt there needed to be some sort of institutional organized approach.  And that gave rise eventually to the World Anti-Doping Agency.  And as I said, its governance is fifty percent governments and fifty percent sporting bodies.  And people would say well why governments?  Why would they be interested in this?  And the answer is this is not only about elite athletes; these are about kids as well.  And doping, as we know, not only in the United States, throughout the world, doping agents are being abused more and more.  And so as governments, they recognized they had a responsibility to the citizenry as well as maintaining the integrity of sports within their respective countries.  Similarly, the sporting bodies realized some of these things required an institutional change within the countries with changes in law and regulation.  And we’ve seen it happen here in the United States in the Controlled Substance Act; a variety of things have happened.  And in fact, most of anti-doping initiatives in the last few years in the United States have really generated results that have had nothing to do with drug testing, but really investigations such as BALCO.

Recorded on: 04/25/2008