Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACP, FACSM, FACPM, FCP, is an internist with special expertise in the field of drug use in sports. He is the lead author of the internationally acclaimed textbook, Drugs and the Athlete. Dr. Wadler currently serves as the Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee and serves as an ex-officio member of WADA’s Health, Medicine, and Research Committee. Additionally, he has served as a Medical Advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Trustee of the Board of the American College of Sports Medicine and of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Among his other sports medicine activities, he has served as Tournament Physician of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
For his groundbreaking work in the field of drug abuse in sports, Dr Wadler received the International Olympic Committee's President's Prize in 1993. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject and his opinions are widely sought by the print and electronic media nationally and internationally. In 2007, he was selected by the Institute for International Sport as “One of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America” and serves Chairman of the Communications and Information Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine. In addition, he is Chairman of the American Ballet Theatre's Medical Advisory Board where he oversees the development of medical guidelines for the healthy and sound training of dancers in the United States. Dr. Wadler is the Chairman of the College Council of the State University of New York at Old Westbury. Dr. Wadler maintains a private practice in Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine in Manhasset, New York and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.
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