Michael Phelps Calls Out WADA's Failures Ahead of Paris Olympics

Michael Phelps, alongside fellow gold medalist Allison Schmitt and USADA's Travis Tygart, is set to testify before Congress about the inefficacy of anti-doping measures led by WADA. Phelps highlights systemic issues and stresses the need for fair competition, criticizing WADA's handling of doping cases, especially involving Chinese swimmers.

Reuters | Updated: 26-06-2024 03:14 IST | Created: 26-06-2024 03:14 IST
Michael Phelps Calls Out WADA's Failures Ahead of Paris Olympics

U.S. swimming star Michael Phelps is expected to tell a congressional panel on Tuesday that anti-doping measures "have fallen short" in a case involving Chinese swimmers ahead of this summer's Paris Olympics. Phelps, fellow gold medalist Allison Schmitt and Travis Tygart, chief executive for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, will testify to lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations about the measures led by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"It is clear to me that any attempts of reform at WADA have fallen short, and there are still deeply rooted systemic problems that prove detrimental to the integrity of international sports and athletes right to fair competition, time and time again," Phelps said in testimony released ahead of the 7 p.m. ET (2300 GMT) hearing. Phelps, with 28 medals to his name, is the most-decorated Olympian of all time. Schmitt won 10 medals over four games. Neither will compete in Paris.

WADA in April confirmed reports that nearly two dozen Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned drug found in heart medication, before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Schmitt in her prepared testimony urged lawmakers to hold WADA and the global anti-doping system accountable.

"If we win, let it be because we earned it. And if we lose, let it be because the competition was fair," Schmitt said. A spokesperson for WADA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CHINADA, China's anti-doping agency, has said the swimmers had been inadvertently exposed because of contamination and that they should not be held liable for the positive results. China named its 31-member swim team this month. WADA said in April it would send a compliance team to assess China's anti-doping program, but leading swimmers, including seven-time gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who is competing in Paris, have continued to express concern.

Last month, a separate House committee called for the Justice Department and the International Olympic Committee to launch probes into the doping case involving the Chinese swimmers. Phelps also said in prepared testimony that he has close friends who were affected by the case.

"Many of them will live with the 'what ifs' for the rest of their lives," Phelps said. "As athletes, our faith can no longer be blindly placed in the World Anti-Doping Agency, an organization that continuously proves that it is either incapable or unwilling to enforce its policies consistently around the world." (Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Rod Nickel and Richard Chang)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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