Image Credit: Peace Run

Image Credit: Peace Run

 
 Image Credit: Stephen McCarthy

Image Credit: Stephen McCarthy

 
 Image Credit: USA Swimming

Image Credit: USA Swimming

 
 Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

 

My participation in sport completed years ago ('96 Olympic Silver, Former World-Record Holder, Swimming), but the Olympic movement is still close to my heart. I competed against many doping athletes during my reign as one of the world's best swimmers and, as a young athlete, I was devastated to learn of multiple instances that the system in place to police for doping violations failed. I would like to see doping treated just as rules of play are treated. If a rule is broken, the athlete should have the expectation that the specified protocol will be upheld and carried out. At this point, enforcement of the rules is not reliably consistent which leads to more doping. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is currently attempting to provide a solution to the problem of widespread doping and ineffective policing of infractions by forming the Independent Testing Authority (ITA) which is, unfortunately, not really that independent. The Olympic movement needs a non-IOC administered and newly-formed policing force to enforce anti-doping standards prescribed in the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code to remove conflicts of interest. It would be great if this is structured and implemented by funds and leadership provided by an athletes' union. This could be born out of joint efforts between an athlete union representing all Olympic athletes and another union representing athletes more broadly. Perhaps, as a stepping stone until a more organized representation of athletes exists, a blind trust can be established by the IOC to fund a new arm of the anti-doping effort.  

Talking on stage at Web Summit with Caitlyn Jenner and George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece, on a panel titled "Has the Olympic Brand Deteriorated?" 

An article by Ben Jervey in GOOD magazine about clean athletes competing against steroids.   

Article by Michael Moynihan of the Irish Examiner talking about the Rio Games.  

An interview by David Reider of Swimming World about anti-doping efforts and the role of athletes. 

For some history of doping in swimming, specifically the East Germans in the 70s, check out this article written by Karen Crouse in the New York Times about Shirley Babashoff, Olympic swimmer of the Montreal Games who won four silver medals to doping East German athletes.

If you are not that familiar with doping in sport and are interested in learning more, a good intro would be to read up on Lance Armstrong, watch the Netflix doc Icarus, and to use the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as a resource.