On Friday, November 12, Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of National Drug Control Policy, hosted a virtual anti-doping educational forum with key sports stakeholders, including athletes, sponsors, and broadcasters. Next week, Dr. Gupta will represent the United States at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Foundation Board meeting in Paris, where significant governance reforms for WADA will be discussed and potentially voted on. In May, ONDCP provided a report to Congress detailing the challenges faced by WADA and the need for reforms. These reforms include increasing independence and reducing conflicts of interests within the organization, while providing a stronger voice for independent athletes and national anti-doping organizations on key anti-doping matters.
During the forum, U.S. athletes shared their personal experiences and observations with regard to doping, including during the recent Tokyo Olympics. They participated in a robust discussion with other forum attendees.
Forum attendees included ten representatives from major U.S. Olympic sponsors and broadcasters, as well as representatives from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), and the Athletes’ Advisory Council (AAC). The following athletes made presentations at the forum:
- Katie Ledecky (Swimming, 7-time Olympic Gold Medalist, World Record Holder)
- Emma Coburn (Track and Field, 3-time Olympian, Olympic Bronze Medalist)
- Ryan Murphy (Swimming, 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record Holder)
- Christian Taylor (Track and Field, 2-time Olympian, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, World Champion)
- Kara Goucher (Track and Field, 2-time Olympian, U.S. Champion)
- Wallace Spearmon Jr. (Track and Field, 2-time Olympian, NCAA and National Champion)
- Greta Neimanas (Para-cycling, 2-time Paralympian, 2-time world champion. Member of USOPC Athletes Advisory Council and Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice)
- Tatyanna McFadden (Wheelchair racing, 5-time Paralympian, 8-time Gold Medalist)
- Megan Kalmoe (Rowing, 4-time Olympian, Olympic Bronze Medalist, World Champion)
While acknowledging the challenges WADA faces, Dr. Gupta affirmed that the United States is working with other governments and the International Olympic Committee to further strengthen this important organization, the sole global regulator of doping in sports.
Dr. Gupta is also considering the matter of providing the remainder of the annual U.S. dues to WADA before the end of the year. On June 16th, ONDCP announced that the United States would make a partial dues payment in light of ongoing negotiations regarding governance reforms. Even with that partial payment, the United States is the largest governmental funder of WADA this year, as it has been since WADA’s establishment in 1999.