Implement the Copenhagen Reform Proposals #EmpowerWADA

12/7/2016
 

Follow this link to sign this petition on change.org.

We, the members of the Athletes Advisory Committee of USATF, join together to endorse the Copenhagen Reform Proposal proposed by 17 national anti-doping organizations in August 2016. We feel strongly that IOC and WADA governance should be separate, and that the IOC should invest the necessary funding in WADA for it to be effective. These would be landmark steps toward protecting clean sport athletes globally, and restoring faith in Olympic Sport.

Background (from ESPN.com):

Newly elected AAC chair Jeff Porter, a two-time Olympian in the 110-meter hurdles, said athletes are deeply dissatisfied with what they view as slow, piecemeal responses by international authorities to the Russian doping scandal that has unfolded over the last two years. He said U.S. track and field athletes wanted to make a statement ahead of what they anticipate will be more evidence of corruption when law professor Richard McLaren releases Part II of his WADA-commissioned independent investigation on Friday.

"These systemic issues can no longer be tolerated," Porter told ESPN.com. He added that many athletes are galvanized to the point where they would contemplate more drastic actions, such as boycotting events. "I am hopeful and optimistic that we won't need to, but if we need to, I think the athletes are prepared to," Porter said.

The upcoming conclusion to the McLaren report is looming large in the minds of athletes, who wonder if the fourth major set of investigative findings to be issued in the last 13 months will be enough to tip leaders into aggressive action. McLaren's July findings regarding state-sponsored doping in Russia "fed every conspiracy theory" that athletes normally try to keep from distracting and deflating them, said recently retired U.S. distance runner Lauren Fleshman.

"We give up a lot of personal freedom and allow our privacy to be invaded for drug testing, and we do it on the assumption that it's being done everywhere else," Fleshman, a two-time national champion in the 5,000-meter event, told ESPN.com.

"It should be [the IOC's] responsibility to pay for things that are going to keep their brand from public humiliation. Everyone tells us that athletes can make a difference. But we've never tested it."

The petition drive took shape after athletes heard a presentation by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, who traveled to Orlando at the athletes' request, Porter said. USADA was among the agencies that participated in the Copenhagen meeting.

Lauryn Williams, one of a handful of athletes to have won medals at both the Summer (2012 gold, 4 x 100 meters) and Winter Games (2014 silver, two-woman bobsled), also signed the petition and said she is outraged that competitions are still being scheduled in Russia.

"They were passing [urine] samples through a hole in the wall and they expect athletes to go back there?" she said, referring to revelations made by former Moscow laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov about drug-testing sabotage at the 2014 Sochi Games. "Stop backing athletes into a corner. Move the competition and don't tell me it's too expensive. That's bullshit."