There has been a lot of talk about a governing body taking endurance racing under it’s ever-caring wings. If there is ever a sure way to kill a sport, it would be to instigate, from afar, a set of rules that make little or sense.
Many of you have no doubt been following the case of Jason Sager. His situation is not unique. WADA and USADA are as “good ole’ boy’d” up as it gets. The rules and regulations are tilted against the athlete. Recently an LA Times article detailed some of the problems that WADA and USADA like to scoff in the face of.
After reading the article, and some of the highlights below, is it any wonder why endurance racers balk at any mention of a governing body?
Some things in the article that stood out to me:
Athletes are presumed guilty and denied routine access to lab data potentially relevant to their defense.
Arbitrators, theoretically neutral judges, are bound by rules drafted and enforced by the World Anti-Doping Agency and its affiliates, including the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. They have almost no discretion to adjust penalties to fit individual circumstances.
Many arbitrators have current or prior professional relationships with USADA, WADA or other sports organizations that frequently serve as the prosecution in anti-doping cases.
Of the 45 members of the North American branch, at least 24 have such affiliations.
And possibly the most disturbing of all was the closing quote of the article, from Dick Pound himself…
“The system, as a system, is a pretty good one,” he said. “It can be tweaked here or there, but we’re not sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and redesigning the entire world anti-doping system.”