Implement the Copenhagen Reform Proposals #EmpowerWADA

****** UPDATE 12/9/16 ******

Statement of the USATF AAC Regarding the Conclusion of the McLaren Investigation 

The findings of the McLaren investigation details absurdity in its purest form. These findings are absolutely devastating to clean athletes; athletes who have sacrificed day in and day out for years to accomplish their goals, only to find out that the system has completely failed to ensure they are competing on an even playing field. If the corruption detailed in the report was able to occur on such an "unprecedented scale" in one country, where else has it been happening? 

The USA Track & Field Athletes Advisory Committee will not be satisfied until:

·      WADA has completely independent governance from major sports organizations such as the IOC, the IAAF and other international federations and events across all sports.

·      WADA is given the authority and capacity to investigate all instances of World Anti-Doping Code violations and to impose appropriate consequences for non-compliance.

·      International championships are no longer held in countries where the national anti-doping organization (NADO) is not fully compliant with World Anti-Doping Code

·      A plan and timeline is put in place to ensure all developing and non-compliant NADO's become compliant with World Anti-Doping Code so that athletes are competing on a level playing field year-round, whether they are training at home or competing abroad.

·      A program is implemented by WADA to protect "whistleblowers" and encourage them to come forward if they have information about doping violations on a small or large scale.

·      Proper financial investment is made for the above items to occur.

As we stated earlier this week, we stand with the 17 NADO's that composed and agreed upon reform proposals at the Special NADO Summit in Copenhagen in August. The above items are covered by these reform proposals.

***** End 12/9/16 Update ******

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."

Our original hardcopy of this petition includes approximately 80 signatures from elite athletes who met in Orlando, FL, for the USA Track & Field annual convention in December 2016. It has been sent to Sir Craig Reedie, president of WADA. We now wish to push for broader athlete support by creating this online version.

 


USATF AAC & the TFAA started this petition with a single signature, and now has 495 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.