By Janet Evans
PHOENIX, Arizona, May 16. IN addition to the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) response to the controversial column written by one of Swimming World Magazine's European correspondents Steven Selthoffer, legendary swimmer Janet Evans also replied as a member of the WADA Athlete's Committee.
Here is her response:
As a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Athlete Committee, and as someone who is dedicated to protecting the integrity of the sport of swimming and the achievements of its athletes, I was astonished by the outright inflammatory and inaccurate nature of the article "WADA and Corrupt Anti-Doping Labs Threaten Swimming and Other Sports; How Does Inside Information Get to Media?" published on your web site on May 15.
It is critical to your readers that clarifications be made about the fight against doping in sport so that they understand the value and importance of the work being done by many organizations and individuals, including WADA, to help address responsibly and effectively a serious problem that threatens, not just the integrity of sport, but the health of youth and athletes worldwide.
WADA was created in 1999 and has operated since that time as an equal partnership between the Sport Movement and the Governments of the world to coordinate at the international level the fight against doping in sport in all its forms. After massive consultation among athletes, sports bodies, scientific experts and governments, WADA established a single set of rules to govern all athletes in all sports in all countries, called the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). From the Code's adoption in 2003, along with its related International Standards, all of WADA's undertakings have been rooted in the mandate contained in the Code with the purpose of ensuring that all athletes and officials are subject to the same anti-doping rules and procedures, no matter the sport, the nationality, or the country where tested, so that athletes may partake in competition that is safe and fair.
The issue of athlete confidentiality was addressed during the writing of the Code and the International Standards for Laboratories and Testing so that it is impossible for accredited labs to know the names of the athletes whose samples they analyze. It is only the anti-doping organization that ordered the test that is able to match the name of the athlete with the corresponding lab results. To state that laboratories are the sources of leaks is completely inaccurate and reflects a lack of understanding of the anti-doping system.
WADA operates in complete accordance with the rules of the Code. WADA does not comment on pending doping cases, nor does WADA get involved in the management of individual cases. As specified in the Code, results management is the responsibility of the organization, such as the sports federation or the nation anti-doping agency, who ordered the test. WADA's involvement in individual cases only occurs at the completion of the process, when WADA makes an assessment of whether the process and outcome are Code compliant and whether WADA needs to exercise its right of appeal.
The subject matter of doping in sport is a serious field of study. Doping and anti-doping efforts affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of athletes and extend to all countries and all sports. I urge that any information you publish on this subject be professionally prepared, based on a thorough knowledge of the facts, and seek to disseminate the truth of the matter.