Richard Pound Wants Legal Action Taken Against USADA For “Outrageous Conduct” Over China Drug Positives: Tygart Hits Back

Dick Pound
Richard Pound: Photo Courtesy: US Mission Canada

Richard Pound Wants Legal Action Taken Against USADA For “Outrageous Conduct” Over China Drug Positives

Richard Pound has called for legal action to be taken against the United States Anti-Doping Agency for its “outrageous conduct” in regard to the Chinese doping case in which 23 swimmers tested positive for TMZ.

The founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency was speaking at an Extraordinary Meeting of the WADA Foundation Board, which was held on Zoom and open to media.

Following the revelation that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine (TMZ) months before the Tokyo Olympics but none were suspended and their test results never publicly disclosed, USADA CEO Travis Tygart said: “WADA and CHINADA (Chinese Anti-Doping Agency) have left clean athletes in the dark.”

After current president Witold Banka had spoken on Friday, Pound didn’t hold back, accusing USADA of “deliberate lies” over the case which came to public attention last month and asking questions of  whether there is a political dimension given the US government’s tense relationship with its Chinese counterpart.

He concluded by saying:

“My suggestion, Mr President, is two-fold: first, to wait for the report of the independent investigator and then to institute legal proceedings claiming significant damages against USADA since there must be serious consequences arising from its outrageous conduct.”

Richard Pound statement in full:

“On behalf of WADA, I am deeply disappointed and disgusted by the deliberate lies and distortions coming from USADA, including that WADA has swept doping cases in China under the rug.

“That accusation, bereft of any truth, has but a single purpose: to deliberately damage the reputation of WADA and to lessen worldwide trust that has been built up since WDA was created a quarter of a century ago to head up the international fight against doping in sport.

“The claim that WADA has in some way inappropriately favoured China is completely false.

“WADA advised the world anti-doping code and applied its standards in an even-handed way.

“Super-powers are treated the same way – ask Russia.

“What evidence has produced to suggest China has benefited in any way?

“Unlike many other cases in other countries, the Chinese NADO reported positive tests in the WADA system, nothing was hidden.

“The Chinese investigation led to a conclusion of contamination, not doping. The evidence pointed firmly in that direction, none pointed to doping.

“To the best of my knowledge and belief, USADA was not present.

“USADA alleges that the whistleblower suggests a different conclusion.

“When WADA asked to be introduced to the whistleblower – assuming he or she actually exists – USADA did not respond.

“Did. Not. Respond.

“Did not respond to the international agency created to lead the fight against doping in sport of which USADA is supposed to be an integral part.”

He added:

“USADA is financed by the United States government: that government is currently in a chilly relationship with China’s government.

“Could there be a connection?

“But the beat goes on. Now USADA in its omniscience has declared that the Chinese incident is worse than the state-sponsored systemic Russian doping conduct that WADA exposed and prosecuted.

“That’s a headline grab, unencumbered by evidence.

“What is missing in USADA’s conduct is a demonstrated willingness to work for solutions, not biased criticism and the resulting negative impact on clean athletes.

“I hope the public authorities participating today will support the organisation that they helped to create in 1999 and to maintain ever since.

“WADA is the only organisation with such a unique global mandate and able to bring the public and sports authorities together in a common purpose.

“My suggestion, Mr President, is two-fold: first, to wait for the report of the independent investigator and then to institute legal proceedings claiming significant damages against USADA since there must be serious consequences arising from its outrageous conduct.”

Banka Takes Aim At USADA

Banka said that he had been attacked by Russian officials and by Chinese fans of Sun Yang, who received a three-month backdated ban after testing positive for TMZ in 2014.

He was later handed an eight-year suspension, subsequently reduced to four years and three months, which stemmed from an out-of-competition test in September 2018 during which a vial of Sun’s blood was smashed with a hammer by a member of his team.

Banka also had USADA in his sights, saying:

“There are gaps in harmonising anti-doping policy globally…including in the United States where the great majority of these unsubstantiated and defamatory attacks have been coming from.

“In the U.S, 90 per cent of American athletes, those in the professional leagues and college sport, do not compete under the World Anti-Doping Code.

“Thirty-one per cent of American athletes under the code, were not sufficiently tested in the 12-month period prior to the Tokyo Games, according to the data which is available to us.”

He added:

“And one last example, I used to be a 400m runner so track and field athletics is very important for me.

“Nearly one in five US athletes participating in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, didn’t even have one out of competition test in the 10 months leading up to the event.

“Of course, we could discuss it and I could provide more figures but I think  that is sufficient to contextualise what we are currently facing regarding the Chinese swimming case and yes, to point out the hypocrisy of some individuals from the US anti-doping community.

“I think that American athletes just like all athletes worldwide deserve a fair and harmonised anti-doping system in their own countries and in those countries where they compete.

“Frankly, I think they deserve better than these political games  and I am committed to working with the US authorities to strengthen the anti-doping system in the US and globally.”

WADA last month announced it had invited independent prosecutor Eric Cottier to review its handling of the doping positives in early 2021 from China.

Tygart Hits Back

Tygart soon responded by releasing a statement through USADA, which read:

“As predicted, WADA is much better at circling the wagons than they are at actually being transparent. The fact is that WADA leaders violated their own rules by, at a minimum, not finding any violations or publicizing the cases. This is self-evident, no matter how many times or how angrily WADA denies it and replays its scripted efforts to convince the world everything is okay. Trust comes from truth and transparency, not obfuscation and childish bluster.

“Unfortunately, we all know that when you are afraid of the facts, the classic response is to attack the messenger, distract from the real issues, and make it personal. That’s exactly what we continue to see from WADA. And most devastating, WADA has now resorted to attacking athletes, the very people it is supposed to protect.

“Today’s meeting further demonstrated that the global anti-doping system is as broken as ever and needs immediate reform. Along with athletes of the world, we have asked for basic answers and transparency.

“The world has legitimate questions about how WADA could turn a blind eye to 23 positive tests on the eve of the Tokyo Olympic Games, and today, WADA reinforced those concerns by admitting they purposefully tried to keep this information from going public—the very definition of sweeping it under the carpet. Instead of threats and attacks, we call on WADA to actually lead by taking action and to provide real answers by producing the full China file for the world to evaluate.”

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17 days ago

WADA did not follow its own Code. Someone should inform Mr. Pound that truth is a defense to defamation claims.

17 days ago

Even if one stretches to accept the largely unexplained contamination findings… given the number of international sporting events that occurred in China post-2021, WADA flunked in its mission by failing to inform clean athletes (from all nations) that unexplained TMZ contamination might be found in Chinese hotel kitchens or elsewhere in China.

12 days ago
Reply to  Talley

Actually, part of WADA’s argument on this if you read their fact sheet, was that there was in fact no international competitions for half a year after the positive tests in Jan 2021. Therefore the “doping” couldn’t have been of benefit to athletes or to China.

With regards to the contamination, it may be given to pigs to increase the amount of lean meat.

Honest swim fan
Honest swim fan
17 days ago

Pound: go hide in a closet you corrupt loser.

17 days ago

So glad WADA is standing up to the bullying from USADA. It’s so blatantly obvious they’re trying to smear China in an Olympic year. CHINADA followed all the protocols and WADA verified them, and USADA knew they had no evidence of wrongdoing for years. US athletes are some of the least tested athletes in the world esp given how much hard and soft power US has around the world. Why don’t they talk about the contamination US athletes have when feeding their dogs banned substances? It’s disgusting

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