Partnership for Clean Competition, USOPC Partner on Athlete COVID-19 Testing

Photo Courtesy: Brent Rutemiller

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee is partnering with the Partnership for Clean Competition (PCC) to test athletes for COVID-19.

The PCC is a non-profit that funds anti-doping research. Collaborating with the USOPC will allow the PCC to collect data on infection rates among athletes and could steer recommendations for return to competition down the road.

The PCC has already tested 25 Team USA athletes who returned to the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs in early July. That round of testing yielded one positive for COVID-19 and one athlete with coronavirus antibodies. The USOPC has quarantined that athlete and conducted contact tracing to isolate anyone the athlete may have interacted with.

“These tests will give us the first epidemiological profile of COVID-19 in the elite athlete population,” USOPC chief medical officer Jonathan Finnoff said in a press release. “We want to know how prevalent the virus is, but we also want to know how an athlete’s body will respond.”

“At the end of the day, anti-doping is about athlete health and safety, so while this isn’t our typical area of focus, we felt called to work with the USOPC on this project,” PCC executive director Michael Pearlmutter said.

The Partnership for Clean Competition will help pay for the program, starting with $75,000 to cover testing of 250 athletes. The PCC funds more than 70 percent of anti-doping research in the world. It was founded in 2008 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the (then) USOC, Major League Baseball and the NFL.

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