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Phelps Calls For Urgent Doping Reforms

US swimming legend Michael Phelps has called for an urgent overhaul of anti-doping procedures while speaking before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, said the International Olympic Committee should make more resources available to the World Anti-Doping Agency. The US swimmer said we need to find whatever the way is to figure out this issue and added if that is more money, it is more money. Phelps also remarked that is what is frustrating to him as an athlete who spent over 20 years in the pool. The swimmer said he is happy that people are actually starting to take it seriously and take this in a serious matter, because it is crushing sports for our youth and everybody else.

Olympic shot put champion Adam Nelson echoed the comments of Phelps. Nelson had to wait for a long period of nine years before he received his gold medal after Ukrainian drug cheat Yuriy Bilonoh was stripped of the title after a doping violation in 2013. Nelson said he was saddened that he received his gold medal in an airport fast food restaurant and not in a packed Olympic stadium in front of a large crowd of roaring fans. The 2004 Olympic shot put champion said it is imperative that reforms must be encompassed to change attitudes towards doping from the bottom up and added he still knows for a fact there are parts of the world where doping is part of the culture.

Travis Tygart, the United States Anti-Doping Agency chief, pinpointed the overlap between the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency as part of the problem. Tygart called for a clean separation of powers between the two bodies.

The Foundation Board and executive committee of WADA has more than 20 IOC members while Craig Reedie, the WADA President, is also an IOC member.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency chief remarked we at USADA have advocated for a clear separation between those who promote sport and those who police it and added we believe, to do so otherwise, is to encourage the fox to guard the henhouse. The USADA chief said he believes the Russian doping scandal that rocked the world of sport last year would have been exposed earlier had the governance of WADA was not been hamstrung by its own lack of true independence.

The USADA chief also commented that the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency could fund a properly resourced anti-doping regime and take immediate steps to begin the reform process. Tygart added WADA could remove sport from its governance structure because you cannot promote and police and also commented that the IOC could take $500 million from its funds and put it in a blind trust to fund WADA and its efforts moving forward.

The IOC's medical director Richard Budgett remarked the reforms called for by Tygart are already under address by the Olympics movement. Budgett said the International Olympic Committee is in the process of removing the fox from the hen house.

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Albert Wolfgang
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