Doping in sport: why it can’t be stopped | The Economist

Doping in sport: why it can’t be stopped | The Economist

It was one of sport’s darkest episodes A much bigger scandal with Russian athletes than we knew Following the Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014… …Russia was proved to have carried out… …a vast state-sponsored doping operation Conspiracy to conceal positive tests Widespread doping by Russian athletes at the Sochi Olympics I don’t think anyone was expecting the gravity… …in terms of the findings, in terms of the cheating The scandal didn’t just expose an epidemic of foul play… …it called into question the credibility of a system… …that’s supposed to guard against doping… …and protect honest athletes It still smells of bias… …towards the interests of sports-governing bodies… …to the detriment of the athletes Doping is definitely bad for business… …and that’s used as an illegitimate excuse to… …brush it under the rug or ignore it completely So is there a lack of will to catch the cheats? Doping isn’t just a Russian problem… …it’s a global problem In 2011 an anonymous survey asked… …more than 1,200 athletes… …whether they had used performance-enhancing drugs The result, which was kept quiet for six years, was astonishing 44% admitted to doping… …but typically only 1-2% of samples test positive Our career, our livelihood, our name… …is based on making sure that we… …stay clean and we compete fairly Callum Skinner is a retired track cyclist… …a gold and silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics Now he campaigns to keep doping out of sports What we have to do is to send out a clear message… …that if you do dope… …it comes with negative consequences Just like the Olympic motto… …athletes want to be “faster, higher, stronger” Performance-enhancing drugs promise just that But all drugs come with health risks… …and crucially, they tip the balance in competition The sports governing bodies… …especially the International Olympic Committee or the IOC… …say they want to stop the cheats But Antoine Duval, a leading sports lawyer… …believes they are part of the problem They have an incentive of being seen as doing a lot… …but they don’t have an incentive to catch a lot of cheats… …because that would damage the image of their sport Back in 1999 the IOC declared war on doping It created the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA WADA will be very useful… …for the fight in the future against doping WADA was set up to be the anti-doping watchdog… …and to write the rulebook that would dictate… …best practice globally But WADA’s independence is questionable Rob Koehler has unparalleled insight As the former deputy director at WADA… …he knows the pressures facing the agency As WADA became stronger there was resistance… …from the Olympic movement where there was a desire… …to have more control When you lose control… …you lose the ability to dictate the outcomes 50% of WADA’s funding comes from 190 governments… …and the other half comes from the IOC And WADA’s average annual budget of $27m… …is less than 2% of the IOC’s revenue in an average year We need to understand that WADA as an institution is weak It’s basically a naked legislator It produces rules that it has absolutely no power… …and capacity to enforce WADA has around 120 employees Only seven of them are tasked with conducting… …investigations into doping schemes… …worldwide So it’s extremely dependent on goodwill With no power to enforce… …WADA relies on the national anti-doping agencies… …and sports federations to do drug testing But different countries have different means, ability… …and yes, political will, to catch dopers And that’s why the Russians could run a very neat… …front organisations that was apparently in compliance… …with those rules… …while systematically bypassing them The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics were a huge success… …for the Russian team Two years later and just weeks before the… …opening ceremony at Rio 2016… …something happened that no one had anticipated Grigory Rodchenkov… …the head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory… …turned whistleblower His admissions… …captured in the Oscar-winning Netflix documentary… …“Icarus”, thrust Russia’s actions… …into the public consciousness like never before I was helping to facilitate one of the most… …elaborate doping ploys in sports history WADA had been investigating allegations of Russian doping… …since 2014 But it wasn’t until July 2016 that it published a report… …conducted by independent lawyer Richard McLaren The Moscow laboratory operated… …within a state-directed, failsafe system Russia tampered with urine samples of athletes… …in a thriller-like, cover-up operation Russia was found to have mouse holes to slip samples through… …in the middle of the night and switch urine samples They even mixed in salt and coffee… …to contaminate doped samples More than 1,000 Russian athletes were accused of doping Russia was categorical in its denial There has never been and, I hope… …will never be any state system of supporting doping in Russia WADA was determined that Russia should pay the full price The WADA executive committee… …made strong recommendations… …that the Russian Olympic Committee be banned from… …the Rio Olympic games I recall being so proud of the organisation I worked for But the IOC rejected WADA’s recommendations The basic and the difficult question we had to answer… …was: can you hold any athlete… …responsible for the wrongdoing… …of the government of his or her country? The IOC allowed individual athletes… …to appeal against the decision… …at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS The result? Over two-thirds of the Russian team… …were allowed to participate Two years later the IOC cleared 169 Russian athletes… …to take part in the Winter Olympics But were those outcomes entirely due to concern about… …the rights of individual athletes? The answer may lie in a complex web of… …politics and power in sports Russia is a powerhouse in sport They provide a lot of money into sport They host a lot of events in the sport And there’s this Russian politics and sports are very often enmeshed Alexander Zhukov, Russia’s deputy prime minister… …doubled up as president of the Russian Olympic Committee Pavel Kolobkov was deputy minister of sports… …and part of WADA And then there’s Vitaly Mutko He was sports minister during the Sochi scandal… …but he wasn’t sacked for this embarrassing episode In fact he was promoted to deputy prime minister But placing influential people in positions of power… …isn’t just a Russian affair The IOC has two bodies that are predominantly dedicated… …to fighting doping… …WADA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS Like WADA, CAS was also established by the IOC These two bodies are meant to be independent… …but an intricate network of rules… …and people has raised questions Well I think it is a very small community, in terms of sport There’s a lot of conflicts of interest where… …people are filling different roles Three senior IOC members… …Thomas Bach… …Craig Reedie… …and John Coates… …have held key positions at the CAS and at WADA… …often at the same time And the list doesn’t end there Should the president of WADA also be an IOC member… …where there’s… …a divergence of loyalties? You don’t see the president of the US… …sitting in the same time on the Supreme Court This is not the way it should work This inner-circle mentality means that the IOC maintains… …a tight grip on the bodies it had set up as independent IOC is an elitist club of the highest kind All those executives of sports… …raise at least a suspicion… …that there might be something foul Despite its $5.7bn revenue per Olympic cycle… …the IOC is registered as a non-profit organisation… …and benefits from Switzerland’s lenient association laws… …which means it has a lot of leeway in how it runs itself… …and raises the question… …is anyone governing the governing bodies? We have private associations… …that are exercising government governance… …and they are proud of it But they claim it without the strings… …that traditional public authorities… …in democratic countries, at least, are subjected to… …which are transparency, accountability, et cetera So can anyone hold the IOC to account? I put some of the blame on sponsors and broadcasters 73% of the IOC’s revenue comes through TV rights They’re the ones supporting and promoting the Olympic games Surely there should be a responsibility… …from the broadcasters that are sponsoring… …from the sponsors; demand change The IOC insists there is no inherent conflict of interest in its… …relationship with WADA It has stated its desire to make testing more independent from… …sports organisations and governments It claims that a $20m investment… …into anti-doping research… …and the protection of clean athletes… …is now bearing fruit But some athletes believe this should just be the start As soon as athletes start to lose confidence in the system… …they start to think, how can I win… …if it’s not a level playing field? People will always find ways of trying to cheat But what we need to do is get better at catching them And I think one of the key ways that we can do that… …is if sports governance officials wake up to… …their responsibility to athletes… …their responsibility to protect fair and clean sport… …their responsibility to protect the welfare of the athletes… …and their responsibility… …for athletes to have faith in the anti-doping system

Comments (75)

  1. It's almost like a man saying he's a girl and sweeping the women's Olympics. Thanks The Economist! For shedding light on the subject. Oh yeah, that's right, my bad. Nevermind.

  2. The background sounds are just mad 😂 😂

  3. 27 million dollars is very less for stoping world level doping.

  4. Sexual abuse by priests, why it can't be stopped. The Vatican

  5. China Dopes, Russia dopes…ok But the USA though you think the american athletes do not dope?
    you are naive.Just look at Gatlin.
    Most high level athletes in any sport is likely to be doping , that the name of the game.
    There are all sort of PEDs from Epo, to testosterone propionate to halotestin.All have different roles and different purpose.


  7. Like for against doping!

  8. 80% of athletes around the world are doped,

  9. It's always the powerful country that take drugs and cheat

  10. im going to London mates, send the MI or the SIS to pick me up when no one is home but me, I aint merrying anyone

  11. What about cock-full transgender dudes pretending to be biological women winning (and breaking all records) in…
    Women's track
    Women's weightlifting
    Women's soccer
    Women's basketball
    Women's bicycling
    Women's swimming

  12. Yep screw bitches single is better, besides I hate phone calls I wont never call a romantic prospect ever

  13. RUSSIA can’t win without cheating, they’ve never been the best.

  14. It depends on the sport. If your sport depends on skill and control, you're not going to get any advantage from sheer muscle mass. I don't see much of a doping problem for archery, billiards, darts, marbles or tiddly-winks.

  15. So the Russians are bad because they cheated. They were able to cheat because of the communist system in place which allows insiders in the government to hold special offices and manipulate the system for political purposes. Yet all the people pushing for communist way of life here in America still.want to point the finger at the "bad guys" while simultaneously working to subvert our way of life here. Interesting.

  16. Just like doping the fiat money. Cant never be stopped, right economist?

  17. The report is still not absolutely objektive, but I liked that they confirmed that it is NOT ONLY RUSSIAN PROBLEM.

  18. Crazy that a professionally-made video with professional research gets 750 views, whereas any cute cat video gets 10 million

  19. The biggest doping scandal in sport is those women who benefit from 20 years of increased muscle mass and bone density from the testosterone produced in their balls, before getting them cut off in order to compete in women's sport.

  20. I knew the Russian curling team was jacked.

  21. If only dopping was the only corruption coming from IOC and Olympics comitee, that would still be plenty solvable… but unfortunately, the hole goes waaaaaay deeper than that.
    Dopping itself is a huge problem in itself, but what about colluding with corrupt governments to launder money, divert funds, lie to the public and whole ton of other stuff?

    The Olympics has become the literal definition of bread and circus. It's just entirely disgusting how this cadre of rich people have been manipulating the good will and intentions of athletes and people to enrich themselves and push their own agenda.
    And you can't even criticize all this shit because people think it's a personal attack on something they like, not noticing how the entire core of the thing is rotten.
    I guess to a level we kinda get what we deserve. The Olympics is just another case of "too big to fall", until it gets so big it crushes us all due to apathy.

  22. Why are we against doping? I thought the purpose of sport was to see the peak of human physical achievements…?

  23. Everyone is on gear. It's all a smoke and mirrors. Too much money is at stake.

  24. Why is that guy alive??

  25. Allright we talk it over when Im sober

  26. Can we permanently outlaw usury in the world? Gee, let me think…

  27. I think doping is just the logical step because we give too much importance to these games, if instead we give more importance and exposure for the scientific advance, social sciences… Etc will be doping our brains with more knowledge.

  28. It’s a bit ironic to be talking about removing drugs from sports when the Olympic motto is literally “faster, HIGHER, stronger.” I think changing that would be a good first step.

  29. it is stupid because who the fuck in the world cares who runs faster. I mean there are people who care about this but in a nutshell sport in itself doesnt mean anything considering human develpment. Considering world development, considering hunger or free speech or whatever. its stupid. Athletes who are the best are whortless in human development. Athletes are not given noble prices. ITS SOOOOO FUCKING STUPID 😀

  30. Yes we will as soon you kill Oscar i will


  32. We gonna restored everything yes take those 35 billion FUCKK ATT put THE SAME CEOs of Disney, Fox and some Yakuza in it why? The Pentagon knows waz up THO THE JAPANESE OUTGTTA BE TREATED LIKE FRIENDS!!

  33. Im gonna get ye running again


  35. The IOC is a joke and I don't understand how anyone can still take the Olympic Games seriously. It's a company driven by profit above all disguising as a sport organization.

  36. Can anyone explain why they can't make doping legal ?

  37. WADA = What A Damn Waste of Assets!! (WADA)

  38. They had a witch hunt against Russia. Nobody proved any doping. Economist is fake news

  39. drugs are tools that's all nothing to get all moral about

  40. No it can’t be stopped. And we should just stop holding the olympics all together

  41. sport has become part of the international battle to prove the dominance of a society = money and power. It is no longer sport, it is business and nationalism. Sport has lost the initial meaning = that which we do for pleasure.

  42. The only sport I care about is video games.

  43. People have always cheated – as long as some of the cheats get found out there is hope for the clean athletes. However ultimately it comes down to the morals of the individual athletes.

  44. When adversary currently doing better than you, you must pickup something embarrassing about them to talk.

  45. Samaranch, scumbag of the earth. This guy destroyed sport

  46. There's somethig else you never hear about. Why not keep the samples for let's 15 years and test a bunch of them every few years ? Because most of them after a while would come back positive and it would show that sport at the highest level is a circus.

  47. If I were Lebron or Messi and looking to improve sports worldwide, I think I would donate $20M a year to help fix this.

  48. Anti Russian documentary not anti doping doc

  49. Doping will never stop in sports that's a fact, just like everything else in the world it isn't fair if the world was fair and there was no Optical put in place to give people The Edge or people didn't do illegal activity for the win then the people that's on top now would be at the bottom, need I say this again meaning the people who run the world today or brag about they are the baddest would not be where they are in a fair world those people the colonizers the people who run from the Sun that God created will be in the bottle. And the people that most people think are on the bottom in an unfair world would be on top, meaning the people in a class system who you think are shithole people or the people who get racially discriminated the most would be on top in a fair world where there's no doping or anything else other words so called privilege in anything Not Just Sports. God's truly chosen people not the converted ones the ones that were born by Blood semites definition afro-asiatic if you don't have a Asian background or African background you are not the original Jew oh, you are a converted Jew. That's why the world isn't fair and never will be fair if those type of people could have it their way, and don't expect for them 2 Chainz to give up everything that they have just to be righteous just to have the world like God really wanted it to be and end up going back living in caves I don't think so.

  50. There's no doping and female gymnastics that should be obvious because it's like how God would want his chosen people on top that's when you know it's fair. That's one reason why police officers don't have random drug test because they know they take substance to give them the edge how would they physically be able to do their job against God's truly chosen people. You remember that officer who obviously isn't doped-up had a problem taking down 11 year old girl that's how the world would truly be physically in a perfect girl how God would wanted it

  51. As long as there’s “Bread and Circuses” mentality in us nothing is going to change.
    To the world drugs and alcohol consumption seems a be a lot more urgent issue.
    As well as big farma deceiving the whole planet to spend trillions on stuff we don’t need.

  52. so what about Australia they cheat in cricket and corrupt there boxing?

  53. Commercialized sport is designed to keep the masses ignorant. It's working. Puppets and shell organizations are in place to ensure the status quo.

  54. Can we just have a separate bionic Olympics?

  55. I was born in the 1950s and raised to believe in the nobility of sports and the Olympic movement. I was taught that sport was an integral part of education and a means for a healthy life. As I've grown up I've become increasingly disappointed in the Olympic movement as it has become a circus managed by entertainers, which defeats the whole spirit that Pierre de Coubertin envisioned.

  56. I see the US president being the owner of Chain of golf hotels hosting foreign diplomats. That is clearly a conflicts of interest. That is a cheat.

  57. I don't think this video is telling us anything new. Too many forces drive towards doping. National and personal pride, lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals entice pro athletes to perform better through whatever means. Even amateur athletes dope to achieve better results. As the human pushes its physical limits more, the smaller winning margin there will be, the less sensation the performance will produce in the audience. Compared with all those, doping is a small price to pay.
    There should be two leagues: doped or clean. I bet everyone would love to watch the doped leagues while the clean one would die out.

  58. I get that the focus of this video is on Olympic sports, but USADA are running the most successful and stringent anti doping programme around with the UFC.

  59. Do redrawing asia!
    I want to see what it looks like

  60. Came here for Callum Skinner!

  61. We should have a version of sports where athletes are allowed to take a sh*tload of doping drugs.

    Like f**k bro, let's see how high a human being can actually jump.

  62. "…Thriller-like cover operation."
    Kill the lights and cue the zombies!

  63. 23 dislikes? Roid rage?!?!

  64. Russians are terrible athletes. Most of them are cheaters and when testing is stringent they suck ass.

  65. Russia is full of shit. The IOC is full of shit.

  66. for win.for extra energy.bcoz its how drug done work well done..b4 its okey.but in time its cheater

  67. who win just win.if pure ^win plus 70% get..but if cheat o get and no mercy.done.

  68. any places goes get free..personal.good sir.its equal with who win.

  69. They always talk about Russia but not all their juiced up black Americans in every sport getting covered for.

  70. Here is a solution: Just make doping legal! Since all the athletes dope anyway, why not test the limit of human performance? Isn't that what the olympics are all about?

  71. tbf it's not that deep, they're gonna use it anyways.

  72. You can't ban a whole federation for doping even if its the majority doping. You can't punish individual good athletes.

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