IOC perspective on recent revelations on the Tour de France
The recent doping-related events at the Tour de France, whilst disturbing, indicate a painful, slow but nonetheless significant shift in attitude against those who choose to violate the rules in sporting competition. The revelations serve as a valuable reminder that the fight against doping in sport is a daily battle which must be fought in concert by the sports authorities, sports teams, athletes and coaches, and governments.
It is understandable that the incidents of the past days leave sports lovers feeling deceived. Despite this, it is important to recognise that an increase in exposure of those who are not playing by the rules – be that through increased testing or through other means of proving doping - is an important signal that increased efforts in the fight against doping do have an impact.
The Tour de France, a popular event, is one that lies outside the IOC’s authority. The current discussion prompted by the doping incidents, however, is an opportunity for the IOC to stress the dangers athletes put themselves in when they choose to take drugs. Doping is cheating, and it is also an activity that seriously harms the health.
The IOC puts the fight against doping at the top of its list of priorities. For the Olympic Games we drive hard our zero tolerance policy, upholding this through an unprecedented increase in testing – a 180% increase from Sydney 2000 to Beijing next year. These increases have been made both in-competition and out-of-competition, with medal winners and 4th and 5th placed finishers tested as a matter of course. Our Games time doping procedures are run in tandem with the national and regional authorities when needed, as was the case during the Torino 2006 Olympic Games. These measures are supplemented through Disciplinary Commissions set up when needed to investigate incidents of doping which may have touched past Olympic Games.
The IOC also strongly supports the work of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the efforts deployed to achieve harmonization in the fight against doping. It firmly believes that concerted efforts between governments and the world of sport are key - not only to test athletes, but also to educate young people about the dangers to health of doping and the devastating effect it can have on a person’s image and career. The IOC, along with all the partners of the Olympic Movement, will look at ways of reinforcing the fight against doping in the framework of the World Anti-doping Conference in Madrid in November 2007 and the revision of the World Anti-doping Code.
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