Supporting Canadian Athletes

Canadian Athletes Speak out About Russian Doping

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OTTAWA (July 22, 2016) – On Monday, the world saw forensic and analytical evidence in the McLaren Report confirming at least three allegations published in the New York Times in May and exposing several other details regarding a 4-year period of state-supported doping cover up schemes.  Like the rest of the world, AthletesCAN was outraged to see the extent of systemic doping within the Russian system and saddened by the actions of those involved.   

Action has now been taken by many, including both WADA and several national anti-doping organizations, to call for the complete ban of Russia and all Russian athletes from the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. In an environment where there is evidence that the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Code is being defied, we understand this reaction.

AthletesCAN believes in clean sport. We believe in the fundamental Principles of Olympism and that doping in sport is a serious violation of these principles. 

In our role as the independent association of Canada’s national team athletes, we value the varying opinions of our members on important issues and are fully committed to accurately representing their voices with regards to Russia’s participation at the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

After reviewing the McLaren Report, AthletesCAN sent an email to Canada’s national team athletes with a link to a survey collecting feedback on their current view of the sport environment as it pertains to doping, as well as a poll either against or for supporting a complete ban of Russia at the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

As was the case with time limitations influencing the final McLaren Report, we believe this is only a snapshot of Canadian athletes’ views on this important decision.  Within a 36 hour period, we heard from 248 athletes, 149 of which were currently competing senior national team athletes directly impacted by the actions of other athletes in their competitive pursuits.  Of those, 40 athletes confirmed they had qualified for and expected to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, while 107 of them had previously competed in a major Games prior to this summer.  For the purpose of the following data, we will focus on the responses from Canada’s senior national team athletes.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • When asked if athletes believed they were competing in a doping free environment when competing internationally, the result was split with 50% of respondents saying YES, and 50% saying NO.
  • When asked if athletes believed other nations use/are subject to systematic doping in their sport, 63% said YES.
  • When asked if reform of the current anti-doping system needs to occur to ensure anti-doping measures and practices are fair, effective, independent and accountable internationally, 84% of athletes said YES. (109 of 130 responses)
  • When athletes were asked to identify the priority of that reform, 95% (102 of 107 responses) selected WADA’s enforcement and oversight of National Anti-Doping Organization’s implementation of national anti-doping programs and the WADA Code.

To BAN or NOT to BAN…that is the question.

We provided athletes with the opportunity to select multiple options surrounding the participation of Russia at the Rio 2016 Games and the potential action for a complete ban of the country.  The following results were collected.

In support of a complete ban of Russia from the Rio 2016 Summer Games

  • ­47 athletes overall supported a complete ban of Russia from either the Rio 2016 Olympics or Paralympics
  • 32 athletes supported a complete ban of Russia at both the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics
  • 15 athletes supported a complete ban of Russia at the Rio 2016 Olympics ONLY
  • 1 athlete supported a complete ban of Russia at the Rio 2016 Paralympics ONLY

In support of the conditional participation of Russian athletes at the Rio 2016 Summer Games

  • ­ 73 athletes indicated they would support the participation of Russian athletes at the Games with mandatory testing prior to, during and post Games (over and above the current anti-doping system requirements)
  • 15 athletes indicated they would support the participation of Russian athletes at the Games under the current anti-doping system requirements

Against a complete ban of Russia from the Rio 2016 Summer Games

  • ­50 athletes indicated they would not support a complete ban of Russia at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

In support of partial bans

  • 53 athletes indicated they would support the International Sport Federations’ individual decisions to ban specific sports
  • 62 athletes indicated they would support the decision to ban the 3 sports with the highest number of Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games based on WADA statistics from the most recent ADRVs Report (Athletics, Weightlifting and Cycling)

As the impending decision approaches from both the IOC and IPC, AthletesCAN will continue to fight for clean sport while ensuring our athletes’ rights and the rights of other clean athletes are protected in the process.

AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world.  As the collective voice of Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture.
 

For more information on the opinions and position of AthletesCAN and its members, please contact:

Ashley LaBrie
Executive Director
AthletesCAN
alabrie@athletescan.com

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