ASADA boss David Sharpe has taken former NRL player Paul Gallen’s scathing assessment of drug testers as an endorsement of his organisation.
It seems that quite a few Roarers don’t really understand just how seriously ASADA and WADA take the strict liability principle.
The principle was adopted by WADA from the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code (OMADC). The ASADA codes and principles follow the WADA codes.
The WADA Code Section two deals with violations and liability. Two of the relevant sections are:
2.1 Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in an Athlete’s Sample
2.1.1 It is each Athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their Samples. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing Use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an antidoping violation under Article 2.1.
2.2 Use or Attempted Use by an Athlete of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method
2.2.1 It is each Athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing Use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping rule violation for Use of a Prohibited Substance or a Prohibited Method.
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To show just how serious WADA/IOC and by extension ASADA are in applying the strict liability, it might be educational to look at the story of Olga Valeryevna Medvedtseva, a Russian Biathlete at the Turin Winter Olympics is 2006.
Medvedtseva won the silver in the women’s 15 km individual race, however on February 16, 2006, she was disqualified from further competition for failing a doping control test.
Medvedtseva tested positive for the stimulant carphedon. The IOC panel found her guilty, and she was expelled from the games and stripped of her medal.
Later she was banned for two years.
The head of the Russian Anti-Doping Committee said that Pyleva took an over-the-counter medication for an ankle injury, which had been prescribed by her personal doctor – who was not a team doctor – which contained carphedon.
According to its label, the medication is not forbidden and is officially recommended by its manufacturer for treating sporting related injuries.
Unfortunately the Russian manufacturer did not include the complete compound list for the medication, which is what allegedly led to this mistake.
Not only was the athlete banned but the doctor in question was also banned for two years.
Several days after the incident, the IBU (International Biathlon Union) president Anders Besseberg said in an interview that “Pyleva may and must defend her good name in law proceeding against the plant”, but ruled out any reduction of the two year disqualification from competition.
As you can see, strict liability will be enforced with zero tolerance.
All athletes do know this and whether they trust their team medicos or not, they get to carry the can if it goes wrong.