Dick PoundLess than a month after the World Anti-Doping Agency passed the Madrid Resolution, WADA President Dick Pound met with former BALCO owner Victor Conte about ways to prevent and catch athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. The Madrid Resolution calls for stiffer penalties for those caught cheating, as well as the ability to offer reduced penalties for those who help bring in others.

These changes go into effect in 2009, whereupon athletes serving bans for illegal doping will no longer be allowed to train with their parent organizations.

Victor Conte seems to be turning over a new leaf now that he is out of prison, and is providing WADA with the different methods that he encouraged athletes to use when he was developing his drugs.

“Pound asked what changes I would make if I were the king of the world of anti-doping for a day.

“As someone who was able to evade their system for so long, it was easy for me to point out the many loopholes that exist and recommend specific steps to improve the overall effectiveness of their program.

“Because Mr. Pound was so receptive to the insight I provided, I do believe there will be effective changes made that will benefit the world of sport.”

I take this as a good sign. Now that Dick Pound is on his way out, he seems to be doing a lot of good work without making the characteristic mistakes that have marred his presidency of WADA over the past decade and led to public relations nightmares.

I think that being able to lighten punishments for athletes that were not attempting to enhance performance and raising bans to 4 years can be a good thing. I also believe that bringing Conte in is a great move that will hopefully lead to more effective testing procedures.

My main concern at this point is that while they are making the system more fair and harsher in terms of the penalties that are being doled out, are they also improving the athlete’s rights to privacy and ethical use of their test samples? Test samples need to be held to strict controls with no evidence of tampering, and any time that there was an opportunity to tamper with any sample it needs to be disposed of immediately.

(Sources: BBCGUWADA)