Interesting and somewhat unexpected story from Reuters, detailing the American threat to pull out of the World Anti-Doping Agency. This is big: under current rules, this would effectively bar American athletes from Olympic competition, along with most major international competition.
It’s not totally clear what’s driving the move. From the article:
A report by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), presented to the U.S. Congress in June and seen by Reuters, was highly critical of WADA demanding that it implement immediate reforms. The report also suggested that the U.S. withhold funding unless it was given greater representation on WADA boards and committees and “a proportionate voice in decision-making.” The U.S. is the largest single contributor to WADA, paying over $2.7 million into the 2020 budget of $37.4 million, half of which comes from the IOC.
Does the federal government really care about stringent anti-doping? Eh, not really. There are likely one of two things going on, or a combination of the two. First, this could be a move by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to gain greater power in global anti-doping. Second, this could be a small, soft-power rebuke of the very weak treatment Russia has received from global bodies for their state-sponsored doping programs. I’d say it’s more of the former than the latter, although they are intertwined.
Will US athletes actually be barred from international competition?
No. They won’t be.