US Anti-doping body chief lays out his wish list for Russians

Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, says that sports such as cross-country skiing and biathlon should be subject to between five and seven tests, blood and urine, before Olympics.

Published: 06th December 2017 11:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2017 11:08 AM   |  A+A-

In this May 17, 2013, file photo, Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency addresses, the media at the EU Council in Brussels. | AP

By Associated Press

While the International Olympic Committee begins setting the rules for Russian athletes to compete at next year's Winter Games, one of the world's top anti-doping watchdogs already has some ideas.

Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, tells The Associated Press that athletes in "high risk" sports such as cross-country skiing and biathlon should be subject to between five and seven tests, blood and urine, before the Olympics.

He also says there should be assurances that an athlete's name does not appear either in the McLaren Report, which detailed the Russian doping scheme at the Sochi Olympics or in the database recently acquired by the World Anti-Doping Agency with information on thousands of drug tests of Russian athletes who were part of the system.

And Tygart would like potential Olympians to be subject to interviews under oath stating they had no involvement with Russia's doping program.

The IOC said Tuesday that invitations to the Pyeongchang Games would be decided by a panel headed by Valerie Fourneyron of France that includes Richard Budgett representing the IOC and one person each appointed by WADA and the Global Association of International Sports Federations' Doping-Free Sports Unit.

The athletes cannot have been disqualified or declared ineligible for any doping violations, must have undergone pre-games targeted tests recommended by a testing task force and undergone any other testing requirements specified by the panel.

But many of the specifics have not yet been detailed, and Tygart said he's interested in what they say.

He said "clean athletes won a significant victory" from Tuesday's decision, and many anti-doping leaders agreed.

In applauding the move, WADA president Craig Reedie said that for Russians to compete, "It must be proven that these athletes have not been implicated in the institutionalized scheme and have been tested as overseen by the panel."

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations, which had long been calling for a Russian ban, said it supported "a brave decision taken by the IOC in the face of enormous pressure."

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