Anti-doping

The word doping is probably derived from the Dutch word dop, the name of an alcoholic beverage made of grape skins used by Zulu warriors in order to enhance their prowess in battle. The term became current around the turn of the 20th century, originally referring to illegal drugging of racehorses. The practice of enhancing performance through foreign substances or other artificial means, however, is as old as competitive sport itself.

Doping is the word used in sport when athletes use prohibited substances or methods to unfairly improve their sporting performance.

Doping is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs):

  • Presence of a prohibited substance in an athlete’s sample
  • Use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method
  • Refusing to submit to sample collection after being notified
  • Failure to file athlete whereabouts information and missed tests
  • Tampering with any part of the doping control process
  • Possession of a prohibited substance or method
  • Trafficking a prohibited substance or method
  • Administering or attempting to administer a prohibited substance or method to an athlete
  • Complicity in an ADRV
  • Prohibited association with athlete support personnel who has engaged in doping

Why is doping in sport prohibited?

The use of doping substances or doping methods to enhance performance is fundamentally wrong and is detrimental to the overall spirit of sport. Drug misuse can be harmful to an athlete’s health and to other athletes competing in the sport. It severely damages the integrity, image and value of sport, whether or not the motivation to use drugs is to improve performance. To achieve integrity and fairness in sport, a commitment to clean sport is critical.

Dangers of Doping: Get the Facts leaflet

Level the Playing Field Video

The practice of doping in sport – the use of substances and artificial ways of enhancing performance – is possibly as old as organised sport itself. Even in Ancient Greece, athletes used special diets and stimulants to build strength, but it was not until the 1920s that it became clear that restrictions were needed on drug use in sport.

The first International Sport Federation to ban the use of stimulating substances was the International Association of Athletics Federations in 1928, paving the way for many other sports to follow in their footsteps. However, no testing was carried out at this time.

It was not until the death of Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen as he took part in the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960, where the autopsy revealed traces of amphetamine, that pressure mounted for sports authorities to introduce drug testing.

Six years later, in 1966, the cycling and football federations (UCI and FIFA) introduced drug tests during their World Championships, pre-empting the first Olympic testing at the Grenoble Winter Games and the Olympics in Mexico, in 1968.

As for Gymnastics, the first in-competition doping controls were performed in 2004 by FIG and UEG, and out-of-competition testing started in 2005 by WADA.

What is WADA & what is its role?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 as an independent international agency and is composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world. Its key activities include in particular scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, investigations and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code and its application by Code signatories (International Federations, National Anti-Doping Organisations, Major Event Organisations, etc.).
For more information about WADA, consult:

WADA website

What is WADA? video

Athletes information

Athletes’ rights include (but are not limited to):

  • during the doping control:
    • bringing a representative and, if available, an interpreter;
    • asking for additional information about the sample collection process;
    • requesting a delay in reporting to the doping control station for valid reasons (International Standard for Testing and InvestigationsArt. 5.4.4); ando requesting modifications for athletes with impairments (if applicable).
  • requesting and attending the B sample analysis (in the case of an Adverse Analytical Finding); and
  • in the case of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) being asserted, the athlete has the right to a fair hearing and the right to appeal the hearing decision.

What do athletes & athlete support personel need to know about anit-doping

“Every athlete has the right to clean sport!”
Any athlete may be tested in- and out-of-competition, anytime, anywhere and with no advance notice.

The principle of strict liability applies in anti-doping – if it is in the athlete’s body, the athlete is responsible for it.

Athletes’ responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

  • complying with the (in line with the World Anti-Doping Code);
  • being available for sample collection (urine or blood), whether in-competition or out- of-competition;
  • ensuring that no prohibited substance enters his body and that no prohibited method is used;
  • making sure that any treatment is not prohibited according to the Prohibited List in force and checking this with the prescribing physicians, or directly with the IF if necessary;
  • applying to the IF (or national anti-doping organisation if the athlete is a national level athlete ) if no alternative permitted treatment is possible and a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) is required;
  • reporting immediately for sample collection after being notified of a doping control;
  • ensuring the accuracy of the information entered on the doping control form during sample collection (including stating any medications and supplements taken within the seven days prior to sample collection, and where the sample collected is a blood sample, blood transfusions within the previous three months);
  • cooperating with anti-doping organisations investigating anti-doping rules violations (ADRVs); and
  • not working with coaches, trainers, physicians or other athlete support personnel who are ineligible on account of an ADRV or who have been criminally convicted or professionally disciplined in relation to doping (see WADA’s Prohibited Association List)

Note: during doping control, the athlete must remain within direct observation of the Doping Control Officer (DCO) or chaperone at all times from when the initial contact is made until the completion of the sample collection procedure. The athlete must also produce identification upon request.