Frank Shorter, America’s last Olympic Marathon gold medal winner, has been elected Chairman of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) by the members of the Board in the first of many moves to come as the Agency gears up for a fall launch of its operations.
The USADA, an independent agency to conduct drug testing and oversee anti-doping measures on behalf of America’s Olympic athletes, was set up on the recommendation last fall of a U.S Olympic Committee Task Force On Drug Externalization.
Representatives from three segments of the USOC Board of Directors subsequently selected and announced in March a nine-member Board of Directors, including Shorter (Boulder, Colo.) for the start-up agency. Five of the Board members were independent selections made by the Public Sector while the Athlete’s Advisory Council and the National Governing Body Council chose two apiece.
Shorter forecasts that the USADA Board “will be a very active and aggressive board whose goal is to reestablish a level playing field in Olympic sport – free from illegal, performance enhancing drugs. We look forward to proving beyond any doubt that American athletes are not only the best in the world, but also the cleanest.”
In addition to the Chairman’s position, the Board chose three other officers to guide the group through its challenging initial stages. Dr. Ralph Hale (Herndon, Va.) was elected as Vice Chair; Kate Borg (Charleston, S.C.) as Secretary; and Barry Axelrod (Encinitas, Calif.) as Treasurer.
A two-time Olympian, Shorter won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, and the silver medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada. A member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, Shorter has worked extensively in support of anti-doping initiatives worldwide and recently testified before the United States Congress on the issue.
Dr. Hale, a member of the U.S. delegation staff for four Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 1994 and 1996) has served on the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors since 1984 as a representative of U.S. Water Polo. His extensive work in international sport includes serving as a member of the USOC/USSR Anti-Doping Commission from 1989-92.
A member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team in the sport of canoe/kayak, Borg served as an Athlete Liaison and Athlete Services Coordinator for the 1997 World University Games and the 1999 Pan American Games. Borg was a member of the U.S. Canoe/Kayak National Team from 1988-96 and remains active as a competitor in national-level road races, marathons and triathlons.
Axelrod is an attorney specializing in sports, entertainment and business law. He represents such athletes as Olympians Willie Banks, Michelle Kwan, Julianne McNamara and Mary Lou Retton.
In addition to Shorter, Dr. Hale, Borg and Axelrod, the nine-member Board of Directors for the USADA includes Peter Breen (Brookline, Mass.), Dr. Richard Cohen (Atlanta, Ga.), Dr. Jean Fourcroy (Bethesda, Md.), Dr. Andrew Mecca (Tiburon, Calif.) and Dr. Walter W. Shervington (New Orleans). The USOC Select Task Force On Drug Externalization recommended the creation of an independent agency following a nine-month study. The task force was co-chaired by Frank Marshall (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Baaron Pittenger (Colorado Springs, Colo.). The task force recommendation received unanimous approval from the USOC Board of Directors in October of 1999.
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