USADA announced today a series of ongoing initiatives the agency has been undertaking to assist U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in complying with revised regulations recently released by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
WADA’s mission to help protect athletes around the globe in the quest for clean sport, seeking to level the playing field and ensure the integrity of competition, requires unwavering vigilance and a commitment to continued enrichment of harmonized global standards. Consistent with this mission, WADA has released the revised International Standards for Testing (IST) and International Standards for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE), which go into effect January 1, 2009.
Part of USADA’s mission is to assist in educating and informing U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes about competing clean and complying with applicable international protocols, a critical component in their elite training regimen. Accordingly, USADA has intensified its efforts over the past several months to ensure that all U.S. athletes are informed of the revised WADA policies and of their corresponding rights and responsibilities. Through a variety of resources, USADA is committed to providing detailed education regarding these policies, including such efforts as live athlete presentations, direct e-mail messaging, direct mail, remote webinar sessions, audiocast postings, and helpful website links and content.
Key categories affected by these policy revisions include, but are not limited to: Whereabouts Filings, Therapeutic Use Exemptions, Testing Availability, and Whereabouts Failures (including Filing Failures and Missed Tests).
In alliance with the USOC, USADA has launched a comprehensive, interactive online tutorial, the Athlete’s Advantage, to ensure that all athletes are equipped with critical knowledge about the anti-doping process and available resources. Before any U.S. athlete can submit his/her Whereabouts Filing for the first quarter 2009, they must complete these online modules, consisting of four (4) distinct education units on: Testing & Results Managements, the Prohibited List, Drug Reference Resources & Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), and Whereabouts & Whereabouts Failures.
USADA has been conducting live presentations for athlete groups and is continuing to present a series of informational webinars to inform them of the significant changes, as well as answer any questions they may have. In addition, an audiocast of an athlete webinar will be posted by December 15 at http://www.usantidoping.org/resources/ecatalog for those who are not able to attend a live broadcast.
USADA’s website has also been enhanced to include the new IST and ISTUE changes, as well as to provide educational tools, helping athletes to be prepared in 2009. Athletes are receiving a series of direct e-mail communications, directing them to the website to learn more information about the revised IST and ISTUE. In addition, all USADA publications are being updated with the new IST and ISTUE revisions and will be available to athletes shortly.
USADA recognizes that it is equally critical to educate NGBs and athlete support of the coming IST and ISTUE changes and, thus, also hosted NGB Forums this year. These interactive, day-long events allowed key contacts from NGBs all over the country to gain knowledge of the new IST and ISTUE changes, and return to their athletes informed of the changes coming in 2009, ready to help oversee a smooth transition.
USADA is dedicated to ensuring athlete comprehension of the 2009 IST and ISTUE changes and to do the utmost to prevent avoidable violations and promote compliance with the WADA International Standards. In addition to those efforts outlined above, USADA is also circulating valuable reminders and details through direct mail postcards, newsletters, personal letters, and phone calls.
In serving its mission to preserve the well-being of Olympic sport and integrity of competition, as well as ensure the health of all athletes, USADA works on a daily basis to proactively aid athletes in understanding the rules applicable to them. This includes comprehensive instruction on the agency’s website about the testing process and prohibited substances, and how to obtain permission to use necessary medications. USADA also manages a drug reference hotline, conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Athlete Handbook, Prohibited Substance Guide, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and complete athlete toolkits.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement athletes, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.
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