Anti-doping starts with prevention, meaning that education on how to compete clean and with integrity should be provided at all levels of competition. USADA works diligently to maintain a comprehensive and continuous education program that serves athletes from the youth to elite levels.
Annually, around 2,800 testing pool athletes complete the Athlete’s Advantage tutorial as USADA continues in its mission to ensure all athletes are educated on timely and relevant anti-doping topics.
At the elite level, athletes can be assigned to one of USADA’s three pools- the Registered Testing Pool (RTP), the Clean Athlete Program (CAP), or the Education Pool (EP). For athletes in these pools to successfully comply with international standards, they must complete anti-doping education each year. USADA helps athletes meet this requirement through its Athlete’s Advantage e-Learning tutorial. To ensure athletes are fully aware of their pool-specific anti-doping responsibilities, USADA develops several versions of the Athlete’s Advantage tutorials. Athletes new to their pool are provided with a comprehensive explanation of prohibited substances and methods, the sample collection and result management processes, rights and responsibilities, Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), Whereabouts requirements, ways to report suspected doping, and risks associated with dietary supplements. If an athlete has already completed the new athlete tutorial, they will complete the returning athlete tutorial, which is an abbreviated course that covers anti-doping updates, resources, and reminders. Regardless of the tutorial, athletes are required to pass an assessment on the content when added to a pool and each subsequent year.
How are athletes added to the RTP?
The requirements to include athletes in a Registered Testing Pool or other testing pool are driven by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).
Some examples of reasons why an athlete would be included in an RTP can include:
- Athletes ranked highly in their sport, competing as an international-level athlete, part of a national team, receiving USOPC funding, living or competing abroad, etc…;
- Athletes in high risk sport-disciplines for doping based on a sport-specific risk assessment;
- Athletes serving a period of Ineligibility or a Provisional Suspension;
- Athletes who were high priority for Testing before they retired from the sport and who now wish to return from retirement to active participation in the sport;
- Other individualized factors that require out-of-competition testing on an Athlete, thus requiring Whereabouts information.
In the event an athlete is moved to another testing pool, they would be expected to complete the Athlete’s Advantage tutorial specific to their pool inclusion. Similarly, if an athlete is removed but returns to a testing pool, they would be responsible for completing education upon their return.
The Athlete’s Advantage eLearning tutorials can be accessed through an athlete’s Athlete Connect account, which allows an athlete to fulfill their education requirements on a computer, tablet, or mobile device, making it as convenient as possible for athletes to remain compliant.