As competitive sport of all kinds continues to grow in the United States, so too does USADA’s role in preserving the integrity of clean competition.
While USADA’s role within Olympic and Paralympic sports is well known and documented, the organization also conducts testing as a private contractor for a wide variety of other sports and competitions that are not sanctioned under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) or International Olympic Committee (IOC).
National Governing Bodies (NGBs) or International Federations (IFs) requesting out-of-competition or event testing are handled through USADA’s Sports Testing and Resources (STAR) Division. In the past year alone, the STAR Division has conducted testing for Motocross, the Ironman Triathlon, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mini-golf, chess, and professional boxing.
IFs and NGBs have many reasons for seeking out drug testing in their sports. Primarily, these organizations wish to be recognized by the IOC as Olympic sports. More significantly, sporting organizations and event organizers are initiating anti-doping programs as a means of protecting the health of their athletes and preserving the integrity of their competitions.
In 2014, Motocross became a new client of USADA’s. MX Sports Pro Racing feels USADA is a leader in the international anti-doping community, and was pleased to be able to work with USADA to conduct testing during the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Testing for performance-enhancing substances in professional sports in the U.S. has proven to be an effective and necessary way to ensure that the playing field is level for all athletes. With USADA conducting the anti-doping program in accordance with the international standards of the WADA Code for the 2014 championship, Pro Motocross joined other professional sports that have adopted similar testing programs designed to protect the integrity of our races.
“I think [all sports] are trying to earn the honor of being recognized as an Olympic sport, and the first thing you have to do is have drug-testing at your events,” said Bradley Guye, Client Services Lead at USADA. “That’s how ice fishing came about in 2013—they wanted to be in the Pan American games and in the Olympics, so how can we help them get there? Testing at events is a good start.” Organizations support clean competition in many other ways along with and outside of administering testing. Many organizations support clean sport and anti-doping through appropriate policies, rules, and statements opposing the use of drugs and support the World Anti-Doping Code. Organizations also work with USADA to provide education to their athletes, in a variety of ways including in-person as well as online webinars. On many organization websites, athletes can find links to education websites including USADA and WADA, as appropriate, as well as to drug reference resources and the effects and health risks of abusing performance-enhancing drugs.
All athletes who USADA serves, no matter the sport, are held to the same standards and tested for the same substances as Olympic, Paralympic, and Pan American athletes.
“They’re held accountable to the same degree as any other event would be whether it be a cycling event like the Tour of Utah or an International Triathlon Union competition. Whatever substances are screened for at a cycling or triathlon event are also screened for at an ice-fishing or jiu-jitsu competition,” commented Guye.
Regardless of the sport or the competition, there is a need to protect the purity of sport. USADA is dedicated to working with its domestic and global partners who share a common interest in preserving the integrity of competition and protecting the rights of clean athletes. Click here to learn more about USADA’s contract testing services.