Doping Control Officers (DCOs) are key U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) staff members and play a vital role in the anti-doping movement as a whole. These trained employees are the ones knocking on athlete doors and greeting athletes as they cross the finish line, in order to conduct and assist them with the sample collection process. DCOs have been part of USADA’s team since our founding in 2000, and we’d like to take a moment to highlight some of our staff who have been with us since inception. Their stories will show just how much the world of anti-doping has changed over the past 15 years.
Amy Kublin began testing athletes in November 1996 when she worked as a DCO for the United States Olympic Committee. She joined USADA in the same capacity when it was founded in October 2000. One of the changes Amy touched on, in her overview of the past 15 years, was the sample collection process and tools. The way DCOs locate an athlete has changed. When a phone call is made and how long DCOs have to wait for an athlete at any given location has changed many times over Amy’s 15 years with USADA, as we attempt to make the process more efficient and effective for both the DCO and the athlete.
Amy remembers that the early collection vessels used to have a spout: “They looked like toddler sippy cups. I had one hilarious issue with the older sippy-cup-looking collection vessel,” she says. “When filled with urine, it looked like a cup of apple juice. I had to catch an athlete’s son mid-run as his eye caught [what he thought was] a sippy cup filled with apple juice. Yes, I caught him in time. He did not sample ‘the sample.’”
A little more recently, after more information was placed online, Amy remembers that when planning to test athletes, she would have to print off multiple maps and directions from mapping websites so that she would know how to get to various locations, if needed, to make a collection attempt on an athlete. Amy appreciates that more and more of USADA’s work has gone paperless, thus saving trees and making her more resourceful.
Amy loves interacting with athletes. She likes that she gets to set her own hours and that she has the opportunity to travel and work with other DCOs.