Spirit of Sport Newsletter – Winter 2013-2014
One of USADA’s Regional Team Lead (RTL) Doping Control Officers (DCO), Arnold Thomas graduated from New Mexico State University in 1980, where he served as a student athletic trainer. After serving as head trainer at Cy-Fair High School in northwest Houston for thirty years, he retired to become a full-time DCO with USADA.
Thomas has been involved with drug testing for the past 17 years, working with the USOC before joining USADA’s team.
“I have been fortunate enough to represent the United States as either an athletic trainer or a Doping Control Officer in three Olympic Games,” said Thomas. “My first experience came as a trainer at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona as part of the medical team. I was also extremely honored to represent USADA as a DCO at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where I served as station manager at the Whistler Sliding Centre. I was also a DCO for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London at Greenwich Park for equestrian and modern pentathlon.”
Thomas says that after being an athlete himself and then working around them as a trainer, he became interested in somehow combining the two as part-time work.
“I never expected it to lead to a full-time job. But I always believed in USADA’s vision, mission, and goals, and always strive to uphold those values as a DCO.”
Just as Thomas was unable to predict his career trajectory after college, he continues to encounter many unpredictable moments out in the field.
“Many years ago I attempted an out-of-competition test where the athlete answered the door, let me in, and as we were going through introductions and starting to fill out paperwork, I heard a noise and turned around to see his identical twin brother coming down the stairs! Fortunately for me, the athlete that I had notified pulled out his wallet and provided me with his driver’s license. To this day I still wonder what I would have done if neither of them had been carrying identification.”
Thomas is married to his wife of 39 years, Kathy, who serves as his female witnessing chaperone and station marshal. Together they live in Cypress, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Besides sports, his interests include music trivia, fantasy football, and travel.