U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)

Click here to log in to the
Athlete Connect application

USADA logo with registered symbol.

Global DRO logo in whiteSearch Medications & Ingredients

Close this search box.

Presentation of Facts Following WADA President’s Reckless and Harmful Statements About U.S. Athletes to the WADA Foundation Board Members

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Banka resorted to new lows at the WADA Foundation Board Meeting on Friday, May 17, 2024 by calling into question the integrity and dedication to clean competition of American professional, college, and Olympic and Paralympic athletes, seemingly in an effort to continue to deflect from the real concerns the world has about how WADA allowed China to sweep 23 positive tests under the carpet.

There is nothing more classic in a cover-up than diversion and smoke and mirrors, which seems to be all we are getting from WADA leadership ever since whistleblowers revealed blatant rule violations stemming from positive tests for the banned pharmaceutical drug, trimetazidine (TMZ). The second most classic response to a cover-up is to attack the messenger, which is the current situation as Banka and surrogates plumb the depths of misinformation and half-truths to make personal attacks, even stooping so low as to attempt a hit-job on all U.S. athletes.

It is painful to see the credibility of the global anti-doping system diminished by the day due to WADA leadership’s refusal to publish the China file for a fair, transparent, and unbiased review of how 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for a drug known worldwide for enhancing performance.

Clean athletes, especially as we approach the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, deserve to know how a prescription drug, only available in pill form, found its way into a restaurant kitchen. Raising even more questions, is the suggestion that the drug managed to remain in that kitchen for months, at a time when strict COVID protocols required the most extensive cleaning regimens of public-facing facilities we have ever experienced. And, of course, even if this ‘immaculate contamination’ did happen, why did WADA allow China to escape its failure to follow the rules in not finding a first violation, no disqualification, or public announcement?

We once again call on WADA to produce the full China file for the world to evaluate. This is a simple request and could be done today if WADA has nothing to hide.

To ensure accurate and complete information is presented, we have compiled the Banka Spin vs Facts below.



“A number of environmental contamination cases in the past. Some of the most elaborate and surprising contamination cases have come out of the U.S. – contamination through dog medication, contamination by kissing a girlfriend who had bought medication purchase during holiday in India, contamination through tap water and many others.”


Banka references three cases where the athletes have asserted their innocence and raised contamination as the source of their positive test. As described in more detail below, all three cases resulted in a violation (first offence), were made public through a press release, and resulted in disqualification, as required under the rules. The finding of a violation, publication for transparency, and disqualification for fairness to others is mandatory under the rules.

Despite Banka’s misleading statements about these cases, WADA leaders continue to fail to answer the basic question — Why were the rules not followed in the 23 positive Chinese swimming cases? If anything, the immaculate contamination of TMZ in a kitchen is in Banka’s words, ‘elaborate and surprising’, if not simply fiction.

Even if you believe this story, the key difference, however, in the 23 Chinese swimming cases, is that they were not handled as the mandatory rules require with the finding of a violation, disqualification, and a public announcement.


The details of the three USADA cases are described here:

USADA v. Kristen Shaldybin

This athlete returned a low-level positive drug test for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample she provided. She asserted her innocence and defense through the legal process under the WADA Code. After the B-sample was tested and confirmed the positive, she demonstrated the drug was ingested by her with ‘no fault or negligence’ as defined under the WADA Code. The source was shown to be present through a municipality’s drinking water, which contained low levels of the drug. As required by the rules, she was found to have committed a first violation and the case was publicly announced. WADA did appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). However, after WADA was requested by CAS to pay its appeal fees, it failed to timely do so, and CAS dismissed its appeal. The International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) was satisfied with the outcome and did not appeal the case although it had the right to do so.


USADA v. Gil Roberts

This athlete returned a low-level positive for probenecid. He was provisionally suspended as required by the rules for a positive for this drug. After the B-sample confirmed the positive, USADA prosecuted this case to a hearing in front of a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitrator (totally independent of USADA). Over USADA’s objection, the AAA/CAS arbitrator determined that Roberts proved on a balance of probabilities that he was without fault in ingesting probenecid through kissing his girlfriend. WADA appealed the arbitrator’s decision at CAS and lost its appeal when the CAS Panel found that the athlete was without fault. This case was announced, and the athlete received a violation as required by the rules.




USADA v. Katerina Nash

This athlete, a Cyclocross pro and UCI Vice President, tested positive for capromorelin and was provisionally suspended. After USADA’s investigation, the evidence proved that the athlete tested positive for the drug after being exposed to it through her administration of a liquid pet medication prescribed to her for her dying dog. The scientific research has been published and is available to the public and anti-doping community, unlike the scientific research cited in the Chinese swimmers’ cases. As the WADA Code rules require, she was found to have committed a violation and the case was publicly announced, inclusive of the athlete’s name. WADA and UCI did not appeal the case although each had a legal right to do so.




“Just to give you a few examples to paint the picture of some inconsistent rule implementation in the U.S. – 90% of American athletes, those in pro leagues and college sport, don’t compete under World Anti-Doping Code.


This is a particularly manipulative comment in an effort to indicate that 90% of U.S. athletes are dirty and only 10% are clean.

Most U.S. pro league and college sports are not bound to follow the WADA Code unless any of those athletes compete in an international competition like the Olympic Games. For example, once a college athlete reaches a point when they might be considered for Team USA, they are added to USADA’s testing pool and subject to all WADA Code rules. It’s incredibly reckless for the President of WADA to suggest these sports do not have robust and effective programs and that their athletes are not clean. Simply put, these comments are harmful and an insult to all athletes in these leagues and to the leagues themselves. Banka should apologize to the athletes, leagues, and WADA Foundation Board members for these comments.

There are also several good reasons these sports are not under the WADA Code. First, WADA does not have the same level of athlete voice and vote in its policies as pro sports – why would athletes give up their rights to join WADA? Second, WADA has shown, as in this China case, to not evenly and fairly enforce the rules. Third, why would U.S. pro sports allow the IOC-funded legal court, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to affect athletes’ and leagues’ rights that are based and primarily played in the U.S. and under U.S. legal systems?

Instead of degrading these leagues and their athletes, WADA should lead and demonstrate through actions that they genuinely want to partner with these leagues and their players for clean sport.


“31% of American athletes under the Code were not sufficiently tested in 12-month period prior to Tokyo Games. According to the data that is available to us.”


This is a grossly misleading statement not based on complete or accurate data. In this statement Banka slyly indicates his comment is based on the “data that is available to us”.  WADA knows the data they rely on for this statement is incomplete and inaccurate, yet he still, in reckless and misleading fashion, relies on it to cast aspersions on U.S. athletes and USADA’s efforts, as well as all International Federations responsible for testing of U.S. athletes.

Prior to the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, global pre-Games testing efforts were guided by the ITA Pre Games Taskforce, which issued specific testing recommendations for individual athletes and team sports across countries and sports. USADA received more than 1,500 recommendations for 400+ athletes. These recommendations are not required by the rules and are not mandated globally. However, the ITA reported that 80% of these recommendations worldwide were implemented, with USADA implementing 99.5% of their recommendations.

Importantly, the ITA did not issue specific pre-Games testing recommendations for 50.2% of the 442 U.S athletes who went on to compete in individual sports for the U.S. (including 20 gold medalists) at the Tokyo Games, and yet, USADA and the athletes’ respective IFs identified and tested these athletes ahead of the Games.

From January 2021 to the opening of the Olympic Village, U.S. athlete individual medal winners were tested* on average prior to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as follows:

  • U.S. Gold medalists tested 7.2 times;
  • U.S. Silver medalists tested 7.6 times; and,
  • U.S. Bronze medalists tested 6.7 times.

USADA published a comprehensive overview of our pre-Games testing data here: https://www.usada.org/wp-content/uploads/ITA-Testing-Infographic.pdf

Additionally, implementation of the pre-Games testing is a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY between National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and IFs, with testing from each organization actively encouraged. For Banka to state that American athletes were “not sufficiently tested” prior to the Tokyo Games grossly ignores the data as well as the strategic and focused efforts of USADA and IFs to identify and test athletes who would ultimately compete (and medal) in Tokyo. NADOs and IFs are required to conduct their own risk assessment by which to determine appropriate testing numbers and strategy. WADA’s own Audit Team praised USADA’s dynamic and individualized risk assessment as described in more detail below.

USADA publishes the exact testing numbers on individual U.S. athletes for tests that USADA has performed on its website here: https://www.usada.org/news/athlete-test-history/

For years, USADA has called on WADA and others to publicize individual athlete testing histories. Our calls grew louder under the new WADA leadership in office, when the world was informed that 4,125 total athletes from around the world, to include 1,913 athletes from the 10 sports with the highest risk of doping, had no tests leading into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

We call on WADA to be transparent and publish all the data from 2021 and 2022 Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games on all individual athlete testing histories. USADA does.

Ultimately, it is WADA’s job to ensure all countries, including USADA, are robust, effective, and compliant with the rules. Banka statements amount to him saying WADA is not doing its job in the U.S., despite USADA strictly adhering to the rules. WADA certainly cannot use WADA’s failure here, as an excuse for also failing to ensure its rules are followed in China.


One last example is actually, I used to be a 400m runner so World Athletics is very important for me, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. athletes participating in the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, didn’t even have 1 out-of-competition test in the ten months leading up to the event.


Here again, Banka is simply manipulating the data to attempt to divert attention away from WADA’s failure to hold China to the rules everyone else is subject to. The data he relies on for this statement is not complete and is therefore inherently misleading.

Consistent with his apparent vendetta against U.S. athletes, he conveniently omits that the tests conducted as part of the largest pre-competition testing program ever conducted at a World Championships, conducted by USADA in cooperation with AIU, are not included in these numbers.

Banka fails to either understand or consider that testing on international level athletes is supposed to be a “shared responsibility” under the WADA Code, not mandatory for NADOs to carry the load alone. In the U.S., we test in conjunction and collaboration with the International Federation, in this case the Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles anti-doping for World Athletics. This is in contrast to some NADOs that do not test their most elite athletes out-of-competition (OOC) and leave OOC testing of these athletes to be done only by the International Federation.

The reality is that for both the 2022 Championships in Eugene, OR and the 2023 Championships in Budapest, U.S. athletes had the most OOC tests as a team of any participating country. Additionally, for Eugene, U.S. athletes had an average of 3.7 OOC tests, and for Budapest, U.S. athletes had an average of 4.4 OOC tests prior to competition. Even with the largest delegation, U.S. athletes experienced among the highest averages of testing across the participating countries. The AIU, like USADA is transparent, and the full data sets are available here: Eugene and Budapest.

If WADA has concerns about elite U.S. athletes not being tested enough, then this is a WADA Code compliance issue for USADA and World Athletics. As detailed below, the WADA Audit Team did an in-person audit of USADA after the 2021 Olympic Games and 2022 World Championships. Certainly, any legitimate concern of WADA’s would have been flagged at this time and it wasn’t.


Of course we could discuss it, I could provide more figures, but I think it is sufficient to contextualize what we are currently facing regarding the China swimming case and yes, to point out the hypocrisy of some of individuals from US anti-doping community. American athletes just like all athletes worldwide deserve a fair and harmonized anti-doping system within their own countries and in those countries where they compete. They deserve better than these political games and I’m committed to work with US authorities to strengthen the anti-doping system in the U.S. and globally.”


WADA did an in-person, on-site audit of USADA as described under the International Standards for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS). This audit was signed off on in January 2023. In this Audit Report, WADA wrote, “[i]t is the view of the audit team that USADA has a very comprehensive and effective anti-doping program. In large part due to the experience, expertise and dedication of the current staff.” The WADA Audit team, which consisted of three (3) full-time WADA staff and an outside anti-doping expert, found that USADA “functions at a high-level. Staff have experience and expertise that is recognized internationally. . . .”

In particular to Testing and Investigations, the WADA Audit Team found that USADA’s Risk Assessment (the criteria by which athletes are determined to be tested) is ‘very well developed’ and that USADA has “developed a dynamic individualized RA (Risk Assessment).”

Banka’s statement to WADA Foundation Board members attacked U.S. athletes and manipulated data to create a false narrative that is harmful to all athletes and the entire global anti-doping system. WADA must be a firm and fair arbiter of the rules, not the school yard bully instilling fear and abusing its power.

Again, WADA can put all the world’s questions to rest by simply being transparent as the rules require and publishing the entire China file. We would hope this is a better outcome for the global anti-doping system than calling athlete’s integrity into question.


*On May 21, 2024, USADA corrected this sentence to remove “out-of-competition,” as the cited numbers reflect the total tests, both in-competition and out-of-competition.

Scroll to Top