Olympic leaders seek meeting to address discord in anti-doping efforts

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, right, visits the athletes village under constructions in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Games on March 15.
(Park Won-Il / AFP/Getty Images)

Olympic leaders emerged from meetings in South Korea on Thursday calling for a sit-down with anti-doping officials to try to ease tensions and foster new cooperation in catching and sanctioning cheaters.

There has been discord among officials regarding investigations into doping scandals in Russia and Kenya, and the best way to proceed with future enforcement.

With the International Olympic Committee’s executive board gathering this week in Pyeongchang — host city for the 2018 Winter Games — IOC President Thomas Bach extended an invitation to the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency and to Richard McLaren, an independent investigator at the heart of the Russian case.

Bach wants officials to “hopefully work together on a better and tighter cooperation as we move forward on this issue,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.


The IOC also issued its proposal for revamping the current system, suggesting that WADA take the lead in governance but calling for an “independent testing authority.”

The new authority would oversee a patchwork arrangement under which each nation is responsible for monitoring its own athletes.

The IOC would like to see tighter controls on national testing and a minimum number of tests that athletes must undergo to be eligible for world championships and the Olympics.

The broad strokes of Thursday’s declaration have yet to be filled in with necessary details, and there are pressing matters at hand.


It remains unclear if the Russian team — a large portion of which was banned from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro — will be allowed to participate in Pyeongchang.

The IOC is also hoping to move swiftly to make any changes before the Games next winter.

In Rio, the international Court of Arbitration for Sport was brought in to independently adjudicate any doping cases arising from positive tests at the Games.

For Pyeongchang, the IOC said it wants to add some form of independent testing.


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