March 11, 2013, Ottawa, ON (ISN) – In its third quarter, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) witnessed a victory in the fight against unethical sport as details of the Lance Armstrong case were exposed.
As more and more evidence came to light, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) case against the disgraced cyclist grew stronger, the public suddenly had a vivid illustration of the damage that can be caused by doping in sport. The CCES used this opportunity to turn a spotlight on its own doping control efforts.
“Even though the Armstrong scandal is not a Canadian issue, its ripples can be felt throughout the entire sport community,” said Paul Melia, President and CEO of the CCES. “When a doping conspiracy of this magnitude is discovered, it shakes the whole system to its core and emphasizes the value of partnerships, intelligence-gathering, and increasingly sophisticated testing methods.”
During the investigation, the CCES learned that Canadian cyclist Michael Barry was implicated and had provided evidence. The CCES recognized USADA’s jurisdiction over Mr. Barry, shared intelligence and agreed with the six-month sanction imposed. This case helped to show that witness testimony can be just as crucial as a positive test for exposing anti-doping rule violations.
The case also revealed the importance of the athlete biological passport program. According to USADA’s Reasoned Decision, “an expert examination of Armstrong’s blood parameters establish that the likelihood of Armstrong’s blood values from the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France occurring naturally is less than one in a million, and build a compelling argument consistent with blood doping (page 87).”
The CCES endeavoured to keep the sport community informed about how we intended to move forward and learn from this scandal. Initiatives included: presenting at the Canadian Cycling Association’s annual general meeting, discussions with the Minister of Sport, responding to media inquiries, and undertaking an ethical inquiry into the feasibility of the International Cycling Union (UCI) conducting a “Truth and Reconciliation” program.
“The Armstrong case reminds us how vigilant we must remain,” said Mr. Melia. “We must continue to evolve, particularly into the areas of investigations and cooperation with law enforcement, to protect sport from doping and deter those who would sully sport’s good name for their own profit.”