WADA publishes Independent Observer Team Report for 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games

Montreal, 27 October 2016 – The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) publishes its Independent Observer Team’s (IO Team’s) Report concerning the anti-doping program at the 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games.  In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), WADA is invited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to send an IO Team to the Olympic Games.

The role of the IO Team is to help instill confidence in both athletes and the public as to the quality, effectiveness, and reliability of the IOC’s anti-doping program for the Games; to provide feedback and suggest areas of possible “real-time” improvement to the program; and, to make recommendations within its post-Games Report for potential improvements to the program for future editions of the Games.

“The anti-doping program, which was implemented and overseen by the IOC, was able to achieve a number of positive outcomes in the face of very challenging circumstances in Rio,” said IO Team Chair, Jonathan Taylor. “Despite staffing issues, resource constraints and other logistical difficulties, those tasked with implementation of the program, and in particular the volunteers, deserve immense credit for ensuring that the rights of clean athletes were safeguarded,” said Taylor.  

“Furthermore, the IOC is to be commended for embracing new advances in the delivery of the Olympic anti-doping program – many of which were recommendations from previous IO Team Reports,” Taylor continued. “These advances included the establishment of testing and intelligence efforts in advance of the Games through a dedicated ‘taskforce’; the collection of samples during the Games period outside of accredited Olympic venues both within Brazil and globally; as well as, other initiatives such as a Games-time Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU); and, the establishment of a new Court of Arbitration division to handle anti-doping cases as a first instance panel.” 

The IO Team monitored all aspects of the anti-doping program in Rio, including: test distribution planning; the selection of competitors for testing; notification of doping control; the Therapeutic Use Exemption procedure; chain of custody, sample analysis; and results management.

As is the case following all IO Team Missions, the Report includes a number of recommendations for the IOC, the Local Organizing Committee, the WADA-accredited laboratory and WADA –- all that are designed to further enhance anti-doping activities at future Games.




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