DENVER, Colorado — US Olympic officials undermined anti-doping programmes so effectively that half the US athletes who have tested positive in recent years have not been sanctioned, a former official charged in a lawsuit.
Dr. Wade Exum, 51, in his suit filed in federal court here on Monday against the US Olympic Committee, also claimed that he was discriminated against because he was black. He is seeking monetary damages to be determined at trial.
The issue of performance enhancing drugs, which goes back to at least the 1970s in some parts of the world, keeps rearing its ugly head with athletes still being banned and fined for such use.
Exum said when he was hired in 1991 as director of drug control administration he tried to establish meaningful drug-testing programmes, but the US Olympic Committee had ‘thrown road blocks in the path of anti-doping enforcement’. Performance enhancing drugs are banned for Olympic competitors.
The Colorado Springs-based USOC said the lawsuit was without merit and criticised its timing so close to the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia in September.
Exum who resigned in protest in June is scheduled to hold a press conference in Denver on Friday, his attorney’s office said. The suit claimed that two restructurings at the USOC made whites who were not physicians his supervisors.
He said his efforts at trying to stop athletes from using performance enhancing drugs resulted in his supervisors criticising him for not being a ‘team player’.
He said instead of Olympic officials backing the testing programme it threw ‘road blocks … For example, in recent years, absolutely no sanction has been imposed on roughly half of all the American athletes who have tested positive for prohibited substances,’ his lawsuit said.
He also said he had never seen an athlete sanctioned who tested positive for testosterone — a prohibited substance — although ‘scores’ have tested positive.
The lawsuit claimed that the USOC’s drug control programme was so shoddy that it ‘lacks a credible international and national reputation’.