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Postponement could make Tokyo 2020 cleanest Games - USADA

Video credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on March 25, 2020 - Duration: 05:09s

Postponement could make Tokyo 2020 cleanest Games - USADA

The one-year postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could make it one of the cleanest Games ever, according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart.

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Postponement could make Tokyo 2020 cleanest Games - USADA

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT VIDEO SHOWS: INTERVIEW WITH U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CEO, TRAVIS TYGART, FILE FOOTAGE OF IOC DOPING LABORATORY SHOWS: COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, UNITED STATES (MARCH 25, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CEO, TRAVIS TYGART, SAYING: "It hall hinges on the determination of the organisations that have a job to do who have committed to putting in a testing programme that ensures, as best as possible, that only clean athletes are participating.

And we've now bought, while we're in an unfortunate time and a time that necessarily would call into question because testing is not happening around the world right now, we will buy ourselves, hopefully six months where full programmes can operate at the fullest capacity, and those programmes will do the job that they're expected to do.

So yeah, I think absolutely we have an opportunity for this to be one of the cleanest Games we've ever seen." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CEO, TRAVIS TYGART, SAYING: (EXPLAINING HOW THE POSTPONEMENT OF TOKYO 2020 GAMES COULD MAKE IT ONE OF THE CLEANEST GAMES EVER) "Well, I think one the Russia decision will be final, and hopefully a consequence will be put in place to deal with the ongoing manipulation and fraud that we see out of the state of Russia around anti-doping efforts.

I think the embarrassment to the Rio Games, the London 2012 Games, the Sochi 2014 Games, with the lack of testing, the number of positive tests based on retests has forced the hand of those in sport to say 'we can't possibly tolerate this anymore'.

The IOC did take the step of setting up a pre-Games task force in which we are fortunate enough to play a role.

On that task force and recommendations have been sent out to organisations around the world to ensure that, particularly in the high-risk sports, that we don't have a repeat of what happened in Rio.

And so the spotlight is on this issue and that forces the organisations that have control, to ensure clean sport, it forces their hand to ensure that they actually do the job that they are supposed to be doing.

That's a good outcome." 4.

WHITE FLASH 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CEO, TRAVIS TYGART, SAYING: (TALKING ABOUT THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE TOKYO GAMES ALLOWING THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT TO RESOLVE RUSSIA'S FOUR-YEAR BAN FROM GLOBAL SPORTS COMPETITIONS) "Most importantly, there's no excuse for it not to be resolved and we'll have some finality from the legal court on what the consequence of Russia's continued manipulation and attempt to circumvent the anti-doping system is going to be.

And I think that brings a whole lot of relief to a lot of people who are waiting on that finality, whatever it may ultimately be.

The worst case would have been we go to Tokyo in July and that case is still pending, and that would've been not unlike what happened at the FINA world championships with Sun Yang where he had a pending case, and you saw athletes who were outraged and refused to take the stand and protested.

So hopefully that goes away and we have a good, firm decision that can be put in place and gives a lot of closure at this point to some of the Russia continued manipulation that we have seen." 6.

WHITE FLASH 7.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CEO, TRAVIS TYGART, SAYING: (TALKING ABOUT SOME ATHLETES TAKING ADVANTAGE OF LESS OUT-OF-COMPETITION DOPE TESTING) "Yeah, listen, I'm hopeful clean athletes are going to remain clean and just because there maybe a new opportunity to break the rules, athletes know that if you cheat to attempt to win, you're not really a winner and so I'm very hopeful that clean athletes will continue on the path that they are on.

Now obviously, and it would be naive to think otherwise, it does present an opportunity for those who may want to exploit it, to gain an advantage.

A couple of weeks doesn't bother me a whole lot, because I think we can catch up and find, and detect, if someone does attempt to exploit that opportunity, that's starts dragging on three, four, five, six weeks, then it becomes a different question and we're going to have to do a lot to ensure once things do reopen, that testing is robust and sufficient volume to ensure that if anyone did try to take advantage of this sort of reduced time period, that they can't get away with it." 8.

WHITE FLASH 9.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CEO, TRAVIS TYGART, SAYING: (TALKING ABOUT ATHLETES WHO ARE SERVING DOPING BANS WHO COULD NOW COMPETE IN THE RESCHEDULED OLYMPICS NEXT YEAR) "I think the rules are the rules.

In legal terms, it's ex post facto, you can't increase a penalty or change the law after someone has committed the violation.

So, I think it's pretty straightforward.

It's an unfortunate outcome but look, there's a ton of upside, right - we will have a Russian decision or we should.

It literally takes the excuse away from WADA and the IOC, that the CAS decision isn't final.

So, we've got an extension of however many months it is, to get a final decision on Russia.

It also gives us time to make up for any reduced testing period or dead period that happens right now, so while it's a little bit of an issue, I think it's pretty clear what the outcome is, and overall, it's not that worrisome given the upside with the other benefits of the postponement." SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (FILE - FEBRUARY 3, 2018) (IOC VNR - ACCESS ALL) 10.

VARIOUS OF TEST TUBE BLOOD SAMPLE BEING TESTED IN WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) ANTI-DOPING LAB 11.

KOREAN LAB TECHNICIANS ORGANISING SAMPLES NEAR STORAGE FRIDGES 12.

LAB TECHNICIAN SCANNING URINE SAMPLES 13.

URINE SAMPLES BEING TESTED BY MACHINE 14.

TECHNICIAN WORKING ON COMPUTER IN WADA ANTI DOPING LABORATORY 15.

MACHINES AT WORK 16.

LAB TECHNICIAN TESTING SAMPLES STORY: The one-year postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics could make it one of the cleanest Games ever, according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart.

Tygart told Reuters on Wednesday (March 25) that the postponement gives the opportunity for the anti-doping community to be able to carry out all their tests if given six months before the rescheduled Games begin.

Should the coronavirus pandemic not disrupt their testing regime for too long, Tygart was optimistic that the anti-doping community could carry out all the testing needed to ensure the Games could be as clean as possible.

It also gives the Court of Arbitration for Sport the time to decide on Russia's appeal against a four-year ban from the Olympics and other major sporting events.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) last December barred Russians from competing under their country's flag at major international events, including the Tokyo Olympics, after it found that Moscow had provided it with doctored laboratory data.

Tygart said it was a positive that there would now definitely be a resolution to this case instead of it possibly hanging over Tokyo 2020 had the Games gone ahead as scheduled this July.

Tygart likened it to last year's Swimming World Championships when Chinese swimmer Sun Yang won two gold medals despite being in the middle of an appeal process for a doping ban.

Other swimmers refused to stand on the podium with him and Sun was subsequently banned for eight years for a dope-test violation.

The fact a similar scenario in Tokyo can now be avoided is only a good thing according to the head of USADA.

However, Tygart did acknowledge that if the pandemic goes on for too long there is a danger that some athletes would take advantage of there being less out-of-competition testing by doping during their training in the coming months.

What is more the postponement would open the door for athletes currently serving doping bans to compete at the rescheduled Olympics should they be able to qualify.

Currently, there is no exception for extending an anti-doping sanction for postponed events if the athlete or coach has served their ban when the competition takes place.

There are now new questions that some athletes, whose bans prevented them from competing in the Tokyo Olympics, will have the opportunity to do so due to the change in dates.

If an athlete has served his or her ban and is denied a chance to qualify for an Olympic spot it is almost certain that such a ruling could be challenged in court.

With no precedent, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may have to consider a structure like that used by Major League Baseball, where a player suspended during the season for a performance-enhancing drug violation is not eligible for that year's post-season.

For Tygart the rules are clear and he said that athletes who are currently serving bans shouldn't be penalised for a pandemic postponing various competitions.

WADA will implement an updated Code in January 2021 but told Reuters that even under new rules there are no provisions to prevent a banned athlete from participating at the Tokyo Games next year if they have completed their suspension.

(Production: Tim Hart)

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