Home China Cheating Chinese Athletes Could Wreck Paris Olympics, Says US Anti-Doping Chief

Cheating Chinese Athletes Could Wreck Paris Olympics, Says US Anti-Doping Chief

Paris Olympics
Banners which read "Marseille proud to welcome the Olympic flame" are displayed on the Marseille town hall at the Vieux-Port (Old Port) on the eve of the arrival of a three-masted ship called "Belem" which carries the Olympic flame for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, in Marseille, France, May 7, 2024. REUTERS/Manon Cruz

The head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Travis Tygart has claimed that China could put the Paris Olympics in jeopardy due to cheating.

The warning comes after an investigation by the New York Times and the German broadcaster ARD that was carried out last month.

The results of the investigation, which were released in both media publications, showed that 23 Chinese swimmers had tested positive for banned drugs just before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. But the swimmers were cleared by the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) and this was accepted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which allowed the athletes to compete.

Tygart claimed in an interview with Politico that WADA is biased towards Chinese athletes. Speaking in the interview, he claimed that WADA remained biased towards Chinese athletes and “swept [the case] under the carpet.”

“Because of the cover-up that happened by China, and WADA allowing it, now that it’s come to light it’s going to be a train wreck waiting to happen going into Paris,” he stated.

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Asked as to why WADA would take such a lenient stance towards China he said that Beijing  was an “incredibly important country to the Olympic Movement.”

“The IOC has cozied up to China in a really big way. And that means WADA is thinking twice about the ramifications of enforcing the rules fairly. And it’s chosen [in] this case not to do so,” he claimed.

Tygart also said that the Chinese cases were more troubling than that of Russia’s – Russian athletes were accused of cheating in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi – because they had highlighted the failure of the system to catch and punish athletes that were doping.

WADA rebuffed the claims made by the NYT and ARD, calling their investigation “misleading and potentially defamatory.” It said that USADA had “repeatedly” approached WADA with allegations of doping cover-ups, but the agency found the allegations “unsubstantiated.” The China Anti-Doping Agency (CHINADA) said recent media reports about the cases were “misleading,” according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

(With inputs from Reuters and other agencies)