Michael Fred Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, will be among five people testifying about anti-doping next week before a Congressional sub-committee.

Phelps will be speaking out on behalf of anti-doping efforts again. Phelps saw fit to comment at the Olympic Games in Rio after his U.S. teammate Lilly King beat out Yulia Efimova of Russia for gold in the women’s 100 breast after Yulia had twice been suspended for doping. Phelps then had remarked that it is sad that today in sports in general, not just only swimming, there are people who are testing positive who are allowed back in the sport, and multiple times. The US swimmer had also commented that he believes sport should be clean and sport should be on an even playing field.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that is a part of part of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing, “Ways to Improve and Strengthen the Anti-Doping System.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.)

The list of others to testify include Richard Budgett, medical and scientific director for the International Olympic Committee; Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency; Adam Nelson, American shot putter and Olympic gold medalist; and Rob Koehler, deputy director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Tygart remarked we always welcome the opportunity to highlight the importance of rights of clean athletes to a safe, healthy and fair playing field.

Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said in a joint statement that the Olympic Games for centuries have been a source of inspiration and pride, bringing nations and cultures together in the spirit of competition. The statement further reads however in recent years the specter of doping has reemerged, tarnishing the image of the games and raising new questions about the fairness of international sport and added that the hearing this week will mark an important conversation with some key players to examine the international anti-doping system and identify ways we can strengthen it to ensure clean, competitive sport.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce in a letter sent to the IOC in July in advance of the Rio Olympics noted that strides are required to be made for eradicating doping in sport. The letter also noted that “major challenges remain” that include delayed response to allegations by whistleblowers of state-sponsored doping and conflicts of interest in the governance of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The committee wrote the purpose of WADA and the confidence placed in it by clean athletes and their supporters around the world could be seriously undermined if these and other concerns are not effectively addressed.

According to a financial document, the United States government is expected to contribute $2,155,051 to WADA’s annual budget in 2017. The contribution is the most of any individual country, with Japan and Canada as the only other countries to contribute more than $1 million. The International Olympic Committee is expected to match the $14,862,420 provided by governments worldwide.

 

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