Olympic champion Edwin Moses sent a tersely worded letter to leaders of the World Anti-Doping Agency, asking for an investigation into the culture at WADA that would expand beyond athletes’ representative Beckie Scott’s claim that she was bullied at a recent meeting.
The Associated Press obtained the letter that Moses, who serves as chair of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, emailed to WADA president Craig Reedie and director general Olivier Niggli as they prepared for their executive meetings Wednesday in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Moses is asking for an independent investigation into whether “WADA management has fostered and facilitated an open environment where the best interests of clean sport and the wellbeing of athletes may be freely discussed.”
Scott described being bullied at a WADA meeting in September at which executives reinstated the suspended Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). Scott had resigned from the committee that initially approved the recommendation against her wishes.
WADA officials did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment from AP.
They are reviewing what happened at the September meeting, but Moses said such a narrow review will not get to the heart of what he describes as culture problems inside WADA “that have not been limited to the singular event of September 20, 2018.”
In another letter sent to Reedie, this one by American runner Emma Coburn and Swedish biathlete Sebastian Samuelsson, the athletes challenge WADA to back its claim that RUSADA’s reinstatement will lead to more Russian doping sanctions. WADA’s key argument for reinstating the agency is that it will give officials access to testing data that can be used to corroborate suspected violations.
WADA has set a deadline of Dec. 31 for Russian authorities to turn over the data.
“We know that many cheating athletes are, and have been, competing on the world stage even (though) they were part of the Russian doping program, and that WADA is doing little to remedy that,” the athletes write. “Can you tell us, the global athlete community, that the decision to render Russia compliant will lead to these people being dealt with appropriately, and if not, why not?”
Despite resigning from the compliance review panel after RUSADA’s reinstatement, Scott remains chair of WADA’s athletes’ committee. Hers has stood out as one of the most forceful voices in favor of WADA taking a harder line against Russia since revelations of the doping scandal inside the country that tainted the Sochi Olympics.
“In short, the world realized that if a person of this unchallengeable integrity and character could feel bullied, belittled, disrespected and marginalized,” Moses wrote of Scott, “that something is potentially seriously amiss with the way business at WADA is being conducted.”
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