The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has spent an inordinate amount of time and money in recent years investigating and pursuing foreign athletes suspected of using anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Its obsession with doping that takes place outside of the United States has not gone unnoticed by other countries.
Mikhail Degtyarev, the Chairman of the Russia State Duma Committee on Sports, responded to recent public statements critical of Russia by USADA CEO Travis Tygart. Under Tygart’s leadership, USADA has aggressively used its influence to target Russian athletes and organizations for anti-doping investigations.
Degtyarev characterized USADA’s pursuit of Russian athletes as merely a ruse to divert attention from the rampant steroid use by U.S. athletes.
“Looking at the unnatural muscles of U.S. athletes one can tell that the comments of the CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency are nothing but an attempt to divert attention from the United States’ own doping issues as well as a means to put pressure on WADA and the International Olympic Committee,” Degtyarev said.
USADA receives the overwhelming majority of its less than $20 million budget from the American taxpayers. USADA presumably exists to fight steroid use by American athletes. Unfortunately, USADA seems more inclined to presume American athletes are the “clean athletes” who need protecting from the “dirty athletes” living in other countries around the world.
Tygart has been unrelenting in USADA’s efforts to penalize Russian athletes ever since the 2016 WADA Independent McLaren Investigation Report (“The McLaren Report”) accused Russia of running a state-sponsored doping program.
USADA has also aggressively lobbied U.S. legislators to pass the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act (RADA). RADA would give the United States government, and its unlimited resources, the legal authority to prosecute foreign citizens who are caught using anabolic steroids and/or other doping substances at international sports competition.
The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act specifically calls for the prosecution of foreign athletes and foreign officials who have “cheated U.S. athletes out of Olympic glory and U.S. corporations out of honest sponsorship.”
Is it any wonder the USADA has lost its credibility due to the perception it is more interested in protecting “clean athletes” (Americans) against “dirty athletes” (Russians)?
The more time and money USADA spends targeting foreign athletes, the less likely USADA will catch steroid users in the United States.