Television news anchor Sam Brock recently interviewed former BALCO mastermind Victor Conte during a news segment called “Reality Check” for NBC Bay Area News (KNTV) on March 31, 2016. Brock wanted to know about steroid use and drug testing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) want everyone to believe that they have actually made a significant impact in the war on doping. But Conte thinks it’s little more than an illusion boosted by anti-doping propaganda.
“I’ve said this before, the Olympic Games is a fraud,” Conte said. “It’s promoted as a fair competition among the nations of the world. What’s fair about these rules when it enables, harbors and promotes the use of drugs?”
WADA has been around for over 15 years. It is responsible for establishing and maintaining the World Anti-Doping Code to dictate which performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are prohibited and the appropriate penalties for anti-doping violations. However, WADA has been powerless to catch most PED users. Since its inception, it has only detected PEDs in less than 1% of the samples tested annually.
“These athletes simply do what they have to do in order to be competitive,” Conte said. “And I don’t want to say that everybody’s doing it, because I don’t believe that, but I think it’s the overwhelming majority.”
Conte knows how easy it is for athletes to avoid detections. He is known for saying it is like “taking candy from a baby”. And Conte has first hand experience foiling the anti-doping crusaders.
“I’m one of the few that’s been on both sides,” Conte said. “I understand the way it works. Put it this way, for four years I was tap-dancing on the forehead of USADA, WADA, and everybody else, and no one got a positive test.”
Even Travis Tygart, the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), is critical of WADA.
USADA may only be one of the hundreds of national anti-doping organizations and sports federation that operate under the WADA Code. But Tygart, whose self-righteousness knows no bounds, is not above second-guessing the ability of WADA to stop doping at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“As an anti-doping community, we’re at a defining moment for the effort,” said Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). “And whether WADA, who is the global watchdog, is going to relegate itself to just another toothless bureaucracy or are we actually gonna fight this battle for clean athletes to win it — that’s the question before us right now. And we have to show leadership and give confidence to the clean athletes of the world that their decision to do it the right way is going to be validated.”
Tygart will likely be pleased because WADA has been following the same propaganda strategy mastered by USADA.
A few years ago, Tygart recognized that USADA had been failing miserably at fighting doping in sports so he decided to target USADA’s resources to go after a single athlete – Lance Armstrong – and make that athlete the scapegoat for the entire sport of cycling. Rather that emphasize that Armstrong was doing the same thing as everyone else, USADA suggested Armstrong was the primary blight on the sport. By going after Armstrong, USADA created the public perception that it had cleaned up cycling.
Now, WADA is taking the same strategy to another level. However, instead of scapegoating a single athlete to create the public perception that it has succeeded in cleaning up a single sport, WADA has decided to scapegoat an entire country to convince everyone that it has put a stop to doping in the entire Olympics in Rio.
WADA seems to hope that kicking all Russian athletes out of the Olympics will create favorable public relations for its stated anti-doping mission. If WADA creates the perception that its anti-doping policies are making a difference, then that is all that matters.
WADA and USADA have little incentive to reveal the real truth about the extent of doping (and their powerlessness to stop it) in the Olympics. Conte comes across as much more credible on this topic. The Olympics is all about doping to enhance performance without getting caught. When Conte says the “overwhelming majority” of Olympic athletes will be using PEDs at the 2016 Rio Olympics, we tend to believe it.