IOC celebrates Play True Day in commitment to clean sport

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today joins the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the celebration of Play True Day, and encourages the Olympic Movement to promote clean sport.

Play true day

Since 2014, Play True Day has been celebrated every year in April by WADA and the anti-doping community worldwide. The day aims to raise awareness among athletes, the sporting public and stakeholders about the importance of protecting clean sport.

The IOC joined WADA in encouraging athletes to take part in the #PlayTrueDay social media campaign and make their own Play True Pledge on their handles. Athletes, but also National and Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, Sports Federations, governments, Major Event Organisers (MEOs) and other anti-doping stakeholders from around the world have been invited to answer the question: “What does Play True mean to you?”, which is this year’s theme of the day.

Protecting clean athletes

The Olympic Movement spends USD 260 million during an Olympiad to fight doping, with USD 136 million coming from the IOC.

To protect clean athletes, the IOC has implemented several programmes and initiatives, such as a comprehensive pre-Games testing programme, a long-term programme to extend the storage of pre-Games samples to 10 years, and the reanalysis of samples from past Games.

Rooted in Olympic Agenda 2020 calling for the protection of clean athletes, the IOC made the proposal to make anti-doping independent from sports organisations. This led to the creation of the International Testing Agency (ITA), launched to provide doping control services to International Federations (IFs) and MEOs.

In January 2018, the IOC provided a USD 30 million fund to officially establish the ITA as an independent, not-for-profit foundation under Swiss law; and the ITA held its first Foundation Board meeting the same month.

This fund was part of a USD 60 million investment from the IOC to protect clean athletes, as a consequence of Olympic Agenda 2020.

This also includes support for research, intelligence and investigation, and projects offering new scientific approaches to anti-doping, as well as long-term storage for reanalysis.

Extensive pre-Games anti-doping programme for Tokyo

With little more than 100 days to go to Tokyo 2020, the IOC wants to reaffirm the importance of the fight against doping, and is working closely with WADA and the ITA to allow athletes to compete in a fair and safe environment in Tokyo.

The most extensive pre-Games anti-doping programme in the history of the Olympic Games is being implemented for Tokyo 2020. The strength of the programme lies in the fact that the testing assessment period started one year before the Games, allowing those conducting the testing to take into account a much wider pool of athletes likely to qualify. The IOC’s testing jurisdiction for the Olympic Games has also been extended to allow the ITA to conduct out-of-competition tests two months prior to the start of the Games, hence filling any testing gaps should athletes not be properly tested by the relevant organisation (National Anti-Doping Organisation or IF).

In addition to providing assistance for the anti-doping programme that will be coordinated by the ITA during the Games, WADA is also ensuring that the accredited laboratory in Tokyo will be prepared for the challenge that awaits it. As in the past, a WADA Independent Observer Programme will be organised in Tokyo to monitor the anti-doping activities at the Games in order to ensure the most effective anti-doping programme is delivered.

Anti-doping e-learning platform

The collaboration between the IOC, WADA and ITA has also led to the creation of interactive education courses available on the Anti-Doping Education and Learning Platform (ADEL).

Last year, on the occasion of the One Year to Go to Tokyo 2020, a new course, entitled “ADeL for Tokyo 2020 Olympics”, was launched for athletes and coaches aiming to attend the Olympic Games for them to gain an understanding of the Tokyo 2020 anti-doping rules, procedures and requirements.

WADA and the IOC had previously launched the “ADeL for Medical Professionals at Major Games”course, which is a mandatory requirement for all medical professionals attending the Games.

Anti-doping testing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the anti-doping system, WADA has kept full oversight of testing activities.

With the input of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Agency has created guidelines to assist the anti-doping community and allow for sample collection that protects the health and safety of athletes, sample-collection personnel and others involved in the doping-control process.

With regard to COVID-19 vaccines, WADA clarified its positioning on 11 December 2020. The agency is highly recommending them, and they are not known to contain any Substance or Method on the Prohibited List or to interfere with anti-doping analysis. WADA continues to closely monitor the situation, and has committed to communicating to the broadest possible audience should this opinion change.

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