Beckie Scott’s parting words to WADA: put athletes first

The chair of WADA's athlete committee, on concluding her five-year term, called for "integrity, transparency and accountability" by the new leadership

November 7th, 2019 by | Posted in The Scene | Tags: , ,

Outgoing WADA athlete committee chair Beckie Scott of Alberta, who won an Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, ended her five-year term today at the WADA World Conference in Poland. Her parting words to the organization were a call for “integrity, transparency and accountability” going forward. WADA elected Witold Banka of Poland as its new president, replacing Sir Craig Reedie, who will step down at the end of this year. Banka is currently Poland’s minister of sport.

RELATED: Beckie Scott says she experienced “inappropriate, disrespectful, and belittling” comments by some of WADA’s executive committee

Scott claimed she became a target for bullying by members of WADA’s executive committee upon resigning from the Compliance Review Committee in the wake of the decision to re-instate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) before it had fulfilled all the conditions for re-instatement.

“My hope and my wish for you as a governing body as you move on to new leadership and go forward is that decisions will be taken with integrity, transparency and accountability as a priority,” Scott said in an address to the WADA Foundation Board in Katowice, Poland today. She also said that listening to athletes’ concerns should take precedence over the business of sport. WADA vice president Linda Helleland of Norway, who was also critical of the decision to re-instate RUSADA, apologized to Scott on behalf of the organization for the treatment she received, even though the allegations of bullying were dismissed after an investigation in May.

RELATED: Mary Cain tells NY Times of abuse by Salazar & NOP

Scott’s comments came on the same day that retired American runner Mary Cain went public with allegations of bullying and abuse at the hands of Alberto Salazar, former coach of the now-defunct Nike Oregon Project, who is serving a four-year ban for doping violations.

Scott’s final piece of business as chair was to steer the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights Act to completion. The act re-states rights already ratified in the World Anti-Doping Code (such as the right to fair drug-testing programs, data protection and confidentiality for whistleblowers, among others) as well as adding rights not previously expressed in the Code, such as the right to corruption-free sport, the right to a voice in setting anti-doping rules, and affordable legal representation. The act received approval yesterday.

Replacing Scott as chair of the athlete committee is skeleton rider Ben Sandford of New Zealand.