Hackers this week have released data on athletes, from Olympic stars to elite cyclists, and more are coming.
For clarity purposes, WADA stands for the World Anti-Doping Association. TUE stands for Therapuetic Use Exemption, which means an athlete has filed the proper paperwork with a doctor, to get to use a certain substance, which meets a personal need they have, such as asthma, where an inhaler might be needed. TUE's are the official approval of WADA for the athlete to use the substance, for a given time and for a given need only.
These WADA leaks about prominent athletes having TUE's, is simply a smear campaign. Filing for a TUE, and having it granted is NOT cheating or doping. It is actually playing by the rules and being honest and open about your individual needs and conditions. Now, is this TUE policy being abused? Absolutely, by some I have no doubt. But a TUE is not proof of cheating, in fact, it is the opposite, these athletes are following the rules and being honest about what they're taking. (If you don't like TUE's, well that's another argument in itself. Although, I would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't take some type of medicine if their doctor prescribed it to them, and it was a serious ailment for their daily living and career).
WADA is a world governing body, not a national, so these athletes aren't being sheltered or protected by their national governing bodies from the rest of the world. This is the authority.
Is there corruption within WADA? I believe at times, yes. Is there abuse of the system to gain an edge? Certainly. I've written on this blog about athletes and coaches who do that, specifically. I am not a fan of this, and certainly think the number of TUE's which can be granted to an athlete should be limited. Maybe the TUE's length of time it is granted needs to be discussed or debated, but in the end, we do rely on an honor system to a degree.
Now, if this hack and leak begins to expose positive tests which WADA has swept under the rug, that is an entirely different story, and all bets are off. However, testing positive for a substance which you have a TUE filed for and is current, is not against the rules, and isn't hiding a positive test, or sweeping it under the rug.
So before you read headlines and make quick judgements on athletes, be sure to understand the system, and read the facts.