Beckie Scott is the first North American to win Olympic gold in cross-country skiing. A member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission from 2006 to 2014, Beckie Scott continues to be a voice for the athletes, as the Chairwoman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s Athletes’ Committee.
At the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Scott crossed the finish line in the 10km pursuit in the bronze medal position. When the two skiers ahead of her failed doping tests at those Games, Scott pursued a two-year process that saw her awarded the silver, then the gold.
Four years later in Turin, Beckie added Olympic silver to her collection, in the team sprint competition.
Last month, the WADA Athletes Committee met in Beckie’s hometown of Canmore, Canada. We caught up with Beckie about being a strong advocate for drug-free sport.
What is the role of the WADA Athletes’ Committee?
Quite simply, we are the voice of the clean athletes. We have a wide variety of sports from all over the world represented, including Paralympic sport; and we meet regularly to review, discuss and debate the most urgent and important issues facing clean athletes. We then bring those issues forward to our policy- and decision-makers, and ensure they are heard.
Why did you want to be a voice for the athletes in ensuring clean sport?
I think that clean athletes are the most important stakeholders in the sports movement, and that their voice is one that must be heard at all times. For me personally, it is a matter of values and ethics. I believe in the importance of sport and what it can do for society, for youth, but it has to be done fairly and ethically. Sport that is conducted with integrity and honesty is worth protecting, worth fighting for. And we need to continue to do that.
How is WADA educating athletes and their entourages?
WADA has a very comprehensive education department and programme dedicated to this important aspect of the movement. The education focuses not only on athletes, but also on coaches, support staff, administrators, etc. It is well known and widely recognised that athletes rarely, if ever, act alone; and the focus on the athletes’ entourage has widened considerably.
You have two young kids. As a parent, would you encourage them to pursue sport to the Olympic level? How do you teach your children the Olympic values and the virtues of competing clean?
This is a very good question and one I spend a lot of time thinking about, as I do want both our children to experience the “good” side of sport. I still think that sport is an incredible mechanism for teaching values and life-skills, and I see how much they enjoy it already at a young age. If they choose to pursue sport at a high level, if that’s what they want and where they find their passion, then I will support that. But I really believe it has to be their choice and their pursuit, not mine. If they come away from sport wanting to be active and healthy, I will be just as happy.