Anti-Doping: Support and protect clean athletes!

Doping is cheating. Cheating your sport, your opponents, the rules, your entourage and your fans, but especially yourself. Competing “clean” is essential: to preserve sport from this evil, to preserve your image and reputation, but above all to preserve your health. Your integrity is at stake, and you must be able to be proud of your performances.

The fight against doping is one of the main priorities for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which works closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). WADA itself supervises each National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), which ensures that regular testing is performed in its respective country.

Unfortunately, no sport is unaffected by doping. It is therefore your responsibility to protect your sport and yourself by complying with the World Anti-Doping Code. It is also important to remember that, as an athlete, you have both rights and obligations, and that there are many pitfalls to be avoided. To find out more, look at the questions below…

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… that you may have to undergo in-competition and out-of-competition testing?

Your choice to take part in high-level competition results in a number of obligations, some of which can be burdensome. For example, you can be subject to a doping test at any time. So if you are competing, at school, training, taking an exam or out with friends, the tester will follow you until you are able to give the necessary amount of urine or blood; but you cannot postpone a doping test.

… that it is your job to make sure that your body contains no prohibited substances?

You alone are responsible for anything found in your body. You are responsible for making sure that what you take in (medication, food supplements or any other substance) is not contaminated by prohibited substances. Neither your doctor, nor your coach, nor even the maker of your favourite cereal bars can be held responsible. Your future and your reputation are entirely in your own hands.

… that you have rights during the doping test?

You have obligations, but you also have rights. This means that a female athlete must always be accompanied by a woman during the test, and a male athlete by a man. Minors have the right to choose an adult representative to accompany them. Another example is that you have the right to choose the bottles which will contain your urine. You are also entitled to take as long as you need to produce your urine or blood. Find out more about your rights and obligations here.

… that there as such things as Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE)?

– Sometimes, illnesses or injuries can be treated only with drugs that contain prohibited substances. It’s possible to obtain a TUE, which will allow the athlete to have treatment. These are highly specific cases which have to be validated by a specialist doctor and approved by a panel of experts. Take a look at this to find out more.

… that you have the right to refuse to take a drug?

It’s not because the people close to you tell you to take medication that you have to do so. If you are in any doubt, check with your NADO or simply decide not to take it. It’s easy to make a stupid mistake, even with something like nose drops, and it may have consequences for your career.

… that it’s your responsibility to check whether the drug prescribed to you is on the list of prohibited substances?

To do this, go to your NADO’s website. Normally, you will find a hotline or an app which will allow you to check if the medication is permitted or not. You can find the list of NADOs here.

You can also find a form here which will enable you to report any doping-related problem. Don’t worry: your message will be kept confidential and your name will not be revealed against your wishes.

… that you must always explain that you’re an elite athlete when you go to the doctor or to hospital?

It is up to you to warn the healthcare staff that you are subject to doping controls. Nobody can be expected to guess that!

… that doping damages your body?

Don’t think for a moment that taking a substance to boost your performance will not have any long-term effects on your body. There are many potential dangers, such as heart attacks, memory loss and vomiting. Check out more of the dangers here…

… that there are several types/methods of doping?

Indeed, it is not only the presence of a prohibited substance in your body which is punishable, but also using a prohibited method (like a blood transfusion), missing or refusing a test, forgetting to complete the whereabouts forms, involvement in a doping case, falsifying documents linked to a doping case, possessing prohibited substances, trafficking or administering certain substances or being treated by a medical team suspended because of their doping involvement.

… that, a malicious person in your entourage involved in a doping case can also be punished?

Although it is entirely the athlete’s responsibility not to dope, their entourage members (doctor, physio, parents, coach, manager, etc.) are also liable if it is proved that they were involved in what took place. In the past, only the athlete could be punished.

… that food supplements (and not just those bought via the internet) can contain prohibited substances?

The makers and suppliers of food supplements are not subject to regulations or antidoping rules, so you can never be certain what you are taking. Even if the supplement is natural it may contain traces of other products.

… that ADAMS is the global anti-doping administration and management system?

This system allows all the NADOs to work together and be more efficient. When you reach a certain level, your federation will ask you to announce your location and activities using ADAMS. This will help them to arrange testing between and during competitions. Find out more here…


Test your knowledge here with the Youth Quiz.

The dangers of doping

Learn more about the dangers of doping.

Play True

Test your ability to take decisions on doping with Play True

How doping samples are analysed

Find out more about how doping samples are analysed.

World Anti-Doping Code

Take a look at the World Anti-Doping Code.