Michael Phelps Testifies Before Congress


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On February 27th, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps testified during a house hearing on doping in sports. The hearing was conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Phelps delivered three pages of testimony.
Here are some highlights from his portion of the hearing:
“[Rio was] unique because of increased doping concerns. In the year leading up to the Games, there was uncertainty and suspicion; I, along with a number of other athletes, signed a petition requesting that all athletes be tested in the months prior to the Games. Unfortunately, the uncertainty remained…

Throughout my career, I have suspected that some athletes were cheating, and in some cases those suspicions were confirmed. Given all the testing I, and so many others, have been through I have a hard time understanding this. In addition to all the tests during competitions, I had to notify USADA as to where I would be every day, so they would be able to conduct random tests outside of competition. This whole process takes a toll, but it’s absolutely worth it to keep sport clean and fair. I can’t adequately describe how frustrating it is to see another athlete break through performance barriers in unrealistic timeframes, knowing what I had to go through to do it. I watched how this affected my teammates too. Even the suspicion of doping is disillusioning for clean athletes. To believe in yourself through sport, you need to be able to believe in the system that safeguards clean sport and fair play…

Now that I’m retired, I’m frequently asked if I think anyone will win more medals than me in my lifetime. My answer to that question is I hope so. I’d like to think that there’s some boy or girl somewhere now, with an even bigger dream, and even stronger drive to work even harder than I did to do something that’s never been done before. But for that to happen, he must believe he or she will get a fair opportunity to compete. If we allow our confidence in fair play to erode, we will undermine the power of sport, and the goals and dreams of future generations.”
It’s been a long year for anti-doping agencies, who’ve had their fill of controversy and failed tests. To recap some of the recent stories, check out our sections on “doping” and “WADA” (the World Anti-Doping Agency).
[Photo via Flickr user Agência Brasil Fotografias]