Travis Tygart, the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), speaks out in WADA’s latest video about the reasons athletes dope and the importance of whistleblowers in stopping corruption.
Tygart was a driving force behind exposing the doping program in cycling involving Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Service team. He’s been the CEO of USADA since 2007 and has been with the agency since the early 2000s. He appears in the latest installment in WADA’s “WADA Talks” series, which interviews various major players in the anti-doping world for insight into the world of doping, doping prevention and the push for fairness within sport.
In the video, which you can view above, courtesy of WADA on YouTube, Tygart reflects on his experience as a coach at the high school level, noting that even there, he saw the pressure from parents, coaches and sports organizations pushing athletes towards performance-enhancing drugs. Tygart says combating doping at that early stage relies on properly defining “winning” for young athletes. “Winning is not a victory, podium position, medal or yellow jersey by fraud,” he says. “It is doing it the right way, and having great pride and satisfaction in knowing that you were the best athlete that day and that you did it the right way, by the rules.”
Tygart also stresses the importance of whistleblowers in exposing institutional doping systems. That’s one of the focuses of recent recommendations to WADA from a number of national anti-doping institutions. Those recommendations will be considered by WADA itself in a board meeting next week.