WADA Faces Scrutiny from U.S. Lawmakers Over Clearance of Chinese Swimmers

WADA stands by decision to clear Chinese swimmers (World Anti-Doping Agency)

The bipartisan group of U.S. senators, led by Marsha Blackburn, John Hickenlooper, and Richard Blumenthal, sent a letter to the leader of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) expressing concerns and seeking answers regarding the case involving 23 Chinese swimmers who were cleared to compete at the Tokyo Olympics despite testing positive for a banned drug.

Their letter follows a similar request from a bipartisan group in the House, addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, seeking a briefing on federal investigators’ knowledge of the case.

Chinese swimmers (World Anti-Doping Agency)

The senators criticized WADA’s handling of the situation, citing concerns about questionable ethical behavior and the agency’s decision to accept China’s explanation for the positives without further investigation.

They emphasized the broader legal, ethical, and competitive implications of the case, suggesting it may be part of a state-sponsored strategy by China to unfairly compete at the Olympic Games.

The lawmakers also raised questions about China’s financial contributions to WADA programs and potential conflicts of interest, including the agency’s sponsorship deal with a Chinese-based sports products company.

While acknowledging WADA’s appointment of a Swiss prosecutor to investigate the case, the senators stressed the need for broader accountability and transparency, calling for a wider probe and full disclosure of case file notes.

Their letter underscores the importance of trust and accountability in the global anti-doping system and emphasizes the necessity for WADA to regain the international community’s trust in order to effectively carry out its mission.