After Assault On ADAMS, Is Transparency Too Opaque On Therapeutic Use Exemptions?

Editorial: Pro-Russia hacking into the Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS) of the World Anti-Doping Agency – the place where the confidential profiles of athletes are kept – comes with a loaded agenda, one that seeks to normalise the abnormal. Even so, the illegal breaking of confidence has prompted debate about the TUE system and the strength of checks and balances. Details of the system and association assurances about ADAMS has not filtered through to leading coaches in swimming – how can that be – and what can de done about it?

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Pavel Buyanov

Just one question. How do you know these were Russians? Was that proved anywhere or did they took responsibility? How do you claim thing like that? I used to respect this site much more before you got deep into politics. Very unfortunate.

Craig Lord

Pavel, I used to respect swimming governance much more before they got still deeper into politics by awarding the leaders of Russia, Qatar and elsewhere their ‘highest honour’ based not so much on contribution as the pure money and power in it all – very unwise. The consequence was on the wall. We report what happens in swimming – and not just in the water but on the environment, one long poisoned by politics and doping: to ignore such things would be to fall down on the job, in my view. As for the source of the hacking, I note two things:
1. there is official comment out there on the fact that those investigating believe the source to be Russian – that is being investigated. I note ‘pro-Russia’ and feel comfortable doing so at this stage. I have added (and noted that) a section to the article “Source of the Hacking”.
2. in three tranches of ‘revelations’, no Russian athletes. There will, of course, be a fair number of Russians with TUEs and AAF and several swimmers with at least two no-shows to their names. Lets see if Fancy Bears tells us all about them.
I note one last thing: you criticise this site; you offer no criticism of the hacking and the revealing of private medical details of athletes who informed their coaches and the system about their medical conditions and what medication they are taking – and in what dosages. You offer no word of comfort for those athletes. I look forward to your criticism of Yuliya Efimova, who was found to have DHEA and meldonium in her body by testers on separate occasions – and her coach was never informed; had no idea until she tested positive. That is a part of that environment we report on. It is legitimate and important to do so – far more important and consistent and neutral than the hacking you’ve failed to criticise while making the effort to criticise us.

Pavel Buyanov

I’m not supporting the hacking and, even if Russians were behind it, it was very unwise to try to prove yourself by blaming other people.

In my previous message I was not agreeing with hacking. I don’t understand why you are blaming reasons by default. You are saying there were no Russian athletes? Yes there were! Misha Aloyan, Rio silver medalist(just an example).

The problem with TUE in Ruassian is that athletes don’t use this privilege much. And the reason is not because they are so healthy or honest. The reason is in not knowing the laws.

About Yulia. We know she didn’t take DHEA on purpose. Was she careful enough? No. Did she take steroids on purpose to swim faster? No. Did she surve her ban for making that stupid mistake? Yes.

The meldonium case I’m not even discussing cause there was no case. Not only she didn’t take after it Jan 1. Also meldonium as a substance cannot be considered doping just because it is very similar to l-carnitine. But I’m not saying taking it is right. It is on the list so it is doping.

Conclusion. I’m not defending dopers be it Russians, Americans or whoever. I’m also not saying there are no problems with doping in Russia. But there are problems with it in other countries as well. And this TUE system is part of them. WADA and FINA and other governing bodies are not doing what there were supposed to be doing. Or at least not doing it the right ways. And that is the biggest problem.

Bad Anon

Pavel Buyanov;
Ignorance is not a defence in violating any law… In professional sport; the WADA code is available to all athletes. if Efimova was ignorant of the law that in itself is a lack of professionalism the rest is history…. What the hacking reveals is that TUE is widespread and several athletes have ailments of sorts… Sun Yang’s case I believe was a missed opportunity to apply for TUE and he got a beating for that… There will always be justification for the likes of Biles, SMOC, Williams sisters etc because they followed the rules unlike Efimova and Sun who by definition are doping offenders ( for violation of regulations)

Craig Lord

Pavel, neither you nor we know anything of the kind. A panel took her word but did not take into account the full evidence; that much is very clear. The history of cheating is full of people who said ‘I didn’t mean to’. And that is indeed the case sometimes – but far from always. I have a serious issue with the swimmer in question: she worked in a program that said ‘no supplements and if you do, let us know’. Why then, would the swimmer not have done so on two occasions we know of? That makes no sense (and the meldonium positives were just that, regardless of whether there was a case to answer or not – this was something the swimmer took without the knowledge of a coach who says he sends a clear message to his team). As Bad Anon says, ignorance is no defence (and that if indeed we are looking at total ignorance – a hefty assumption, it seems to me). In general, yes, doping issues are global – and I have argued nothing else for the past 25 and more years. Russia’s issues stand out as particular and that requires particular treatment; just as China’s issues were (and remain) particular and needed (need) particular treatment.

Craig Lord

Indeed, Bad Anon. One important thing to note: many substances do not have a TUE possibility attached to them… they are simply banned. Full stop.


What I want to know is when and how long these swimmers took those drugs under TUE.


Athletes like Sharipova and Morozov spent years and years living in the United States where their coaches and mentors would have walked them through the process of ‘so you’ve got asthma- here’s the TUE paperwork you need to get filled out every year for your inhaler’.

And yet Sharipova, despite the years at a US tennis academy still lied by omission in 2015 on her testing paperwork by failing to disclose the meldonium that was legal for use at the time, even though she was instructed to state all medications including birth control pills and other substances allowed under current WADA code.

Craig Lord

The forms sometimes specify that, aswimfan – dosages and length of time.

Craig Lord

Indeed, beachmouse. It is a question of trust – and the cases in which that has been broken stand out for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

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