Olympic legend Dara Torres says anti-doping agency ‘completely failed athletes’

July 11, 2024
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American Olympic legend Dara Torres agreed with the criticism levied at the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) as a scandal broke out just a few months before the 2024 Paris Games.

It was revealed in the spring that 23 Chinese swimmers tested positive for a banned heart medication before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and were still allowed by WADA to compete. Five of the swimmers went on to win medals, including two gold. Eleven of the swimmers who tested positive ahead of Tokyo are set to compete later this summer in Paris.

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Dara Torres in Beijing 2008

Dara Torres competes in the women’s 50-meter freestyle swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 17, 2008. (TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Decorated American swimmers Michael Phelps and Allison Schmiit testified in Congress last month that athletes lost all faith in WADA to get rid of the cheaters in their sport.

“I 100% agree. They’ve completely failed athletes,” Torres told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. “I came from the era of the East German and then the Chinese, and there were random swimmers from different countries that were doping. First, overall, I don’t know how you have a conscious doing that because it should be equal ground.

“You shouldn’t feel great winning if you did it by cheating. And I feel like there needs to be more intricate testing to be ahead of the dopers and not behind the dopers. I know Travis Tygart, he’s the head of the USADA. He was actually very upset about that. He’s doing everything in his power to make sure that there’s going to be an even playing field and clean sport.”

Dara Torres in the 2000 Olympics

Dara Torres of the United States is shown before the women’s 50-meter freestyle final at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre during the 2000 Summer Olympics. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

OLYMPIC LEGEND DARA TORRES SHARES ADVICE ON HOW TO LIVE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AT 50 YEARS AND OLDER

Torres finished her Olympics career with 12 medals – tied for the most among female swimmers.

WADA on Tuesday cleared itself of any wrongdoing in handling the case involving the Chinese swimmers.

A special prosecutor, appointed by the agency, determined that WADA’s decision not to punish the Chinese athletes was “reasonable” and didn’t show favoritism.

WADA President Witold Banka said the special prosecutor’s investigation confirmed “that there was no impropriety connected to WADA’s handling of the case.”

Dara Torres in 2012

Dara Torres, left, is shown after the women’s 50-meter freestyle event during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

He said WADA’s next step would be to meet with outside legal counsel to see “what measures can be taken against those that have made untrue and potentially defamatory allegations.”

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“These allegations have been extremely damaging to WADA’s reputation and to the confidence and trust that athletes and other stakeholders have in the agency and in the global anti-doping system,” Banka added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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