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World Anti-Doping Agency chooses Canada for headquarters

From stimulants to steroids, growth hormones and even gene therapy, high-performance athletes routinely risk everything in their quest for gold. Canada has had its share of drug headlines, from disgraced Pan Am weightlifters to the Ben Johnson scandal and the Dubin Inquiry. In recent years, Canadian scientists, athletes and officials have been first out of the blocks in the race to keep sports safe and fair.

Talk about a turnabout. In 1988, Canada and Ben Johnson perpetrated the sporting world's biggest drug scandal. The ensuing Dubin Inquiry put the nation back on course, and by 2001 Canada is seen as a world leader in the fight against drugs in sports. The position is cemented - literally - in 2001, when the new World Anti-Doping Agency selects Montreal as its home base. As we see in this clip, with the honour comes increased pressure to stay clean. 
. In 1998 a major doping scandal at the Tour de France prompted international interest the creation of a global agency to lead the fight against drugs in sports. In February 1999, the International Olympic Committee convened the World Conference on Doping in Sport and proposed the creation of an independent World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to coordinate the global campaign against drugs in sports and "to support and promote fundamental values in sport."

. WADA was temporarily established in Lausanne, Switzerland on Nov. 10, 1999.
. Lausanne was seen as the main rival for WADA's permanent home, but some felt that city already held too much sway as the home of the IOC and 20 other international sports federations. On Aug. 21, 2001, in Estonia the agency's 36 members selected Montreal as WADA's final home. Satellite offices were to be set up in Europe, Asia, Africa and the South Pacific to make the agency more inclusive.

. Some officials, including International Rowing Federation president Denis Oswald criticized the move to Montreal, saying that the geographic distance and time zone difference between Montreal and the sports federation offices would hinder the fight against drugs. Others called it a make-up gesture after Toronto lost its bid for the 2008 Olympics, and Canadian Dick Pound's failed run at the IOC presidency.

. WADA equally represents and is funded by national governments and the Olympic movement.
. On March 5, 2003, all major sports federations and nearly 80 governments approved WADA's World Anti-Doping Code, which harmonized anti-doping regulations across all sports and nations. WADA's mandate includes setting the standards for drug testing labs.

. Dick Pound, a former IOC vice-president, competed for Canada in swimming in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. After losing the July 2001 vote for IOC presidency, the Montreal lawyer resigned all his duties on the IOC executive board. Jacques Rogge selected Pound, long a vocal critic of drug use in sports, to be chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Aug. 21, 2001
Guest(s): Denis Coderre, Bruny Surin, Pierre Talbot
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Lynne Robson
Duration: 2:07

Last updated: February 15, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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