1958: Pound becomes the Canadian junior boys (age 15-16) 100-metre freestyle champion.
1960 Olympics: Pound finishes sixth in the 100-metre freestyle and fourth in the 4 x 100 medley swim relay in Rome, Italy.
1962 Commonwealth Games: Pound wins a gold in the 100-metre freestyle in Perth, Australia, and sets a Commonwealth Games record. He also won two silvers (440- and 880-metre freestyle relays) and a bronze medal (440-metre medley relay).
1966: Pound becomes secretary-general of the Canadian Olympic Association, rising to the presidency in 1977. In 1978, he was elected to the International Olympic Committee and is first voted to the executive board in 1983.
1987: Pound serves as vice-president of the IOC, a position he holds until 1991. He becomes vice-president a second time from 1996-2000.
Winter 1999: A former IOC vice-president, Mark Hodler, blows the whistle on his colleagues, claiming it was common practice for some of them to trade votes for cash and gifts when cities were bidding to host the Games. Pound leads the IOC's investigative inquiry of bribery charges, resulting in 10 IOC members being expelled or resigning.
November 1999: Pound helps the IOC establish the World Anti-Doping Agency.
April 2001: Pound declares his candidacy for the IOC presidency, promising to renew the IOC's commitment to ethics.
July 16, 2001: Jacques Rogge, a Belgian orthopaedic surgeon, wins the election to replace Juan Antonio Samaranch as the eighth president of the IOC. Pound finishes third behind South Korean IOC member Kim Un-Yong.
The enforcerDick Pound, head of the worldwide anti-doping
organization WADA, talks with CBC Sports Online about the campaign to clean up sports.
CBC Sports Online | Jan. 19, 2003
He's considered a candid crusader by some, merely a big talker by
others, but there's no denying that anti-doping leader Dick
Pound knows sports.
It should hardly come as a surprise, considering Pound has participated
both as an athlete and an administrator in sports his entire adult
A former vice president of the International Olympic Committee, Pound
was also a double finalist in swimming at the 1960 Olympics in Rome
and won gold, two silvers and a bronze medal for Canada at the 1962
Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Today, the Montreal lawyer is more concerned with sports’ dark
side. As chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, he’s one
of the most powerful men in the sports world. Often outspoken and
unapologetic about his views on drug cheats, Pound is on a personal
crusade to eradicate drug use in sports by getting as many sports,
international bodies and governments to adopt the World Anti-Doping
Pound is not alone in this crusade.
Last year, the IOC adjusted the Olympic charter to include, as a condition
of participation at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, a clause that requires
all international sports bodies to adopt the WADA code. Those sports
that don't become signatories to the WADA code will be axed from the
Olympic program in Greece.
CBC Sports Online talked recently with Pound about the WADA code,
his views on drug testing in North American pro sports, and the Beckie
What's the biggest challenge facing WADA in 2004? What are
the organizations top goals and priorities?
Well, we have a number of them. The first is to implement the World
Anti-Doping Code across all countries and across, at least, all the
Olympic sports. Secondly, to continue to fund research into areas
that will lead us to better doping tests. The third is to have a successful
independent observer mission at the Olympic Games in Athens. And the
fourth is to see if we can expand our funding base so that we do more
How confident are you that you can achieve wider acceptance
of the code in 2004?
Oh, pretty confident.
Are there any particular sports bodies or organizations that
haven't already adopted the code that you're keen to sign up?
I think, between summer and winter sports in the Olympics, there are
35 different sports. And I think of those, at the moment, 27 or so
have already adopted the code. The time frame that sports have [to
sign the code] is anytime prior to the Olympics in Athens. So we could
have some of them doing it by the end of July, I suppose, for that
And that will depend on which body within the sport does it require
a congress of all the member countries, for example, or is it something
that can be done by the executive. Some of the scheduling matters
will depend upon the constitutional framework. So long as it gets
done before Athens, they could do it on July 30 for all I care.
What about THG? Do you think the emergence of this new designer
drug is part of a larger cheat conspiracy? Do you think there are
more designer steroids out there?
Well, I don't know for sure, but we will operate on the assumption
that there may well be.
How confident are you that WADA-accredited anti-doping labs
can stay one step ahead of designer steroids such as THG and develop
new tests for them?
In the case of THG, as soon as one of the labs in the group of accredited
labs gets a test or something like that, they share the information
and technology with all the other labs. As soon as someone discovers
it, everybody knows.
[pauses] The answer is, I guess, threefold. One is, we can't be sure
at the moment because there may be some stuff out there that has not
yet been detected. Number two, having found THG and being able to
see how the molecule was tweaked and what the result is on the printout
of the mass analysis of urine, you get some ideas of what to look
for. I think the research will accelerate in these areas so that we
will have tests to pick up others. And there will be spikes on the
printout that previously were inexplicable, in the sense that nobody
knew what caused them. Now you know what THG looks like, you may be
able to extrapolate from there to other molecules.
The labs do more than just test. Most of them are research facilities
as well, so they will be working on it and I'm sure there will be
a lot of friendly competition to be the next one to find something.
We will rely on, and encourage, people to come forward. The so-called
You've said before that sports needs to get better at catching
the cheaters. How do you propose sports and governing bodies can do
First of all, I think that they all have to acknowledge that there
is a problem. I've always said that it's a little bit like alcoholism,
in that if you don't admit there's a problem, than you can't properly
address it. If the federations and the national Olympic committees
and the other national organizations begin to take this seriously,
if they have vigorous out-of-competition testing programs … because
that's the real danger areas where these folks can disappear for two
or three or four weeks at a time and you don't know where they are,
you're in a high-risk period.
And a standard set of sanctions firmly applied. The sanction is designed
to do two things: one is to punish the person who has cheated and
the other is to act as a deterrent to somebody who might be considering
And then you just have to go through a longer educational process.
When I first started to drive they didn't have mandatory seatbelt
legislation. They brought it in and all the manly characters filled
with testosterone said, 'I don't need this seatbelt, I can just go
100 miles into a wall and pull myself off the steering wall.' And
there were fines and losing points if you got caught without it, but
it wasn't the fines and it wasn't the lost points that eventually
got people to buckle up. It was the fact that it finally dawned on
you that it's really stupid to be out there without a seatbelt on.
And that's the kind of re-engineering or re-education that I think
we need for sport, and it has to be directed at athletes, coaches,
doctors and the public at large.
So it's a matter of education in terms of changing attitudes?
Yeah. It's the wrong thing to do, and in many cases, it's really dangerous.
What impact, if any, do you think the Beckie Scott case will
have as a deterrent for athletes who are considering or participating
in doping schemes?
Well, I think it's pretty clear that the Russians and Spaniards who
were involved in those cases were given something and told that it
was undetectable. It's like, 'Go ahead, they'll never be able to find
it.' Well, the answer is we did find it and those folks are now toast.
So I think that's a very strong message and the good side of the message
is that somebody who didn't cheat ended up finally -- and not without
difficulty -- but finally with the result that she deserved.
But do you think the result of the case will act as a deterrent?
Will more athletes look at this decision and think twice about cheating?
Yeah, I think they will. I also think the folks that supplied this
stuff to them … [when] you're doing EPO, and THG and things like that,
this is not taking cough medicine or a food supplement. This is a
calculated, concerted effort to undermine the sport rules. So I think
the coaches and whoever is supplying this stuff to the athletes in
the first place will think twice, too.
Last year, you launched a campaign to try to get Major League
Baseball, the NFL, the NBA and NHL to conform to WADA's global strategy
on drug testing that was adopted in Denmark last year. What's been
the response? Are we any closer to seeing the four major pro sports
leagues in North America adopt the WADA code?
No, I don't think so. The problem is they don't want to admit there's
a problem, so I don't see it happening. They're in denial and fans
are somewhat apathetic about it all, so there's no incentive for them
to get tougher on drugs. It seems to me that it only becomes a big
deal when someone tests positive at the Olympics and is stripped of
a medal. Then it becomes a big deal. For pro sports, I just think
most fans don't care about how the athletes get there in the first
place and just want to see them on the field.
The other problem is, I don't think … you have to realize that WADA
is not just sports governing bodies. Fifty per cent of it is governments
[who have become signatories to the WADA code]. I get the feeling
that they [pro sports] don't get that. It's [the code] good enough
for all these other sports and these governments but it's not good
enough for pro sports? Give me a break. What are they afraid of? They
have a problem with the length of bans, which indicates to me that
they're interested in letting more cheats off the hook.
Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association,
has said publicly that he feels the NFL has "one of the strongest
drug policies around" and that he doesn't see "why we have to apply
the Olympic standards" to the NFL. Why should pro leagues abandon
their own authority over drug testing and adopt the WADA code? Why
can't the leagues be left to govern themselves?
Because when you're talking about pro sports, you're dealing with
athletes that are in the public eye every day. We're not talking about
an athlete nobody has ever heard of, who tests positive at the Olympics
and is forgotten about four years later. Pro athletes are out there
every day and making big money, so I think you have to apply the same
standard for everybody right across the board. And the fact is, I
don't think the leagues are governing themselves the way they should.
All four of the pro leagues have player unions and all four
have drug policies that have to be approved in collective bargaining.
The leagues argue that because of this and U.S. labour laws they can't
unilaterally make changes to their drug testing rules. With this in
mind, do you think it's even possible for all four leagues to adopt
the WADA code?
I've heard the argument before about collective bargaining and the
unions and I think it's just an excuse. They're making it into a labour
issue to try and deflect attention away from the real problem of effective
drug testing. The unions and collective agreements are obstacles but
there are ways to get around them.
One of them is to make teams' use of public facilities like stadiums,
and even tax breaks and incentives they get from local governments,
conditional on applying the code. I think the other thing is to look
into the anti-trust agreement that they cling to so dearly and possibly
restructure it so that it includes a clause about complying with a
unilateral drug code. I think that's one of several ways of getting
But again, why not leave drug testing to the individual leagues
to govern? They might not govern it to your satisfaction, but it is
their league, so why should they adopt the code?
I think one of the answers is that there is an inordinate influence
on the public and young people coming from professional sports. These
are the farm teams for all of these professional undertakings. Basically,
if you're saying to some kid in grade 10, 'If you don't weigh 265
pounds by the time you're a freshman in college, don't bother.' That's
wrong. I mean, what kind of message is that?
I would say football has the best program of the ones we've talked
about. You get a four-game suspension for a first offence. Basketball
doesn't care, as long they're not doing cocaine.
What I would say to [Gene] Upshaw is, "Have you seen these lions now
in football?" Have you seen this? They're averaging 285 [lbs] and
they have superhuman strength. I don't think they got that way simply
by eating ma's porridge.
Baseball's drug policy is just a farce.
When they negotiated the current [collective bargaining agreement]
deal a couple of years ago, they only agreed to bring in mandatory
testing if five per cent of the players tested positive. Five per
cent. If you've tested positive on your first occasion, you can ask
for a recount, come back later and if you tested negative then, the
first positive disappears as well. And even at that, they said they
got five to seven per cent. What is that, more than two and a half
teams of major league baseball are all on steroids? So, do you figure
that's a reasonable rigorous testing program? I don't think so.
And then they've put forward these ludicrous suggestions for sanctions,
some of which are just chump change when it comes to money.
You're first offence is they counsel you. What are they going to counsel
you to do? To don't get caught? Or here's how you do it so you don't
get caught. It's liked you'd have to hit up a liquor store five times
to get a year-long ban. Five times. They don't test during the off-season.
They don't even have out-of-competition tests. So baseball isn't serious
[Editor's note: Under baseball's new drug policy that goes
into effect in 2004, a first positive test results in treatment. Any
MLB player testing positive a second time will either be suspended
15 days without pay or fined up to $10,000 US. Suspensions increase
to 25 days for a third infraction, 50 days for a fourth and one year
for a fifth. Testing with penalties will continue until positive tests
drop below 2.5 per cent over consecutive years. Under the WADA code,
athletes face a minimum two-year ban for a first steroid positive
and a lifetime ban for a second.]
What drives you in the fight against drugs in sports? Why
do you feel this is such an important issue?
Well, sports is so important to so many people, particularly young
people, and it's a precursor to how you're going to behave in other
aspects of social intercourse. You look around the world today and
what have you got? The accounting profession is in the tank. You've
got the business community in the tank. You've got the Enrons. You've
got political shortcuts and all these kind of things, that it's very
important to have some kind of activity where you can say to people
'this is on the level.' You respect the rules, you respect your opponents,
you respect yourself. You play fair. I think that bleeds over into
life as well.
I don't want my grandchildren to have to become chemical stockpiles
in order to be good at sports and to have fun at it. Baseball, take
your kid out to the ballpark some day and you say, 'Son, some day
if you ingest enough of this shit, you might be a player on that field,
too.' It's a completely antithetical view to what sport should have
been in the first place. It's essentially a humanistic endeavour to
see how far you can go on your own talent.