As we all know, the COVID-19 global pandemic has left the world scrambling to adapt to the many challenges of slowing the spread of the virus. In the world of Olympic sports, the ripple effect has disrupted the efforts of anti-doping agencies worldwide to conduct the athlete testing normally relied upon to hold athletes accountable to abiding by the rules surrounding banned and controlled substances. Most international antidoping agencies have halted testing since mid-March as the invasive and close-contact nature of collecting samples posed a threat to both athletes and testers.
This causes concern that athletes inclined to cheat might abuse the situation, taking advantage of the opportunity to use illegal substances to improve their performance potential when competition is able to resume.
To address the lack of testing, the US Antidoping Agency (USADA) rolled out a pilot virtual testing program called Project Believe 2020 where athletes could provide a urine sample and blood spot test with an antidoping agent present on a zoom or FaceTime call.
Travis Tygart, of @usantidoping tells me about a “unique” virtual drug-testing programme trial which is helping fill gap left by a reduction in traditional in-person sample collection amid the coronavirus crisis. Volunteer athletes include @katieledecky @allysonfelix @emmajcoburn pic.twitter.com/5mWNLVfr0T
— Dan Roan (@danroan) April 17, 2020
For further insight into this topic, FasterSkier connected with two-time Olympian and long-time US Ski Team Member Noah Hoffman, who has become involved with USADA’s antidoping education program since retiring from skiing. Hoffman also recently wrapped up his second year at Brown University and we discuss his academic interests and the experience of being a college student during the COVID shutdown. Thanks for listening.