By Jeff Jones
The former director of the United States Olympic Committee's drug control administration, Dr. Wade Exum, has re-filed a discrimination suit that claims, among other things, that USOC has covered up a large number of doping positives in the last 20 years. USOC no longer handles doping control in the US, as that has fallen to the US Anti-Doping Agency, the US branch of WADA.
Dr. Exum filed a federal suit that included numerous discrimination claims on July 17, 2000, after he claimed he was forced to leave USOC due to his objections to "USOC's dangerous and unethical doping policies." He has now transferred his five athletic doping counts against USOC to the El Paso County District Court in Colorado Springs after the federal courts declined to judge his case. Specifically, he is suing USOC for 1) fraud and misrepresentation, 2) wrongful termination in violation of public policy, 3) breach of contract, 4) promissory estoppel, and 5) tortuous interference with prospective financial advantage.
Dr. Exum has been supported in his case by his predecessor, Dr. Robert Voy, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the USOC from 1983 to 1989, who left the USOC and reported doping abuses in his 1990 book Drugs, Sports, and Politics. Dr. Voy submitted an affidavit for Dr. Exum's case that stated, "Based on my experience and expertise, I believe that the USOC and/or the various NGBs, have covered-up evidence of American Olympic level athletes testing positive for banned PEDs (performance enhancing drugs)." After Dr. Voy left, Dr. Exum began working for the USOC as the Director of Drug Control Administration.
Since the two doctors started their campaign, evidence has come to light of doping cover-ups involving high profile athletes. Track and field athlete and nine-time Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis is perhaps the best known of these, after it was revealed that he had tested positive for three types of stimulants during the 1988 Olympic trials. He went onto win the gold medal in the 100 metre sprint after Canadian Ben Johnson was famously disqualified for testing positive for steroids.
There is further evidence that a US athlete who tested positive for steroids in 1999 was allowed to compete and win a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. And this, according to Dr. Exum, is merely the tip of the iceberg.
"Plaintiff Exum made a sincere effort to establish and develop tests, protocols, procedures and methods for effective and fair enforcement of anti-doping policies," read part of his complaint. "However, the USOC has thrown road blocks in the path of anti-doping enforcement. For example, in recent years, absolutely no sanction has been imposed on roughly half of all the American athletes who have tested positive for prohibited substances. Moreover, in his nine years of uncovering scores of athletes presumed positive for testosterone, Plaintiff Exum has never once seen an athlete sanctioned by the USOC for using that prohibited substance. Additionally, USOC has jeopardized its International Standardisations Organisation (ISO) certification for doping control."
Dr. Exum and his attorney, John Pineau, have subpoenaed documents that have not yet been disclosed by the USOC; specifically, a fifteen year summary of all U.S. Olympic drug test results which lists the identity of the athletes, the substances involved, and any sanctions imposed.
"It is anticipated that there will be attempts to quash the subpoenas and further avoid disclosure of the true extent of the doping problem," said Pineau. "Dr. Exum will fight vigorously to assure that these documents are produced because it is his belief that a drug abuse problem can not be cured through denial and concealment. Only by exposing the truth will the USOC begin to become accountable for its role in the doping of American athletes."
Former USOC employee Joan Price has been subpoenaed by Pineau to supply the alleged missing documents, and has been asked to appear in the El Paso court at a hearing on May 23. Ms Price wrote to Exum in July 2003 that she had "printed out a complete results report from the AS 400 data base and turned it over to the USOC. I'm sure you will remember it to be the one that contained names, positive substances and sanctions or lack of sanctions dating back to the 1980s. At any rate, I am sure that the missing information can be found in that document."
USADA's testing results coordinator Linda Barnes has also been subpoenaed to supply documents as described by Joan Price in her July 2003 letter at the hearing scheduled for May 23.