Michael Phelps Advocates for Congressional Action Ahead of Olympics

Michael Phelps Demands Action Against Doping in Olympic Sports

Esteemed Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, took a stand before Parliament on Tuesday, calling for decisive action to combat doping in Olympic sports. This comes after a New York Times report revealed that 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for banned substances were permitted to participate in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This was possible due to a deal struck between the Chinese officials and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Phelps expressed his disapproval of WADA’s inability to uphold the integrity of international sports and safeguard athletes’ right to fair competition. He criticized WADA for its repeated failures, highlighting the need for stronger enforcement of anti-doping regulations.

“Every word would still ring true”

Phelps lamented, referring to his previous testimony before Congress in 2017. Seven years later, he finds himself advocating for the same issue due to systemic problems within WADA that continue to impact athletes negatively. He urged Congress to exercise its power and push for reform within WADA, making it more independent and effective.

According to Phelps, it is not surprising that WADA has once again fallen prey to the pressures of international sports. He underscored that the recent controversy involving Chinese swimmers is yet another instance of WADA’s failure to enforce its own rules. Phelps voiced his concern about how athletes bear the brunt of WADA’s inaction, living with the “what ifs” for their entire lives. He called for accountability from WADA and insisted that they should face consequences for their actions.

Furthering his argument, Phelps highlighted the diminishing faith in WADA’s ability to uniformly enforce anti-doping policies worldwide. He emphasized Congress’s role in joining the fight against doping to uphold fairness and integrity in Olympic and Paralympic sports. Phelps warned that if WADA continues to neglect its duties, the next generation might lose faith in the system.

Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, chair of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, proposed withdrawing America’s annual $4 million funding to WADA if it does not rectify its actions. Griffith criticized WADA’s absence before Congress, questioning their commitment to accountability. He stated that if WADA fails to fulfill its responsibilities, it should not receive US funding.

Travis Tygart, CEO of the US Anti-Doping Agency, also voiced concerns about WADA’s close ties with China. He pointed out that WADA cannot function as an independent decision-maker when sports leaders have a vested interest in the decisions being made. Tygart likened it to “the fox guarding the henhouse”, calling for greater independence within WADA to prevent conflicts of interest.


In conclusion, Phelps and other witnesses emphasized the urgent need for reform within WADA to ensure fair play and protect the integrity of international sports. They urged Congress to act and leverage its power to hold WADA accountable for their inaction. The future of Olympic and Paralympic sports hinges on the steps taken now, and it is up to Congress to guarantee athletes a level playing field on the global stage. Only then can we maintain the true spirit of the games and inspire the next generation of athletes.

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