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  • Writer's pictureVillanova Sports Law Blog

#MyMoment Campaign Fights for Clean Athletes

By Megan O'Neill

In 2014, I lost my moment to win the medal I earned in front of my family and fans. It only took 19 seconds for my moment to be stolen by doping.” – Lowell Bailey, U.S. Biathlon[1]

Before the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, prominent Olympians and Paralympians took a stance against doping with the #MyMoment global social media campaign. Athletes from Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States shared their stories through videos, stressing the importance of clean sports.

Drug testing amongst athletes is becoming commonplace in almost all sports, which raises constitutional issues such as the right to privacy and due process protections from illegal searches and seizures, especially in blood and urine tests[2]. Enforcement of Olympic drug testing is carried out through each country’s National Olympic Committee and particularly the national governing body (NGB) for that sport[3]. The United States Olympic Committee has created a “due process” checklist that each NGB is required to follow as not to offend the 4th and 5th amendments, which provides:

·      reasonable time between the receipt of notice of charges and the hearing,

·      the right to have the hearing conducted at a convenient time and place,

·      the right to be assisted in the presentation of one’s case at the hearing before a disinterested and impartial body of fact finders,

·      the right to call witnesses and present both written and oral evidence,

·      the right to cross-examine, the right to a record of the hearing,

·      the right to a written decision, and

·      the right to written notice of appeal procedures[4]

Why does this matter? Earlier this year, Harvard University published a study based on anonymous surveys at two elite athletics competitions in 2011 which found 57% of competitors admitted to doping within the last year[5]. This number greatly exceeds the 1-2% identified by blood and urine tests conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)[6]. In addition, investigations into the Russian athletes’ doping at Sochi in 2014 came to a conclusion in December with the International Olympic Committee confirming the nation was guilty of an extensive state-backed doping program[7]. As a result, Russia’s Olympic team was banned from the 2018 Winter Games.

The athletes are determined to spread awareness through this global campaign of the negative impact doping has had on their sports. They are tired of losing to cheaters and want to remind the IOC that doping hurts in many ways.

The goal of the campaign is to emphasize the “irreplaceable moments” clean athletes have lost to doping and defend future moments by leveling the playing field[8]. The videos that athletes have created tell the story of their “lost moments” and demand fair competition so their “moment” means something.

Christine Girard, an Olympic bronze medalist Canadian weightlifter states “‘[D]oped athletes damage their body more than anyone can think of. Also, it is truly unfair for athletes who, like me, choose the clean way to find our limits. I completely missed the podium in Beijing 2008 due to doping of my competitor. For many years, I felt like a failure because I finished 4th. . . .’”.[9]

Like Girard, countless other athletes have experienced the feeling of failure when in reality they should have been celebrating their achievements. No athlete should feel this way as a result of doping. The value of clean sports is vital to the future so as to uphold the integrity of all athletes who train honestly and are deserving of reward.

Reforms must be made to ensure athletes no longer have to lose the moment they have been working towards to their entire life.  WADA has known since 2013 that they have failed as an organization[10]. In order to reform itself it, it must sever all ties with the IOC, where half of its members sit on the board, and demand the ability to test, oversee and sanction.[11] The next step is to increase the severely underfunded program from its $30M budget to $100M in order to set up a trust for anti-doping efforts[12].

With its recent sanctions on Russia, the IOC seems to have received the #MyMoment campaign message and hopefully their verdict will reflect their seriousness to committing themselves to reforming the corrupt system.

[2] Drugs and Testing. US Legal,

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5]  2018 Winter Olympic Athletes Launch Anti-Doping Campaign #MyMoment. Euronews, (Nov. 3, 2017),

[6] Id.

[7] Rebecca R. Ruiz and Tariq Panja, Russia Banned From Winter Olympics by I.O.C. The New York Times, (Dec. 5 2017),

[8] 2018 Winter Olympians & Paralympians Unite behind #MyMoment | USADA. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), (Oct. 30, 2017),

[9] 2018 Winter Olympic Athletes Launch Anti-Doping Campaign #MyMoment. Euronews, (Nov. 3, 2017),

[10] Michael Powell, After Russia’s Spree of Doping, a Time to Reform. The New York Times, (Dec. 9, 2016),

[11] Id.

[12] Les Carpenter, Michael Phelps Wants to Talk Doping Reform Now. Will Anybody Listen? The Guardian, (Mar. 1, 2017),

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