Michael Phelps: I just want to make sure anti-doping system is “fair”

WASHINGTON —  After staying in his lane as a swimmer and not speaking out about doping in international competition, Michael Phelps is ready to take on the issue in retirement.

Phelps testified Tuesday before a congressional hearing on improving anti-doping measures, delivering the message that he doesn’t believe the Olympics and other competitions are clean and that athletes don’t believe in the testing system that’s in place. Phelps, who has won 28 Olympic medals, said athletes get “disillusioned” when they see others cheat, he and asked the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to help “ensure the system is fair and reliable.”

“I don’t believe that I’ve stood up at international competitions and the rest of the field has been clean,” Phelps said during the hearing. “I don’t believe that. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that. I know that when I do stand up in the U.S., I know we’re all clean because we’re going through the same thing. Internationally I think there has to be something done, and it has to be done now.” 

Phelps testified alongside shot putter Adam Nelson, U.S. Anti-Doping Association CEO Travis Tygart, World Anti-Doping Association deputy director general Rob Koehler and International Olympic Committee medical and scientific director Richard Budgett.

Nelson in 2013 was awarded a 2004 Olympic gold medal when Ukrainian Yuriy Bilonog retroactively tested positive for a banned substance. Nelson told the story about how he received his medal from an U.S. Olympic Committee official in the food court of the Atlanta airport. Holding it in his hand, Nelson asked those in charge to “give meaning to my medal” because it didn’t mean the same.

Phelps, who has won more Olympic medals than any other athlete, said he was stunned to learn that while he was drug-tested 13 times leading up to the Rio Olympics, 1,913 athletes in 10 “high-risk” sports were not tested at…

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