Michael Phelps Called to Testify Before Congress in Anti-Doping Hearing

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Still via NBC

Lawmakers are very interested in what the now-retired Baltimore Bullet has to say about doping in international sports.

Michael Phelps has been called to testify before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations at a hearing next Tuesday titled, “Ways to Improve and Strengthen the International Anti-Doping System.”

The international athletic community is reeling after Russian athletic officials admitted this past December that they orchestrated a wide-reaching system to conceal their athletes’ use of banned substances ahead of several Olympic games. Olympic officials have stripped the country of 23 medals from the 2008 and 2012 games after retroactively finding athletes tested positive for use of banned substances, according to the LA Times. (Of course, in the most petty development possible, almost none of those athletes have been willing to return the actual medals.)

The scandal goes far beyond just those medals, though. Canadian lawyer and sports ethicist Richard McLaren found in an investigation into Russia’s doping system that the country helped conceal doping in more than 30 sports, affecting more than 1,000 athletes, according to the Washington Post.

The hearing in D.C. next week will “examine the current state of the international anti-doping system, challenges it faces, and ways it can be improved,” according to a release from the subcommittee.

“This will be an important discussion to protect the revered distinction both the Olympics Games and their world class athletes hold,” said Chairman Tim Murphy, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania, in part in a statement.

Joining Phelps will be fellow Olympic gold medalist Adam Nelson, who won two silver medals in the shot put in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. The IOC later elevated his 2004 medal to gold in 2013 after Ukrainian shot putter Yuriy Bilonog was found guilty of using performance-boosting drugs.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, World Anti-Doping Agency Deputy Director General Rob Koehler and IOC Medical and Scientific Director Richard Budgett are also set to testify on Capitol Hill.

As far as we know, Phelps’ only experiences with illicit or unhealthy substances involved stupid scandals with alcohol and weed. To date, he’s the most decorated Olympian of all time. Lawmakers are likely expecting his and Nelson’s testimony, along with that of three experts in the international doping field, should give them some insight as to how to improve global anti-doping infrastructure.

The hearing will be on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Ethan McLeod
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