by Natasha Mekhail
Dick Pound doesnt know whether hell rebuild severed ties with
the International Olympic Committee, but for now, at least, hes
turning his attention to cleaning drugs out of sport.
It will be a massive task, something the 59-year-old former Olympian called
making athletics an honourable quest to see where your talents can
Pound chairs the World Anti-Doping Agency, a regulatory department that
works at arms length from the IOC. Last Wednesday at Loyola, Pound
spoke to students and staff from the Department of Exercise Science.
This summer it was announced that Montreal will house the headquarters
of WADA, a centre for drug research and a place to come up with a set
of international rules on what athletes can put into their bodies.
The agency is a response to the problem of athletes, from high school
to the Olympic level, failing drug tests, having awards taken away and,
in many cases, ruining their careers. Pound blamed not just the athletes
but their coaches and doctors.
Athletes need protection from themselves and their entourage,
he said. The athletes, who bear a small part of the responsibility
especially the younger ones are the ones who take all of
The drugs arent just steroids either; vitamins and cold medications
are getting people into trouble. Part of WADAs research will be
to clarify which drugs should constitute banned substances.
Pound was behind the creation of WADA in 1999, and until now it has been
in Lausanne, Switzerland. The fact that Lausanne is the home of the International
Olympic Committee raised the question of whether the people who want to
make the Olympics a success should be neighbours with those trying to
clean it up.
Until recently, Pound was a vice-president at the IOC, the highest-ranking
Canadian in the organization. He left this summer, after losing a run
at the presidency, just days after Toronto lost its bid for the 2008 Summer
What are we? he said with a smile. One for three this
He jokes about it now, but his departure was a serious move. Pound was
known as the IOCs Mr. Clean. He led the inquiry into the Salt Lake
City scandal. The 1999 investigation ended with 10 IOC members leaving
the committee. They were all found guilty of accepting extravagant gifts
from the group who wanted the 2002 Winter Games held in Salt Lake City.
However, even Pounds full-scale inquiry didnt result in all
players being punished equally. Some top-ranking IOC executives, including
then-president Juan Antonio Samaranch, also accepted costly gifts, and
those members werent thrown out like the others.
Then theres the question of whether or not all the gift-giving had
an impact. Salt Lake City, after all, won the bid, and will host the Olympics
Since the IOC is supposed to be a self-regulating body, the scandal continues
to darken its credibility. After his lecture, Pound suggested that the
new president, Jacques Rogge, wasnt going to make reform a priority,
but hes giving him the benefit of the doubt. I guess were
going to see if he gets done what needs to be done.
Two weeks ago he met with Rogge in Paris to talk about how the Canadian
might fit into the new IOC regime. Pound wouldnt say whether he
was going back, but he did say he doesnt intend to just disappear.
The balls in the new presidents court. Hes got
to decide what hes going to do, and then Ive got to decide,
Pound said. I havent devoted 50 years of my life to [sport]
to give it up just because I didnt get the golden ring.