1. Goal. The World Anti-Doping Agency, also known as WADA, works to ensure that athletes benefit from the same anti-doping protocols and protections, no matter the nationality, the sport or the country where tested. The ultimate goal is safe and fair competition worldwide.
2. Prohibited substances. In all, there are over 250 substances that WADA designates as performance-enhancing for athletes. Included in that list of substances are steroids, Human Growth Hormones (HGH) and masking agents. There are also a few on the list that are legal to the public and can be bought at the local supermarket. Such substances are alcohol, caffeine, cough syrup, nasal sprays and tobacco. Athletes can be tested for these substances at events or months prior to the event. Failing either has the same consequences.
3. Prohibited methods. There are other methods than just the well-known performance-enhancing drugs that can enhance performance or affect test results. These are referred to as prohibited methods. The following is a short list of examples of prohibited methods: 1. Artificially enhancing the uptake, transport or delivery of oxygen. 2. Any form of intravascular manipulation of the blood or blood components by physical or chemical means. 3. Intravenous infusions and/or injections of more than 50 ml per six-hour period, except for those legitimately received in the course of hospital admissions or clinical investigations. 4. The transfer of polymers of nucleic acids or nucleic-acid analogues. 5. The use of normal or genetically modified cells.
4. Exemptions. Athletes who have illnesses or conditions that require them to take particular medications can fall under an “exemption.” If the medication an athlete is required to take to treat an illness or condition happens to fall under the “prohibited list,” a Therapeutic-Use Exemption (TUE) may give that athlete the authorization to take the needed medicine.
5. Out-of-competition testing. Experience has shown that out-of-competition testing is crucial in the fight against doping, in particular because a number of prohibited substances and methods are detectable only for a limited period of time in an athlete’s body. The only way to perform such testing is by knowing where athletes are, and the only way to make it efficient is to be able to test athletes at times when cheaters are most likely to use prohibited substances and methods.
6. Whereabouts. “Whereabouts” refers to information provided by elite athletes to the International Sport Federation (ISF) or National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) regarding their location. This requirement applies to any athlete who is in a registered testing pool and is part of an elite athlete’s anti-doping responsibilities. Because out-of-competition doping controls can be conducted without notice to athletes, they are one of the most powerful means of deterrence and detection of doping and are an important step in strengthening athlete and public confidence in a dope-free sport. Accurate whereabouts information is crucial to ensure efficiency of the anti-doping programs, which are designed to protect the integrity of sport.
7. Responsibility. The athlete is ultimately responsible for everything that goes into his/her body, whether it was recommended, prescribed or even provided by someone else. If an athlete tests positive, the result is a disqualification and possible sanctions or suspensions.
8. Penalties. Although WADA provides the results, they are ultimately not the ones who enforce the penalty for an athlete who tests positive for a banned substance. That is left up to the sanctioning body. So, when James Stewart got busted in AMA Supercross, the FIM handled the repercussions of the failed test.
9. Supercross vs. motocross. AMA Supercross, which is under the FIM umbrella, tests with WADA, while AMA motocross is watched over by the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency). They are, however, joined at the hip, as the USADA is a signatory to the WADA protocol, and there are virtually no differences between the two agencies.
10. Violations. Failing a drug test is the ultimate offense, but an athlete can be punished for refusing to take a test, tampering with samples, simple possession of a prohibited substance or incorrect “whereabouts” information. The max penalty is a lifetime ban. The typical penalty for using performance enhancing drugs (first offense) is 18 to 24 months.