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Michael Phelps rips World Anti-Doping Agency for inconsistent enforcement of rules: ‘We need to hold them responsible’

Washington CNN —

Legendary Olympian Michael Phelps on Tuesday ripped the World Anti-Doping Agency and described an inconsistent application of anti-doping rules that is driving frustration among clean athletes and concerns over the future of fair competition.

In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Phelps and fellow former Olympic swimmer Allison Schmitt described the lengths they went to in order to prove they were competing fairly. But those rules are not being applied equally, they said, pointing specifically at Russia and China as among the nations whose athletes are allowed to skirt strict anti-doping measures.

“We need to hold them responsible,” Phelps said of WADA, adding that the agency should “almost be on a separate island by themselves” in terms of how the world’s leading anti-doping authority should be treated.

The hearing focused on an investigation over alleged doping by almost two dozen Chinese swimmers that is playing out ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Chinese swimmers tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned performance-enhancing substance, several months before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where they went on to win medals, according to a report from The New York Times released in coordination with German public broadcaster ARD.

Phelps argued WADA’s handling of the case – which is under an independent review – showed the agency’s reforms have “fallen short.” He asked Congress “to use its considerable leverage with WADA to make the organization independent and effective.”

“It can’t reasonably be a coincidence that (WADA) has yet again succumbed to the pressures of international sport,” Phelps said. “Close friends were potentially impacted