DOJ and FBI Open Criminal Probe in Chinese Athletes Doping Case

Doping in sports has long been a problem; whether it’s blood-doping (where oxygen-carrying hemoglobin is injected into the athlete) or the use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids or amphetamines, governing bodies have been chasing down this cheating.

The United States Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into a case involving around twenty-two top Chinese swimmers. 

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) discovered continual positive tests for prohibited drugs by some Chinese swimmers over the years but kept the results hidden. This is at the center of the inquiry. 

The athletes were allowed to compete in the  2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The United States has taken a bold step toward retaliation against China, international anti-doping agencies, and the Olympic movement by deciding to proceed with a criminal probe. 

Paris will host the Summer Games later this month, but an F.B.I. investigation will cast a pall over the proceedings. Eleven swimmers from China who tested positive for doping but have never faced a suspension are now competing at the Olympic level once again. 

An ongoing federal law enforcement investigation has forced the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to cancel a meeting with other anti-doping agencies and sports executives in the US. Authorities have questioned two witnesses and are working with Boston prosecutors and FBI investigators on the inquiry. 

Scientific and legal authorities backed WADA’s judgment, and the organization has said it has done nothing illegal. 

This case marks the largest probe into doping since 2020, when the US government enacted the Rodchenkov Act, which outlawed the practice in the top international athletic competitions. 

Since its inception, the new legislation has been a point of contention for WADA, who contend that the criminalization of doping in any one nation would undermine their efforts to establish universal sports regulations. 

Since the news of the 23 cases was made public, WADA has rushed to defend its actions and safeguard its image. 

An independent prosecutor engaged by WADA to examine its decision-making process will produce a report prior to the Olympics.