In Brief

Michael Phelps: I never raced against a clean field in international events

Olympic swimming hero calls on US to do more to improve anti-doping measures in sport

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, says he does not believed he ever raced against a clean field at an international event.

Speaking to a US House of Representatives hearing into improving anti-doping measures in sport in the wake of the Russian doping scandal, the swimmer called on lawmakers to push for global reforms.

He said: "Throughout my career, I have thought that some athletes were cheating and in some cases those suspicions were confirmed."

"I don't believe I've stood up at an international competition and the rest of the field has been clean... Internationally I think there has to be something done, and it has to be done now."

Phelps, who won 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold, added that he had been tested 13 times in the lead up to last year's Rio Games, but was astonished to discover that more than 4,000 athletes "had no record of testing in 2016 before Rio", reports ABC News.

The paper adds: "After staying in his lane as a swimmer and not speaking out about doping in international competition, Phelps is ready to take on the issue in retirement."

Les Carpenter of The Guardian says these were "strong words from a man for whose boldest public declarations have usually been buy Dell or eat Subway or wear Under Armour, and he clearly dazzled the committee members who nodded their heads in a rare show of bipartisan unity".

He adds that Phelps's intervention could be significant. Calls are growing for the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) to be made independent of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which is seen as too concerned with bad publicity and refused to ban Russia from the Rio Games.

"With the greatest Olympic champion making his strongest statements yet about testing and punishing dopers, the IOC is facing more heat from the US, just as it looks like Los Angeles will land the 2024 Olympics almost by default," Carpenter says.

Recommended

2021 Ryder Cup: players, tee times and TV coverage
The opening ceremony for the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits
In Depth

2021 Ryder Cup: players, tee times and TV coverage

Saracens’ triumphant return to Premiership Rugby
Alex Lozowski’s kicking performance was ‘sensational’
In Focus

Saracens’ triumphant return to Premiership Rugby

‘Netflix of sport’ DAZN in advanced talks to buy BT Sport 
DAZN cameraman
In Focus

‘Netflix of sport’ DAZN in advanced talks to buy BT Sport 

Peloton checks in to hotels and health clubs for future growth 
Peloton exercise bikes
In Focus

Peloton checks in to hotels and health clubs for future growth 

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Penguins ‘might be aliens’
Penguins
Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner