As high school athletes start to achieve a higher level of performance that has them qualifying for and competing in national championship level events, they will encounter the Antidoping process. This necessary function in sport is there to assure that athletes are not gaining an unfair advantage through the use of drugs to enhance their abilities. Statistically, athletes using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), gain 1-4% of an advantage in improvements to their performances in training and competition. These increases are maintained for the entire career as well. This is often the difference between winning medals & prize money and making teams or staying home because you finished in the middle of the pack.

USADA (US Antidoping) is the domestic testing agency for Olympic (& some professional) sports. WADA (World Antidoping) operates internationally. When you medal at any Race Walking event that selects athletes for Team USA, you will be subjected to an antidoping test. At some meets, random athletes are selected from the field in addition to the medalists. Elite athletes at the Open level are also put into the Random Testing Pool for surprise tests. These athletes need to file their schedule for every day of the year and update it to provide a 1 hour window each day, with a location, where a test can be done without being notified that it will happen. Failure to adhere to this will lead to a whereabouts failure. Something sprinters have a lot of trouble doing correctly, for some reason.

USADA has recently released a guide entitled Athlete Responsibilities and Failures to Comply with Sample Collection in which they cover Sample Collection, Athlete Responsibilities During Sample Collection, Failures to Comply with Sample Collection, and Consequences for Failures to Comply. This is a must read and should be bookmarked by every athlete & coach with athletes competing at the national level. Educating yourself on the process ahead of time is critical so that you’re aware of what to expect when you’re selected for testing at a meet.

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