First, I published this rebuttal today in The Province (a B.C. newspaper) of an article published last week (also in The Province) attacking the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act. The attack, filled with spin and misinformation, is in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) effort to undermine the legislation. I hope my response will help clear up any confusion caused by WADA’s campaign. Please call your Senators to express your support for the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act. We need the power of federal law enforcement in the fight for clean sport to counter systematic state-sponsored doping fraud.
Second, I recorded this conversation a few weeks ago with my friend and former coach Zach Caldwell:
It’s long and wide-ranging. If you don’t have time to listen to the entire hour and twenty minutes (understandable), I recommend starting at 1:03:20 when the conversation turns to the ways the Olympic Solidarity model has failed athletes. In the conversation I reference this study done by Ryerson University, in partnership with Global Athlete, that found that only 4.1% of total revenue in the Olympic movement goes to athletes.
I had the distinct honor of talking to Olympic Champion and track and field icon Edwin Moses about creating change in global sport as part of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s Voices of Clean Sport series. Check out a seven minute edit of the conversation here.
Jessie Diggins and I have an op-ed out today in the Minneapolis Star Tribune encouraging the U.S. Senate to support the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act. Eventually the coronavirus crisis will subside and the world’s best athletes will again awe and inspire us. When the competitions resume, we need the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act to ensure a level playing field for the next generation of champions. Check it out here: strib.mn/2vlX0HY
The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act (RADA) passed the House of
Representatives on Tuesday (Oct. 22nd)! It passed “on suspension”, a
process reserved for noncontroversial bills with strong bipartisan support, and
there were no voices in opposition.
This Act will be a sea change for the anti-doping movement, but we, as a community who believes in the power of clean sport, need to build on the momentum of the House vote by telling our Senators that we support this Act! The biggest hurdle to getting a noncontroversial bill like RADA through the Senate is bandwidth. The Senate only has so much time. We need to bring this Act to the attention of as many Senators as possible and tell them to prioritize its passage! Every call or handwritten letter from a constituent matters! Please help sport live up to its potential as a global force for good by calling or writing a personal letter to your Senators asking them to cosponsor S.259, the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act.
If you are an American athlete currently or formerly competing at the elite level, please consider publishing a letter in your local newspaper asking your senator to support the Act, similar to the letter Olympic Champion Maddie Bowman published prior to the House vote. (Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want assistance through the process.)
The Act currently resides in the Senate in the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi. To move the Act forward, we need Senator Wicker to add the bill to the committee’s agenda. In addition to contacting your own Senators, if you know people who vote in Mississippi, please encourage them to contact Senator Wicker’s office to show their support for the Act. If you know elite athletes who reside in Mississippi, please encourage them to publish a letter of support for the Act, and please have them contact me to walk them through the process.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has been unable to stem the tide of international doping conspiracies. Malicious foreign state-sponsored actors as well as domestic teams and clubs have orchestrated systematic and extensive doping programs for a multitude of athletes. Organizations like the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) do not have the tools to fight foreign governments or well-funded professional teams. It is time for us to join nations like Austria and Germany by bringing the power of federal law enforcement to the anti-doping fight.
You can find contact information for your Senators here. Please share with them, via a phone call or personal letter (not an email), a few sentences about why we need federal law enforcement’s involvement in the anti-doping fight (see the above paragraph or the summary below) and why you believe clean sport is important to a thriving society.
The text of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act is here.
(This is the House version which we ultimately hope will be passed by the
Senate.) Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the bill at email@example.com or on Instagram or Facebook.
Summary of Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act
The Act will
Criminalize doping conspiracies that target international sporting events
International jurisdiction extends to any sporting events that has
1 or more U.S. athletes and 3 or more international athletes competing
is a signatory to the WADA code
has a sponsor that does business in the U.S. OR sells rights to be broadcast in the U.S.
Not make doping by athletes illegal
According to a British study, the biggest deterrent for athletes not to dope is the possibility that they will not be able to compete. If doping were criminalized, first offense would likely result in only a fine
Makes no sense to prosecute athletes criminally for using a contaminated supplement or taking a prohibited over-the-counter medication
Criminalizing doping by athletes would hamper USADA’s work to clean up sport because athletes would not cooperate with anti-doping investigations for fear that they could later be prosecuted
Federal law enforcement does not have the resources nor the will to take over all anti-doping efforts in the U.S.
Sport organizing and governing committees (such as the USOC, the IOC and WADA) would not support a bill that could result in athletes being handcuffed at the finish line
If doping is criminalized for athletes, out-of-competition anti-doping tests could potentially be a violation of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits against unwarranted searches and seizures
Require federal law enforcement to share information with USADA to assist its fight against doping
Unlike federal law enforcement, USADA does not have search and seizure or subpoena powers
Provide the possibility for restitution to athletes who have been defrauded by doping
Provide witness protection to doping whistleblowers
Currently, whistleblowers such as Dr. Rodchenkov and Yuliya and Vitaliy Stepanov are not eligible for U.S. witness protection because doping conspiracy is not a crime, even though they are at considerable personal risk
Whistleblowing is essential to policing doping in sport
Many lawmakers are interested in the Act primarily as a way to counter Russian corruption as a tool of foreign policy
Doping conspiracies often beget other illegal activity, including bribery and money laundering
Sport in the United States economy exceeds $500 Billion/year. Doping threatens the economic impact of sport
The Act was introduced in both the house and senate on January 29th with bipartisan support. The Act currently has 3 cosponsors in the Senate (2 Republican, 1 Democrat)
Official name: Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act of 2019, S. 259 in the Senate and H.R. 835 in the House. (We hope the House version will pass the Senate.)
Substantial community support for this Act will help build momentum in the Senate to encourage lawmakers to move the bill forward
Current state of the bill as of October 28th, 2019
The Act passed the House of Representatives on October 22nd, 2019. It passed via a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended and was agreed to by voice vote
The Act has been referred to the Senate.
In the Senate, the Act has been referred to the committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
The goal is to bundle the Act with about 10 others into a package of noncontroversial bills and pass it via what’s known as Unanimous Consent.
As a representative from Brown at the Boston Interfaith Leadership Initiative (BILI), I was asked to write about my relationship to faith and religion. The resulting piece is more about my relationship to skiing than religion. You can find it here.
My first BILI blog post, which was published in April, is here. Thank you to Hebrew College and the Boston University School of Theology for the opportunity to be a BILI Fellow.
In an effort to share my experience as an older undergrad at Brown University, I am introducing some of the people that I spend time with here in Rhode Island. I am doing so via the same podcast feed that I launched in 2017 when I did a series of interviews with different members of the ski community. You can find it by searching for “Noah Hoffman” wherever you podcast, or you can follow along via SoundCloud.
The first person that I’d like you to meet is Jacqulyn Blatteis. Jac is a traditionally aged senior from Los Angeles, California. She is graduating from Brown in two weeks with a degree in neuroscience. She is the co-director of a student group called HOPE (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere), and she is a remarkable human being. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as have!
I would love to hear your feedback about this conversation and this idea of sharing my experience through the people in my life. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via Facebook or Instagram.
This year I had the opportunity to represent Brown at the Boston Interfaith Leadership Initiative. BILI, as the program is known, is an initiative of Hebrew College‘s Miller Center for Interreligious Learning & Leadership. My first of two blog posts about the experience is published on the State of Formation blog here.
The news that my good friend Karel Tammjärv was arrested for blood doping on Wednesday at the World Championships in Austria hit me like a truck. My emotions are complicated and confusing. It has been extremely painful and disorienting. I have felt anger and sadness and betrayal. I have also felt empathy and fear and sympathy.
One sure thing is that my heart is broken. It’s broken because sport is broken. It’s broken because we as a community are failing. It’s broken because sport has so much potential for good. And it’s broken because another little kid is going to have his world shattered like mine was by Lance Armstrong.
I have reached out to Karel, and I hope to hear from him. He’s a human being. He’s generous and thoughtful and funny and kind. Most of all he’s my friend.
I had a hard time deciding on an image to use for this post. I considered a picture of Karel exploring with me in the desert because those pictures remind me of the wonderful adventures we’ve shared. They complicate my emotions.
However, I decided on the photo below from September 27th, 2016. It makes me nauseous. I took it on top of Guardsman Pass at the end of a five hour classic roller ski session on day 10 of a 14 day training camp that we did together in Park City, Utah. After being released from Austrian prison, Karel said in a press conference on Friday that he began doping in 2016. I have no idea if he had started doping before he joined me in Utah, but this picture strikes me as ironic and painful.
This post is as discombobulated as my thoughts and feelings. Thank you for bearing with me and for your love and support. Please help me create the change we so desperately need.