One of Canada’s top predicted athletes to win the canoe races at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was suspended August 19th 2019 from the Canadian Canoe team for a doping violation. When the World-Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) showed up for a no noticedrug test, Laurence Vincent Lapointe tested positive for a banned substance and she was accused of breaking rules, putting her in a hard position with fans and her team. Due to the positive doping results, Vincent Lapointe was going to be banned and disqualified from the world championships pending her case results. Vincent Lapointe denied taking any substance and informed media she considers herself a clean athlete.
On Jan 27th The International Canoe Federation’s anti-doping panel made a decision on Vincent Lapointe’s case and released the results. Although Vincent Lapointe was found to have trace amounts of Ligandrol in her system, it was ruled that she was the victim of third-party contamination and had no knowledge of the drug entering her system. In an interview with Lapointe it was revealed that her now former boyfriend admitted to using the substance and the trace amounts had been passed on via body fluids to the athlete without her knowledge.
After the panel’s decision, Vincent Lapointe has been cleared and is allowed to return to training for the 2020 Olympics. Due to her suspension Vincent Lapointe had no choice but to miss the Tokyo Olympic selection event at Canoe Sprint World Championships in Hungary meaning the athlete does not currently hold a spot in the 2020 Olympics. In order to be re-qualify she must meet Canadian qualification standards and place well at the Pan American Canoe Sprint Championships in May. Fans are questioning whether or not the anti-doping control policy affected her performance.
In 2003, WADA established a whereabouts system for all elite athletes and required them to provide their constant location and personal information so a no-notice drug test could be performed at any time. WADA’s strict rules and regulations have caused major concern among athletes, friends, families and sports organizations on how the WADA policy has reports of breaking multiple civil and privacy human rights. 25000 elite athletes took part in a survey and majority of the participates felt like the joy of sport had been negatively impacted by the anti-doping surveillance rules and constant check-ins.
The policy is negatively impacting athletes performance by overstepping personal boundaries, breaking trust and undermining athletes accomplishments with accusations. This system is flawed and unfair, as shown in Vincent Lapointe’s case where WADA invaded her privacy and improperly assess the case before Vincent Lapointe was suspended and forced to hire a defence team. The quick judgement and assumption that she had abused drugs creates an untrusting environment for the star athlete, makes her accomplishments seem less, breaks her privacy rights and had a huge effect on her mental health and performance. In order to avoid the many negative impacts the whereabouts system has on athletes the anti-doping and control requirements need to change to respect and protect athletes rights.