LONDON, United Kingdom — Athletes should be fitted with microchips in the same way dogs are to help stamp out doping in the sport, says the head of an organisation representing more than 100,000 Olympians.
World Olympians Association (WOA) chief executive Mike Miller told a conference in London that technology would soon allow an implant to detect performance-enhancing drugs.
“We chip our dogs,” he told a seminar on integrity and duty of care in sport, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday.
“We’re prepared to do that and it doesn’t seem to harm them. So why aren’t we prepared to chip ourselves?”
“We need to keep in front of the cheats,” he added. “I believe that, in order to stop doping, we need to chip our athletes where the latest technology is there.”
“Some people say it’s an invasion of privacy. It’s a club and people don’t have to join the club if they don’t want to follow the rules,” added Miller.
Miller’s organisation represents 100,000 Olympians across the world but he said he was not speaking on behalf of the WOA but in a personal capacity.
Doping has cast a dark shadow over the sport in recent years, with the Russian athletics team banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics following an investigation into a state-sponsored doping programme.
Re-testing of old samples using new methods by the International Olympic Committee has found more than 100 athletes used banned substances at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
And at least 30 percent of those who competed at the 2011 IAAF World Championships admitted to having used banned substances during their careers, according to a report recently made public.
Nicole Sapstead, the UK Anti-Doping chief executive, speaking at the same event on Tuesday, welcomed technology that could help in the fight against doping but was wary.
“Can we ever be sure that this type of thing could never be tampered with or even accurately monitor all substances and methods on the prohibited list?” she said, according to the Telegraph.
“There is a balance to be struck between a right to privacy versus demonstrating that you are clean.”