WADA head Reedie looks to heal rifts with Olympic officials
AUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — After months of barbs and sparring between Olympic and anti-doping officials, World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie expects an end to public conflict.
The rift has widened since July, when a WADA-commissioned report detailed a state-backed doping program in Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and across summer and winter sports.
The International Olympic Committee's leadership rejected WADA's call to ban all Russian teams from the Rio de Janeiro Games, and the agency has since seemed to have fewer allies in world sports.
Reedie told The Associated Press on Wednesday he sensed a truce after two days of WADA-hosted meetings with Olympic officials that "worked beyond my expectations."
"Any public criticism that there has been, certainly from our side and I am sure now from the Olympic movement side, will stop," said the WADA president, who was also an IOC executive board member in the tense lead-in to Rio.
WADA's role in anti-doping will be debated at an Olympic summit in Lausanne on Oct. 8, and IOC President Thomas Bach has called upon his members to bring fresh ideas.
Still, asked if WADA was under threat, Reedie says: "I would be very surprised. Why would it be?"
"We have been under pressure and strain because of cheating in the biggest country in the world," Reedie said. "It shook the IOC, it shook the (international sports federations), it shook us. We move on."
The Russian evidence in Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren's investigation will be revisited, likely within weeks, when his final report is published.
Late October is once more the target for publication, despite McLaren saying last week it was "several months" away as he analyzes evidence of corruption at the Sochi Olympics and in Russian winter sports and soccer.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli told The AP on Wednesday that he spoke with McLaren over the weekend and confirmed the original deadline.
"It might be early November. This is not prolonging by several months," Niggli said.
That timetable would allow WADA to digest the report's impact before Nov. 19-20 meetings of its foundation board and executive committee in Glasgow, Scotland.
Reedie chaired a meeting of the WADA executive Wednesday that included two IOC board members — Ugur Erdener of Turkey and Gian Franco Kasper of Switzerland — plus the Olympic body's medical director, Richard Budgett.
Erdener and Budgett declined to comment to The AP after the meeting.
While WADA has seemed under attack by the Olympic family, it has been the victim of a cyberattack on its database of athletes' private medical records. WADA has said hackers linked to Russia are responsible for the leaks of dozens of athletes' data which began last week.
Niggli said the Montreal-based agency is working with the FBI and RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) on the case.