House of Representatives Passes ‘Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act’

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By Ryan Connolly

Earlier this week, the United States Congress moved closer to establishing federal criminal penalties for international doping fraud conspiracies, such as the Russian Doping scandal that rocked the Olympic world in 2016. “The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act of 2019”–controversially named after a chief perpetrator and eventual whistleblower of the aforementioned scandal–was passed by the House of Representatives on October 22. If signed into law, H.R. 835 would establish significant criminal penalties–up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for an individual–and make it unlawful to “knowingly carry out…a scheme…to influence by use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method any major international sports competition.” Under the Act, such an international competition must (1) have at least one U.S. athlete participating, (2) have at least three non-U.S. athletes participating, (3) be governed by the World Anti-Doping Code, and (4) receive sponsorship or broadcast rights money from a U.S.-based organization.

Importantly, a person’s intention is a key element of the section of the Act establishing criminal penalties. A person must knowingly intend to influence an international competition through doping fraud to violate the Act. Unless the actions of the person are fairly blatant and backed by evidence demonstrating an intent to cheat the system, establishing the “knowingly” element may be a significant bar for a federal prosecutor to clear in many cases. This should largely alleviate concerns of criminal penalties for certain actors who are inadvertently responsible for positive doping tests. This includes dietary supplement companies and executives whose products are found to be contaminated (unintentionally) with a banned substance. However, such potentially negligent actors may still be found responsible for the consequences and face significant civil damages and penalties, as is reaffirmed by the Act.

Another significant aspect of the Act is related to information sharing between the United States government and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a non-governmental Colorado non-profit corporation that conducts anti-doping activities for Olympic sports in the United States. Under the Act, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are required to coordinate with USADA with regard to any investigation related to an international doping fraud conspiracy, unless the integrity of that agency’s criminal investigation would be affected. This coordination specifically includes that the agencies must “shar[e] with USADA all information in [their] possession…which may be relevant to any such potential violation” of the Act. If the Act is signed into law, this new information sharing requirement could prove to yield a treasure trove of knowledge that may have been previously inaccessible to USADA.

View the text of H.R. 835 at Congress.gov.

Ryan Connolly is a Los Angeles-based attorney serving as counsel to various businesses, individuals, and dietary supplement / anti-doping-related organizations, including Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG).

In a Victory for Clean Sport, David Guttenplan Takes the Orange Jersey as USA CRITS 2018 Season Champion

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USA CRITS 2018 season champion David Guttenplan of the Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching Team earlier in his remarkable season. Photo by Lee McDaniels, USA CRITS.

On Sunday at the Gateway Cup in St. Louis, professional bike racer David “Gutt” Guttenplan finished with the orange Colavita Overall Leader Jersey on his back after becoming the USA CRITS 2018 season champion. Though Gutt and many observers had expected such an outcome due to his commanding lead going in to the final race, the victory nonetheless resonated with him and all those who care about clean sport.

“With the series, you just never know how it’s going to go,” said Gutt in a post-race interview. “I just have to give a big thanks to (teammate) Tyler Locke. He’s really stepped up, and he’s been getting up there every single time. It’s been great.”

Locke took sixth place overall and their Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching Team placed second in the team competition. The excellent results cemented their reputation as one of North America’s premiere cycling teams and delighted sponsor Support Clean Sport.

“We’re thrilled for Davey and these guys and all they represent,” said SCS Executive Director Oliver Catlin. “They faced some serious obstacles and have shown that it is possible for clean athletes to reach the podium. The team as a whole worked really hard to help get Davey to this point, and as a sponsor we couldn’t be more proud.”

Many find the personal stories of both Gutt and Locke compelling. Gutt suffered a serious accident while cycling in 2016 that left him in a coma for five days and in need of surgeries. Some wondered whether he would ever compete again. Locke has had to face his own personal obstacles, notably going sober with the help of the bike. He said that when he made a conscious choice to channel his energy into his riding his racing performance skyrocketed and turned him into the capable lieutenant he is today.

Catlin says he hopes the results help to diffuse the naysayers who don’t think clean athletes can compete in cycling. “We’ve never stopped believing that athletes who chose not to dope can still succeed in their sports, whatever those sports might be,” he said. “And when they do best their competitors, they can hold their heads high.”

As the team coach, Gutt echoed these sentiments in an interview prior to the season’s final race. “Doping takes the fun out of it,” he said. “I tell my guys that if you can’t be proud of your results, what’s the point?”

Catlin hopes to build on the success of the 2018 season by expanding Support Clean Sport’s involvement with the Guttenplan team and investing in other teams. With SCS having sponsored Team California Juniors and 706P, Catlin hopes the concept can grow and expand into new endeavors. “We will be fundraising in the coming months to raise money to support these worthy athletes and to help others follow in their paths.”

One new idea Support Clean Sport is considering in the coming year, says Catlin, is a program that helps addicts of various types find a new path through cycling. Such a program would likely include an addiction management campaign and cycling clinics specifically designed for people to combat their addiction problems.

As with Locke, participants in such a program would have a new avenue in which to put their energies and hopes. Gutt and Locke, as well as Coach Sean Wilson of Team California Juniors, have already signed on as willing instructors for such clinics.

“I’m excited about this concept and continuing to grow Support Clean Sport,” said Catlin. “But we can’t do it alone. We need people who care about cycling and clean sport, as well as those wanting to fight addiction, to step up and donate, in whatever amounts that they can, and to show their support for healthy and clean competition.”

Please consider donating what you can to this worthy cause; simply click on the Donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the Support Clean Sport homepage. Donations will go directly to team support and to the launch of our addiction clinics. Join SCS foundational sponsor BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group), a leading supplement and natural product testing and certification provider, in expanding the SCS concept. To learn more about SCS, visit the Support Clean Sport website, like Support Clean Sport on Facebook and follow SCS on Twitter.

David Guttenplan and Support Clean Sport On Eve of Big Victory

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Support Clean Sport Executive Director Oliver Catlin (center) joins David Guttenplan and Tyler Locke of the Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching Team for a practice ride on July 25 in Los Angeles.

David “Gutt” Guttenplan had a vision. He’d been a professional bike racer since 2003, specializing in criteriums, popular cycling races requiring a mix of speed, endurance, and strategy. And he wanted to commit himself even more fully to the sport. He realized he wanted to coach and ride, and in 2010 began working to put a team together. But he wasn’t looking to manage just any team; he wanted his riders to lift up the sport by showing that success can be achieved without turning to performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’ve seen the culture of the sport through all these years, and the one thing that’s always been near and dear to my heart is to do it the right way, because otherwise what’s the point?” he said in one recent interview. “I’d rather be doing something else if I’m going to be cheating.”

Gutt recruited a range of riders, from the young—new to the criterium circuit—to the accomplished—winners of established races. His coaching efforts focused on the less experienced of the group but to all he preached that doping was the wrong path. “Doping takes the fun out of it,” he said. “I tell my guys that if you can’t be proud of your results, what’s the point?”

Soon Gutt found a committed sponsor in Support Clean Sport (SCS), a grassroots movement initiated by the nonprofit/NGO ADR (Anti-Doping Research) and sponsored by BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group), a leading certification provider of a range of products such as supplements popular with elite athletes.

David Guttenplan heads into Sunday’s USA CRITS Series season finale, the Gateway Cup, with a commanding lead of more than 250 points. Unless something unforeseeable occurs, Gutt is likely to take the Colavita Overall Leader Jersey and become the USA CRITS 2018 season champion.

The victory, to be sure, will not just be a triumph for him but for his Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching Team. Some observers, such as Nathan at the blog A Cyclist in a Strange Land, say it will cement “the legacy of his Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching team as one of North America’s premier domestic cycling teams.”

“We’re incredibly proud of Davey and all that he has managed to accomplish with his team and his cycling,” said Oliver Catlin, Support Clean Sport Executive Director. “He has proven with his own dedication and drive that it is possible for a clean athlete to reach the podium.”

Catlin added that he also stands in admiration of the entire Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan team. He noted other riders have performed well this season, including Tyler Locke, who enters Sunday’s finale in a close fifth place. Locke has had to overcome his own obstacles, notably going sober 100% from alcohol, but he has seen his racing form skyrocket from channeling all that energy into his winning cycling performance!

Others on the Support Clean Sport/Guttenplan Coaching roster include Stefano Barberi, Adam Farabaugh, Benjamin Foster, Johnathan Freter, Coulton Hartrich, Marcos Lazzarotto, Steven Perezluha, Justin Prior, James “Jimmy” Schurman, Rolly Weaver and Scottie Weiss.

“It’s hard not be in awe of these guys,” said Catlin. “They’ve embraced high standards and embody everything good about sport, demonstrating that a clean approach can fuel teamwork and victory.”

Catlin encourages others to join Support Clean Sport and its proactive vision of clean sport. Anyone, from athletes and sports fans to companies and nutritionists, can be involved in the movement. To learn more about SCS, visit the Support Clean Sport website, like Support Clean Sport on Facebook and follow SCS on Twitter. Consider donating to this worthy cause; simply click on the Donate button in the upper right-hand corner of the Support Clean Sport homepage.

To see David Guttenplan “race for the orange” on Sunday, Sept. 2, tune in to a live broadcast of the event at USACrits.TV, https://usacrits.tv/.