USADA tries 'virtual' testing amid Covid-19 pandemic

2020-04-18 21:08
Katie Ledecky (Getty)

The US Anti-Doping Agency has come up with a novel random testing programme to cope with the unique circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the United States, like much of the world, under lockdown as authorities try to slow the spread of the virus, USADA has launched a programme in which athletes collect blood and urine samples from themselves at home, while being monitored remotely on Zoom or FaceTime by testing personnel.

The test kits were sent to athletes, who must produce samples when they receive an unannounced call from a doping control officer.

The officer watches the blood sample being taken, but urine samples are provided in private.

The samples are sealed under the eye of the doping control officer and sent to an accredited lab for testing.

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart told the New York Times that plenty of top US Olympic hopes were eager to sign up for the pilot project.

Swimming great Katie Ledecky and athletes Noah Lyles and Allyson Felix were among those who volunteered.

"We've been talking about this and laying the foundation for several months," Tygart told the newspaper.

"Covid put that on fast forward and allowed us to roll it out."

Ledecky said she "felt very comfortable" administering her first self test this week at her home in California.

USADA has built safeguards into the system to limit opportunities for cheating.

Although athletes are not observed during collection of urine, they show the monitoring officer the bathroom that will be used, they are timed and the temperature of the sample is recorded to lessen the chances of sample tampering or sample substitution.

Read more on:    doping


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.