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18/11/2015 - 18.20

WADA President OP-ED: Values-based education essential to the future of Anti-Doping

Montreal, 16 November 2015, by Sir Craig Reedie

Traditionally, the anti-doping movement has relied on detection and deterrence to enforce clean sport; now, however, WADA and the anti-doping community are implementing longer-term solutions to educate future generations on doping. Beyond conventional drug testing, and in addition to outreach and awareness programs, values-based education initiatives are essential to the protection of clean athletes. As outlined in the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, this is a fundamental shift in focus towards offering athletes proactive options for improving performance in a clean way. Values-based education is today one of our best weapons in the battle for clean sport and we need to ensure all stakeholders are investing, as a matter of priority, in these initiatives.
 

“Values-based education is today one of our best weapons in the battle for clean sport.”

 
A multifaceted approach that seeks to develop decision-makers, values-based education engages athletes, coaches and other key players in the moral and ethical arguments of fair play rules and the spirit of sport. WADA provides a host of education resources such as: the Athlete Learning Program about Health and Anti-Doping (ALPHA), an eLearning tool that promotes moral reasoning and changing attitudes by providing positive solutions to stay clean; our University e-Textbook that was piloted in nine universities worldwide, raises social awareness about doping in sport; and, the Research Package for ADOs that is a comprehensive tool to measure attitudes, beliefs and behaviors while, at the same time, evaluating the effectiveness of ADOs education programs. Through these and other education campaigns, such as CoachTrue and the Coach’s Tool Kit, we aim to foster a global clean-sport culture across all age groups.
 

“A multifaceted approach that seeks to develop decision-makers, values-based education engages athletes, coaches and other key players in the moral and ethical arguments of fair play rules and the spirit of sport.”

 
To some, the spirit of sport is seen as an old-fashioned notion from an era when sport was not big business; however, as we see from the public reaction to doping scandals today, it clearly remains one of the most essential ingredients to sporting success: the pursuit of excellence with honour. Educating on this intrinsic value promotes positive attitudes and ultimately leads to athletes becoming more engaged in their own roles and responsibilities.
 
A very encouraging consensus was reached last month, during a values-based education conference co-hosted by WADA and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) in Ottawa, Canada, when researchers and ADOs from around the world committed to investing more financial and human resources to the cause. In addition, all participants pledged to convene before 2018 to examine the state of this important and essential driver in the fight against doping in sport.
 

“A very encouraging consensus was reached last month, during a values-based education conference co-hosted by WADA and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) in Ottawa, Canada, when researchers and ADOs from around the world committed to investing more financial and human resources to the cause.”

 
Values-based education is one more way to prevent doping, and one more way to encourage athletes to stay clean, to stay true to the spirit of sport. It is through this dedication, along with new and improved detection techniques, that the rights of clean athletes will continue to be upheld. WADA looks forward to collaborating with individuals and organizations the world over as we carry on developing new and innovative preventative education strategies.