Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps has called for new leadership in the fight against doping in sports, a day after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) controversially reinstated Russia's scandal-plagued anti-doping agency.
The U.S. swimming champion, who won a record 23 Olympic gold medals from 2004 to 2016, said on September 21 that it was "sad to see" WADA lift its three-year-ban on RUSADA -- a move that paves the way for Russian athletes to return to international competitions.
"When is an organization going to fully take responsibility and take charge to change? Because that's not what sports is," Phelps said. "Sports aren't about putting performance-enhancing drugs in your body and standing up and performing."
WADA's former director-general, David Howman, also criticized WADA President Craig Reedle on the decision, saying he caved in to pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and international sports federations that are eager to stage events in Russia again.
"I am a little disappointed, to say the least," said Howman, who ran WADA from 2003 until 2016 and now heads the Athletics Integrity Unit. "It's money over principle."
WADA suspended RUSADA in November 2015 after revelations that it was involved in a state-run scheme that allowed Russian athletes to avoid drug tests at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
The suspension was lifted on September 20 after WADA's executive committee voted to declare Russia is in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, provided it allows access to laboratory data and samples in the future.