The Need for WADA to Address Confidentiality Leaks in Drug Testing in Olympic Sports - The Ian Thorpe Situation


Ethics and Business Law

Date of this version


Document Type



confidentiality, WADA, anti-doping, Ian Thorpe


Ian Thorpe is one of the greatest swimmers of all-time. He has won more international championship medals than any other Australian swimmer in history, including five gold medals in two Olympic Games. Thorpe has also been one of the leading opponents of doping. But, that reputation was tarnished when someone leaked confidential information to Damien Ressiot, a journalist for the French newspaper, L’Equipe, who accused Thorpe of committing a doping offense. For Ian Thorpe, there were two volatile issues - first, the truth of the allegations, and second the breach of confidentiality of his personal records.

Confidentiality is at the heart of any drug testing program. Names should not be revealed, unless it is firmly and legally established that a doping offense has been committed. A breach of confidentiality and media leaks undermine the entire system. It is essential that there is confidentiality throughout the whole process until there is a finding that an individual has in fact committed a doping offense. This comment looks at the breach of confidentiality of Ian Thorpe’s records, and the need for WADA to act to remedy the problem.

Published in

International Sports Law Journal

Citation/Other Information

3 4 47-54
The International Sports Law Journal 2010, No. 3-4