Once again, the world is left searching for integrity in antidoping

By Gabe Baida

As Sunday’s closing ceremony signaled the end of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, the antidoping community once again took centerstage during these Olympics for all the wrong reasons.  

History once again has repeated for a system plagued by failure to protect, with athletes around the globe pleading for fairness and for the rights of those athletes who choose to compete clean. As athlete trust in a system designed to protect has once again been eroded, what can be done to rebuild a shattered confidence? 

It’s a simple question, unfortunately where no single simple answer applies. The challenges and inequities inherent in creating a uniform system across borders and around the world remain daunting. For athletes, the frustrations continue to mount, as the sporting culture continues to move further away from equity for the rights of all athletes with every new doping controversy. 

What can we learn from this latest incident where athlete distrust and discontent only grows? There’s absolutely no silver lining to the events of this year’s Games. However, athletes are now more united around the world than ever before in demanding accountability from their sport systems. Leaders are being challenged for transparency, as justice for all hangs in a precarious balance. 

As just one small role in the antidoping system, sample collection devices and procedures alone cannot solve these complex issues. But confidence – in any form – is one of the most valued traits for athletes and the sport systems in which they compete. 

Since its introduction in 2020, more than 50,000 SAFE System kits have been produced and distributed to secure athlete trust in antidoping around the globe. As we’ve learned over the last 18 months, confidence can take very important forms as athletes share with us the peace of mind the enhanced security our equipment offers.  

Now with the widespread availability of Dried Blood Spot testing devices available exclusively through an InnoVero partnership with Tasso, even more confidence for athletes can be created, through a less invasive, less painful, and far faster blood collection sample than traditional venous draws. Dried blood spot testing acceptance also means a far more efficient and cost-effective process for antidoping organizations and collection agencies, who continue to perform the irreplaceable and tireless work of protecting the integrity of sport. 

These remain challenging times for the global antidoping community. Being committed to solutions that drive innovation and confidence remain a top priority for us all, if we are to begin to truly rebuild trust.

Gabe Baida is Executive Director of InnoVero, a global sample collection device company committed to building trust through innovation.