Monday, Apr. 18, 2005

Richard Pound

Pound: It's an appropriate surname for the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Then again, so would be harass, rebuke, scold, and generally-makes-a-pain-in-the-ass-of-himself, although the latter would look awkward on a business card. The relentless Dick Pound, 63, has been a prime mover in freeing the Olympic world from the taint of illicit, performance-enhancing drugs, and he isn't going to stop until he has all the world's sports in the tent. "Antidoping," he says, "is now the most important issue we face." WADA nailed 25 dopers at the Athens Olympics, a record, even as athletes prowl for new designer drugs to fool the testers.

As a teenager, Pound swam at the 1960 Rome Games but didn't medal. Since then, he has won the administrative medley. As Olympic marketing boss, he helped reverse the I.O.C.'s fortunes by getting NBC to pay $2.3 billion for rights to the '04, '06 and '08 Games. He chaired an I.O.C. panel investigating bribery from cities seeking to play host to the Games: six I.O.C. members were booted, four resigned. It cost Pound friends in the I.O.C. and most likely the presidency."It had to be done, or there wouldn't be an I.O.C. today," he says.

Pound's criticism of the U.S. track federation has angered some officials who feel he convicts athletes before all the facts are in. He has also criticized baseball's steroid policy. "In the older program, you had to hold up the liquor store five times instead of four (to be banned for life)," he says. "That's not much improvement." That's Dick Pound. -Reported by Mary Jollimore

From the Archive
This Is Your Nation on Steroids: Why does a performance-enhanced society scorn performance-enhanced athletes?