Rio Olympics 2016: Anti-doping needs overhaul - Hayley Wickenheiser

Hayley Wickenheiser
Hayley Wickenheiser is a four-time Winter Olympic gold medallist
Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC Four, Red Button and up to 24 HD video streams on mobile, desktop, connected TVs and app, plus follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary

Major changes to anti-doping procedures are needed after the Russian drugs scandal, an International Olympic Committee member has told the BBC.

Protecting clean athletes should be a priority, says former Canada ice hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, a six-time Winter Olympian.

The Rio 2016 Olympics start on Friday.

"There has to be a complete overhaul," said Wickenheiser. "I would love to see a completely independent body that takes care of anti-doping."

She added: "There's too many conflicts of interest that we have within the different bodies."

Wickenheiser's comments, in an interview with BBC sports editor Dan Roan, came as the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) responded to criticism from IOC president Thomas Bach about the timing of its McLaren report into Russian state-sponsored doping.

Bach insisted the IOC could not be held responsible for the timing of the report and the subsequent scramble to assess the eligibility of Russian athletes and suggested Wada could have acted sooner on evidence provided by Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova.

But Wada president Sir Craig Reedie defended the agency's response, saying it "acted immediately on allegations concerning Russia when it had corroborated evidence".

An IOC panel will rule which Russian athletes can take part in the Games, having initially stated individual sports' governing bodies must make the decision.

Wada had recommended all Russian athletes be excluded from Rio 2016, but weightlifting and athletics are the only sports to have imposed a blanket ban on competitors from the country.

More than 250 Russian athletes have so far been cleared by their sport's federations.

Graphic showing which Russian Olympic teams will be allowed to compete in Rio

Clean athletes deserved a stronger stance from the IOC, according to Wickenheiser.

"It's an unfortunate situation that was left to the last minute to be dealt with, which makes it very difficult for everyone involved," she said.

"The next step is to have a totally transparent system.

"I'd like to see more funding going into education. There's a lot going into research.

"In different countries in different parts of the world, doping is not viewed the same way as it is in, say, Canada where it's a big shame to be caught cheating at sport. In other countries it's sometimes a way out of a lifestyle they don't want to live."

Subscribe to the BBC Sport newsletter to get our pick of news, features and video sent to your inbox.

Top Stories