Michael Phelps urges Congress to join fight against doping in sports

Michael Phelps led an Olympic contingent that testified at a congressional hearing Tuesday, with the famed swimmer talking about his frustration at the cloud of doping that continues to hover over sports.The most-decorated Olympian of all time — now retired...

Michael Phelps urges Congress to join fight against doping in sports

Michael Phelps led an Olympic contingent that testified at a congressional hearing Tuesday, with the famed swimmer talking about his frustration at the cloud of doping that continues to hover over sports.

The most-decorated Olympian of all time — now retired — Phelps was joined by shot putter Adam Nelson and officials from the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

“I can’t adequately describe how frustrating it is to see another athlete break through performance barriers in unrealistic time frames, knowing what I had to go through to do it,” Phelps told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

He added: “Even the suspicion of doping is disillusioning for clean athletes.”

International sport has found itself once again embroiled in doping controversy. Russia has come under particular scrutiny amid allegations of systemic cheating among athletes, coaches and government officials.

The country’s track team has been suspended from international competition, and much of its Olympic squad was barred from the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In a news release this week, the congressional subcommittee stated its intention to "examine the current state of the international anti-doping system, challenges it faces and ways it can be improved.”

Phelps emphasized the importance of the goal.

“If we allow our confidence in fair play to erode, we will undermine the power of sport, and the goals and dreams of future generations,” he said. “The time to act is now.”

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david.wharton@latimes.com

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