Armstrong’s confession boosts anti-doping

Waterloo Region Record  Wed Jan 16 2013  Page: D12  Section: SPORTS , Byline: Christine Rivet, Record staff 

Cyclist Lance Armstrong’s long-awaited confession will give anti-doping efforts a much-needed boost, Waterloo Region’s leading clean sport advocate says.

“I think it will be helpful for anti-doping efforts if the veil is lifted on this code of silence that permeates doping at all levels,” said Bob Copeland, the University of Waterloo‘s athletic director.

Copeland said he eagerly awaits Armstrong’s appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network on Thursday and Friday.

It has been widely reported Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, finally came clean following a decade of defiance, during an interview Monday with Winfrey.

“There have been so many examples of athletes who deny and later admit use, maybe this is a tipping point,” said Copeland.

“The message here is that no one, regardless of status or their influence, is immune from getting caught.”

Copeland emerged on the vanguard of a movement to shore up drug testing and anti-doping education for Canada’s university athletes following a steroid scandal on UW’s campus in 2010.

Nearly three years ago, Copeland ordered mandatory testing of UW’s football Warriors after police tipped him off when a team member had been arrested for possession of a large stash of anabolic steroids. The football Warriors’ blood and urine samples revealed one of the worst doping scandals in Canadian sports history: nine flunked drug tests, including the first North American athlete to test positive for human growth hormone.

Since then, Copeland has helped to launch a number of anti-doping task forces, a peer education project at local universities and a two-year anti-doping outreach program for local students in Grades 7 through 12.

Last year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s damning 1,000-page report accused Armstrong of masterminding the most sophisticated doping program cycling has ever seen.

Armstrong has since been stripped of his Tour titles and most of his endorsements. He has also resigned from Livestrong, a charity he founded to help cancer patients.

Since the Warriors’ drug scandal in March 2010, drug cheats have been nabbed from about a half dozen Canadian university football teams.

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