For the Olympic athletes who tested positive for banned substances at the Winter Olympics in Sochi last month, Dick Pound has a very simple message.
“If you fail a drug test, then you also fail an IQ test,” the former President of the World Anti-Doping Agency said during a recent telephone interview from his law office in Montreal.
A member of the International Olympic Committee who was once its vice-president and a candidate for its presidency, Pound will deliver two lectures here this week: one on March 13 as the keynote speaker at Kinesiology Research Day, and another on March 14 for the department’s distinguished speakers series.
His first, Building a Parallel Universe: The Fight Against Doping in Sport, will focus on how a separate governing body outside the traditional judicial system administers and enforces rules designed to eliminate the use of performance enhancing substances among international athletes.
Pound recently returned from Sochi, where a total of six athletes tested positive for substances ranging from nasal decongestants and allergy medications to nutritional supplements and blood boosters. He said in this day and age, there’s no reason for athletes, coaches and team doctors to claim ignorance about which substances are banned.
“You have to expect to be tested,” he said. “All of these substances are listed. If you’re paying any attention at all, then you know you’re taking something prohibited.”
His second lecture, called Paradigm Shift: The New Olympic Economics, will focus on how the games went “from rags to riches” by re-branding the five rings into an iconic image associated with international peace and aspiration.
“We went from not really knowing what the Olympic brand was, or how to promote it for sponsors and broadcasters to make it valuable for them, to creating something that just about everyone in the world recognizes,” he said. “The people we’ve surveyed have a remarkably consistent view of what it’s all about.”
Pound, who represented Canada as a swimmer at the 1960 Olympics and received an honorary degree from the University of Windsor, had the privilege of handing out the gold medals to the Canadian women’s hockey team after their epic comeback win over the U.S. But he said he didn’t attend the men’s game.
“I’m a jinx for them,” he quipped. “Every time I go to see them, they lose.”
Both of Pound’s lectures are in the Human Kinetics Building: the first on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in room 140, the second on Friday at noon in room 143.
Kinesiology Research Day is an opportunity for graduate, undergraduate, staff and faculty members to showcase the work they’ve done throughout the year. After Pound’s lecture on Thursday, posters describing their research will be set up in the building’s atrium for viewing. Awards will be presented to the top posters.