WADA grants title of “Founding President” to Richard Pound

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) Foundation Board (Board) unanimously passed a resolution during a hybrid meeting in Paris, France which bestows the title of WADA Founding President on Richard W. Pound in recognition of his enormous contribution to the protection of clean sport. This honorary position acknowledges, in particular, the part Mr. Pound played in WADA’s establishment in 1999 and the early years of the Agency’s existence as its first President.

Mr. Pound was present in Paris to accept the honor and a video tribute was presented to the Board, which under WADA Statutes, is open to the media and general public.

WADA President, Witold Bańka, said: “For 22 years, the name Dick Pound has been synonymous with WADA and its global mission for doping-free sport. During that time, Dick served the Agency in various capacities with integrity and diligence, not least as its first President from 1999 until 2007, ensuring that the first World Anti-Doping Code was developed, approved and implemented in 2004, meaning that for the first time, anti-doping rules were harmonized across sports and nations of the world.

“Even after concluding his term as President in 2007, Dick remained closely involved in WADA, continuing to serve on the Board and then, in 2015, leading a ground-breaking investigation that uncovered the details of an institutionalized doping scheme within Russian athletics, and led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency being declared non-compliant with the Code.

“Having served on the Board from 1999 to 2020, we considered how best to mark his incredible contribution and also retain his vast knowledge and expertise. This position of Founding President was established to acknowledge Dick’s unique place in the world of anti-doping and is a fitting way to highlight his work, which has been so crucial to the development of WADA’s work to protect athletes and clean sport around the world. For his lasting contribution to the integrity of sport, the world of sport owes Dick a huge debt of gratitude.”

Three-time Olympian and Chair of WADA’s Athlete Committee, Ben Sandford, said: “WADA recognizing Richard Pound by awarding him the title of Founding President is a richly deserved honor for someone who has shown incredible vision and leadership within WADA and the global anti-doping program. Athletes are better off as a result of his tireless work and sport is fairer. He has paved the way for us and we must continue to strive to make sport fair, just as he has done.”

On behalf of the Sport Movement, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, said: “Richard Pound has made a great contribution for the protection of clean athletes by fighting vigorously against doping. I could experience this first-hand in my early days as an IOC member when we were working together on the then Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code, the forerunner of the World Anti-Doping Code. There, I could appreciate his strong commitment to the integrity of sports and competitions and to the Olympic Values. This clear orientation has been and still is the guiding thread in all the positions he held, in particular as Founding President of WADA. The entire Olympic Movement owes him our gratitude for his outstanding contribution to the credibility of sport.”

On behalf of the Governments of the world, President of the Saudi Arabian Anti-Doping Committee, Dr. Mohammed Saleh Al Konbaz, said: “Mr. Pound is a man with a vision. A lawyer by profession, swimming champion and the Agency’s first President, he was instrumental in the establishment of WADA 22 years ago. Mr. Pound is known as the go-to man in our orbit. Even after ending his term as president, we regularly sought his expertise, especially in complex situations. I am honored to have spent most of my time here in WADA watching Mr. Pound in action, sitting beside him in meetings, and sharing ideas and opinions.”

In accepting the honor, Mr. Pound said: “This is a special day for me and I thank everyone connected with it for making it possible. WADA is now in its third decade of exemplary service in support of clean sport. It has developed into an organization known throughout the world for its competence and its commitment to protecting clean athletes from being cheated out of their results by doped athletes and their enablers.

“For WADA to have managed to come into existence in the first place and to have progressed so far, so quickly are remarkable achievements, of which we should all be proud. We have succeeded because we know that what we do is important, that WADA’s objectives are crucial for sport, the athletes who compete and for society in general, plus the fact that as a work in progress, we constantly strive to be an even better organization.

“I am proud of WADA’s success and of all the people who have made that success possible. Together, we have demonstrated that sport and the Public Authorities can work together for a common objective. I am convinced that, if we continue to do so in the years to come, together, we will become even better and the goal of fully clean sport will come even closer.”

While the position carries no voting rights, in this capacity Mr. Pound will be invited to major WADA events, such as the World Conference on Doping in Sport. At the discretion of the WADA President, Mr. Pound may also attend other WADA meetings or events and may be invited to contribute to discussions on specific issues for which sharing his expertise and historical knowledge would be beneficial.

A swimmer, who represented his native Canada at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Italy, and won four medals at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, Mr. Pound applied the same commitment and will to win when it came to protecting sport. With integrity, honesty and an unparalleled knowledge of the subject, he navigated this complex and often difficult world, putting WADA on a firm footing in the early years and helping to strengthen the global anti-doping system thereafter.

Photo: https://olympic.ca

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