WADA: No link between TUE use and medals

A World Anti-Doping Agency study has found no meaningful association between an athlete having a Therapeutic Use Exemption and winning an Olympic medal.

Therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) are special permissions granted by anti-doping organisations that allow an athlete to use a prohibited substance as long as there is a legitimate medical need.

The study, conducted by WADA medical director, Dr. Alan Vernec, and WADA TUE manager, David Healy, looked at five summer and winter Games between 2010 and 2018 and aimed to determine if those with TUEs won more medals than those without.

During the Olympics analysed - Vancouver 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 - WADA said athletes competed with a TUE in 0.9% of athlete competitions and won 21 medals.

The risk ratio for winning a medal with a TUE, according to WADA, was 1.13.

Dr. Vernec said: "The percentage of athletes with TUEs competing in elite sport and the association with winning medals has been a matter of speculation in the absence of validated competitor data.

""The data showed that the number of athletes competing with valid TUEs (in individual competitions) at the selected Games was less than one per cent. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that there is no meaningful association between competing with a TUE and the likelihood of winning a medal."