The New Zealand Olympic Committee has condemned the actions of Russian hackers Fancy Bears, the organisation illegally obtaining and leaking the confidential therapeutic use exemption (TUE) information of a significant number of Olympic athletes, including most recently New Zealand gold medallists Mahe Drysdale and Peter Burling.
The New Zealand Olympians whose confidential records were released overnight had received legitimate TUE’s for properly diagnosed medical conditions, according to a strict standard governed by the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA.
TUE’s allow athletes with medical conditions to be able to use substances on the prohibited list in a limited and closely controlled manner. TUE applications require full supporting medical information surrounding the condition. Exemptions are then granted by an independent committee of highly qualified sports physicians and, except in emergencies, they are approved in advance.
The process is confidential with information shared only with WADA and the relevant sporting bodies i.e. the International Federation and, in the case of the Olympics, the IOC.
NZOC President Mike Stanley says it is regrettable that confidential medical records have been publically disclosed.
”TUE’s are part of the anti-doping system,” he said, "it is to be expected that some of our athletes will need medical treatment and the necessary exemptions, but what we are concerned about is the illegal releasing of personal athlete information that was held in confidence by WADA.
”These disclosures are designed to undermine the credibility of the world anti-doping system at this critical time. In fact what they serve to do is demonstrate the system working properly to assist clean sport.”
"While scrutiny of the anti-doping process is critical to a robust system, we believe athletes should have confidence that their confidential information remains just that."
Referring to the statements made by Mahe Dysdale and Peter Burling to the media this morning, Stanley said;
“Mahe and Peter have provided a great example – they have nothing to hide and we expect that of all other athletes."
The New Zealand Olympic Committee, as a signatory to the WADA code fully supports WADA in its fight against doping in sport and recognises the excellent work done by Drug Free Sport New Zealand in support of our clean athletes.