Last updated on: 4/15/2020 | Author:

Apr. 2020 – United States Anti-Doping Agency Trials Virtual Drug Testing

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) began a pilot program in late Mar. 2020 to test athletes without an in-person visit. While the program, called Project Believe 2020, was being discussed for months, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic caused the agency to roll out the trial more quickly to protect athletes and testers from exposure. The pilot program is expected to last eight weeks.

Athletes will get a testing kit in the mail. Then, on any day during a specified one-hour window, the athlete will get a video call from a tester. The athlete must show the tester their bathroom on video to show no one else is present, fill the provided container with urine off camera, and then use the provided temperature strip to show that the sample is fresh on camera. The athlete will then press a small device into their bicep to take a blood sample on camera. Both the urine and blood samples are sealed on camera and shipped to the USADA for testing.

Olympic athletes swimmer Katie Ledecky, runners Noah Lyles, Allyson Felix, Emma Coburn and Aliphine Tuliamuk, as well as about a dozen other athletes are part of the trial run.