Heat of doping battle got WADA official through cold winters

Tue Jun 7, 2016 2:15pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MONTREAL (Reuters) - For 13 winters it has been a thick jacket and heat of the battle that have provided warmth for David Howman, the World Anti-Doping Agency's director general, who has been a right-hand man for every WADA president.

The one constant in a sometimes fractured anti-doping movement, Howman does not measure his time at WADA in victories and defeats, success and failures, or even weeks and years.

For the long-serving director general, who will turn his downtown Montreal corner office packed with sporting memorabilia over to Olivier Niggli later this month, it is the harsh Canadian winters the affable New Zealander has used to mark time.

"The brutality of the winter sometimes gets me really depressed," smiled Howman, gazing out on a snowless vista. "I've never been dissatisfied with anything I have done in my life but I am highly satisfied with what I have been able to achieve here."

A lawyer by trade, Howman has been on the frontlines of the war against performance-enhancing drugs almost since the day the International Olympic Committee declared this was a fight that must to be won to protect the integrity of sport.

Over the years there have been chest-thumping victories and demoralizing setbacks.

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and former sprinter Marion Jones are two of the high-profile scalps snared in the anti-doping net but Howman signs off as WADA is on the back foot and world sport is facing an unprecedented drug crisis.

Russia, a sporting superpower, is accused of running a widespread and sophisticated state-sponsored doping program that may have fueled their Olympic ambitions for years.   Continued...

A woman walks into the head office for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on November 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo