There is no meaningful association between an athlete having a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and winning a medal at the Olympic Games, according to a study carried out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study, conducted by WADA Medical Director, Dr. Alan Vernec, and WADA TUE Manager, David Healy, examined the prevalence of athletes with TUEs at the five summer and winter Olympic Games between 2010 and 2018 and looked for an association to determine if those with TUEs won more medals than those without.
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 Olympic Games provides a unique opportunity to analyze sport at the highest level with a clearly defined group of competing athletes.
“The data showed that the number of athletes competing with valid TUEs (in individual competitions) at the selected Games was less than 1%. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that there is no meaningful association between competing with a TUE and the likelihood of winning a medal.”
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