Bolstering Fairness in Sports

  • Prosperity
  • 2017

When physician Gregory Rodchenkov, runner Yuliya Stepanov, and sports-training official Vitaly Stepanov told reporters about the massive program they had participated in to give Russian athletes an advantage in international competitions by feeding them steroid cocktails and other illegal performance aids, they made themselves unemployable. They also took their lives in their hands. The Russian government vilified them and accused them of treason, in a time when numerous dissenters and whistleblowers against the Russian government have mysteriously died.

To better support individuals from around the world who report illegal doping and other violations of fair play in international sports competitions, a new nonprofit was incorporated in the U.S. in 2017 with support from donors. The charity Fair Sport aims to raise around $4 million every year in voluntary contributions, plus pro bono legal hours donated by a range of law firms, so it can offer direct support to whistleblowers. Fair Sport will not conduct any investigations—instead referring those who come forward to national and international sports regulators—but it will lend legal assistance to those who hand over evidence, provide housing and immigration to informants who must go into hiding (as Rodchenkov and the Stepanovs did in the U.S.), and offer therapy, criminal defense, and practical help in starting a new life.