In light of this weekend’s Kentucky Derby, we talked with John Wendt, JD, associate professor in the ethics and business law department about his research in equestrian sports. His article “The FEI and The Continuing Fight Against Doping in Equestrian Sport” was recently accepted for publication by the International Sports Law Journal.
Q. Why is the fight against doping in equestrian sport significant?
A. Protecting the health and well-being of athletes is essential. The fight against doping in sport is based on the fundamental assumption that athletes want to compete on a fair and level playing field free of performance enhancing substances. The fight against doping goes to the very heart and soul of sport, that is, the integrity of sport.
Most recently I looked at issue of performance enhancing drugs in equestrian sport. Either because of confusion or deliberate actions, a number of horses have tested positive and have been disqualified with embarrassing results. Equestrian sport is also unique because it involves animal and human athletes working together as a team and there is recognition that horses are competitive athletes who deserve the greatest care and whose welfare is paramount.
Q. Why is this topic of interest to you?
A. I was incredibly fortunate to be a competitive athlete. My graduate training is in law and sports and I am also fortunate to serve on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The CAS is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland and is often referred to as “sport’s supreme court.” It has only about 300 arbitrators from 87 countries, chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and sports law. (more…)