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Georgetown Law Library

Olympics and International Sports Law Research Guide

This guide is for researching the legal aspects of the Olympic Games. General international sports law resources are also included.


Much of the controversy surrounding the Olympics and sports in general is related to doping. Doping is the use of prohibited substances to enhance performance in sports. This section provides an overview of the legal responses to this issue.


The World Anti-Doping Agency was established pursuant to the Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sport and is organized ,to promote and coordinate at the international level the fight against doping in sport in all its forms (see article 4, no. 1 of the WADA's Constitutive Instrument). WADA cooperates in this endeavor with the IOC, the NOCs, the IFs and national anti-doping organizations.

WADA monitors compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the worldwide standard for anti-doping regulations. More than 630 sport organizations and national anti-doping agencies have adopted the Code. The Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport is a non-binding political document through which governments signal their intention to formally recognize and implement the World Anti-Doping Code. Neither the code nor the declaration are formal treaties.

The World Anti-Doping Code works with five international standards. The annually updatedProhibited List is one of these standards and it spells out precisely which substances are banned from use by athletes in sporting events. Enforcement under the Code is accomplished through sanctions (see articles10-12 of the code) .


This selective list of national anti-doping agencies highlights those agencies with a strong Web presence. WADA provides a useful list of national organizations that have adopted the code. WADA also has some foreign legislation related to anti-doping. Please note that each sport federation also has regulations regarding doping.