CEO Sydney

Expert opinion: What about athletes’ right to privacy?

Paul Dimeo looks at another side of the anti-doping fight, the right to privacy for athletes

Expert Opinion: What About Athletes’ Right To Privacy?

The disappointment shows on Lizzie Armitstead’s face she crossed the line in fifth in the women’s Olympic road race. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Lizzie Armitstead1 almost lost her place in the Olympics2 after missing three anti-doping tests. She found herself under pressure to explain the reasons, which included a personal family matter. While much of the debate focused on the consistency of the appeals process, the reality hardly discussed is the level of personal surveillance to which athletes are subjected and the invasion of their privacy unparalleled in any other walk of life. An athlete selected for the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) must register a time slot of one hour per day between 5am and 11pm during which they can be found and potentially tested.

They must be in that location for the full hour, but can inform their national anti-doping3 authority of any last-minute changes to their plans. (Any athlete can be randomly drug-tested, not just those on the RTP.)

The test involves the humiliating process of urinating in front of a drugs control officer, who is closely positioned to ensure the urine leaves the body without any form of interference. There is no minimum age (under-18s can have a chosen representative present). All athletes have their urine and blood samples scrutinised.

Read more about Lizzie Armitstead s case

Personal bodily functions are examined, assessed and, if any problem found, turned into a public spectacle and examination that questions their morals and self-discipline. Athletes must also declare any form of medical drug they are taking, thus allowing access to their personal lives and potentially embarrassing illnesses or (legal) substance use. Any missed test or suspicious finding can lead to demands for an explanation. It could be a tough choice: publicly confess all or get banned.

Is this intrusion into an athlete s personal life justifiable? Few if any other professions have such extreme requirements. Athletes have no choice but to accept a surveillance system that is a more or less full-time monitoring of their public and private behaviours: all in the name of clean sport. Yet the vast majority of athletes are clean at least, they are according to WADA s testing statistics and evidence suggests the real cheats continue to beat the system.

In a civilised society, should we accept such blatant infringements of basic rights to dignity and privacy?

Paul Dimeo is a lecturer in sports policy at the University of Stirling.

He has a special interest in anti-doping policy


  1. ^ Lizzie Armitstead (
  2. ^ Olympics (
  3. ^ doping (

Bing To Use Location for RTBF

Bing has expanded the scope of our Right to be Forgotten (RTBF) filtering in Europe. In the past, when Bing accepted an RTBF request, the URL would be delisted from all applicable European versions of Bing (such as,, for searches of the requestor s name. Going forward, in addition to this practice, Bing will also use location-based signals (e.g., IP addresses) to delist the relevant URL on all versions of Bing, including, for any user accessing Bing from the European country where the request originated. For example, if someone in France successfully requests delisting of a URL on Bing, in addition to delisting that URL from all applicable European versions of Bing, Bing will now also delist that URL for all searches of that person s name regardless of what version of Bing is being used if the search originates from a location within France. This change will be applied to all valid European RTBF requests, including those we received prior to making this change.

Our decision to expand the scope of RTBF filtering reflects recent developments in the European data protection regulatory environment, and these steps are in line with the broader industry.

We believe our updated process will enhance the privacy protections requested by European regulators, balanced against the need to protect the rights of our users to free access to lawful content.

– The Bing Blog Team

Esteban Chaves: ‘It’s only a bike race’

Despite losing the Giro d’Italia on the final climbs of the three week race, Esteban Chaves is keeping things in perspective

Esteban Chaves: ‘It’s Only A Bike Race’

Photo: Graham Watson

Colombian Esteban Chaves lost the pink jersey and his chance to win the Giro d Italia1 on stage 20 in the sun-soaked Alps above Turin, Italy. In the final mountain stage, he could not follow Vincenzo Nibali2 (Astana) and slipped to second overall, but says, It s only a bike race.

Orica-GreenEdge3 s captain, winner of the Corvara stage last week, took the pink jersey lead on stage 19 by 44 seconds. On stage 20 he struggled to follow Nibali s attacks and lost 1-36 by Sant Anna di Vinadio. His parents, who arrived from Colombia yesterday, congratulated Nibali and comforted Chaves.

This is the first time for my parents here in Europe, the first time for me with the pink jersey, 26-year-old Chaves said. That s the biggest thing for me in life.

We only lost a bike race. Chaves slipped behind on the Colle della Lombarda climb and never recovered. Nibali had first launched with teammate Michele Scarponi and then joined Tanel Kangert, who dropped back from an early escape.

>>> Five talking points from stage 20 of the Giro d Italia4

We are happy nonetheless, we gave the most we could. Today, Nibali and Scarponi showed they are the best. I didn t have the legs. Life is like that, that s it, Chaves said showing no sign of disappointment in the mix of journalists.

Yeah I had to take antibiotics, but that s not an excuse. I m not a guy who says it was for this or that reason, no, simply that I didn t have the legs.

That s it.

The bike that almost took Chaves to overall glory

Chaves made his mark in the grand tours last year when he won two stages and placed fifth overall in the Vuelta a Espa a5. The breakthrough marked a comeback after a crash in February 2013 that ripped his axillary nerve apart completely and the suprascapular nerve partially.

I learned in this Giro that you can reach your dreams, Chaves added. If you keep going hard, don t give up, you can do it. He could have become only the second only Colombian to win the Giro d Italia after Nairo Quintana6 (Movistar) won in 2014. Quintana this year is aiming for the Tour de France7 and Chaves is returning home to prepare for a likely run at the Vuelta.


  1. ^ Giro d Italia (
  2. ^ he could not follow Vincenzo Nibali (
  3. ^ Orica-GreenEdge (
  4. ^ >>> Five talking points from stage 20 of the Giro d Italia (
  5. ^ Vuelta a Espa a (
  6. ^ Nairo Quintana (
  7. ^ Tour de France (