Venus Williams has issued the following statement in response to Tuesday’s hack on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s databases, which led to the public release of her confidential medical data:
“I was disappointed to learn today that my private, medical data has been compromised by hackers and published without my permission. I have followed the rules established under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program in applying for, and being granted, ‘therapeutic use exemptions’.
“The applications for TUEs under the Tennis Anti-Doping program require a strict process for approval which I have adhered to when serious medical conditions have occurred. The exemptions posted in the hacked report are reviewed by an anonymous, independent group of doctors, and approved for legitimate medical reasons. I am one of the strongest supporters of maintaining the highest level of integrity in competitive sport and I have been highly disciplined in following the guidelines set by WADA, USADA, the ITF and collectively the Tennis Anti-Doping Program.”
Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, issued a statement denouncing the hack and supporting the athletes.
“It’s unthinkable that in the Olympic movement, hackers would illegally obtain confidential medical information in an attempt to smear athletes to make it look as if they have done something wrong. The athletes haven’t. In fact, in each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to the global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication. The respective International Federations, through the proper process, granted the permission and it was recognized by the IOC and USADA.”
WTA CEO Steve Simon also condemned the hackers actions.
“The tennis anti-doping programme procedures are very strict and are fully supported by our athletes. These procedures allow for an athlete to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) when there is a legitimate need because of a medical condition. A TUE can only be granted by an independent medical panel which reviews each application as a separate case. These criminal acts are a violation of privacy and have wrongly called into question the reputation of athletes who have followed the rules to ensure that the highest level of integrity is maintained in our sport. We fully support WADA’s efforts in its investigation with relevant law enforcement authorities.”