Dick Pound

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Dick Pound (2010)

Richard William Duncan "Dick" Pound, OC OQ (born March 22, 1942) is a Canadian lawyer of the law firm Stikeman Elliott, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) based in Montreal, and former chancellor of McGill University. He is a former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was a one-time candidate for the presidency of that organization.


Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Dick Pound was a swimming competitor at the 1960 Summer Olympics. Dick finished sixth in the 100 meter freestyle and was also on Canada’s fourth place relay team. He would later win a number of medals at the 1962 Commonwealth Games. Retiring from swimming, he accepted a role with the Canadian Olympic Committee and eventually became its president.

In 1978, Dick was elected to the International Olympic Committee and put in charge of negotiating television and sponsorship deals. Pound revolutionized the Olympic movement using such deals to transform the IOC into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. He became known as an outspoken critic of corruption within the IOC, while at the same time supporting the leadership of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. His criticisms were given a wide airing after the scandals surrounding the Salt Lake City Olympics broke, and he was then appointed head of the inquiry into the corruption. He also campaigned vehemently for stronger drug testing.

Pound has served as Chancellor of McGill University and is a partner in the law firm of Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montreal. He practises tax law. He is also the author of several books on legal history. He edits Pound’s Tax Case Notes, a review of tax-law court cases for lawyers. He did much of the reading of cases and the writing of the notes on international airplane flights to and from International Olympic Committee functions. He is a graduate of the McGill University Faculty of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of the McGill Law Journal.[1] With the retirement of Samaranch in 2001, he ran for president of the IOC, but the IOC chose Belgian Jacques Rogge. Pound finished third behind South Korean Kim Un-Yong, who was one of those found to have participated in the Salt Lake City scandals, and who was later prosecuted by the South Korean government.

Pound scaled back his involvement with the IOC and became head of WADA. In that role he oversaw an unprecedented toughening of the drug-testing regimen. Pound was an especially harsh critic of the Americans, arguing that there is widespread doping, especially amongst their track and field team. He also worked to expand WADA beyond the Olympics, calling on the major sports leagues to agree to WADA scrutiny. His allegations of widespread doping in professional bicycle racing at times brought WADA into fierce public conflict with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Pound's term as WADA president ended at the end of 2007; he chose not to run for another term.


In 1992, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1993 was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.

Pound was awarded the Gold and Silver Star of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the government of Japan in 1998.[2]

In 2008, he won the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award for his work at WADA.[3]

He is the Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Canadian Grenadier Guards (CGG).



Discussing the National Hockey League in November 2005, Pound said, “you wouldn’t be far wrong if you said a third of hockey players are gaining some pharmaceutical assistance."[4] Pound would later admit that he completely invented the figure.[5] Both the NHL and NHLPA have denied the claims, demanding Pound provide evidence rather than make what they term unsubstantiated claims. Since his comments were made, some NHL players have tested positive for banned substances, including Bryan Berard, José Théodore, and two of 250 players involved in Olympic testing. As of June 2006, there had been 1,406 tests in the program jointly administered by the league and the union, and none has come up with banned substances under NHL rules. Pound remained skeptical, claiming the NHL rules were too lax and unclear, as they do not test for some banned substance, including certain stimulants.[6] In an interview with hockey blogger, B. D. Gallof, of Hockeybuzz on December 19, 2007, Pound was asked to expand on the 30% comment and subsequent reaction, expounded that stimulants was "the NHL's drug of choice". He also cited that the NHL will have no credibility on a drug policy if it, and other sports, continue to run things "in-house".[7]

Lance Armstrong[edit]

In January 2004, Le Monde quoted Pound as saying that "the public knows that the riders in the Tour de France and the others are doping." This prompted a strongly worded rebuke from Lance Armstrong, who called Pound's comments "careless and unacceptable."[8] Pound said he was surprised by the personal nature of Armstrong's response because he had never mentioned the cyclist by name.

Around the same time, scientists at a French lab were using frozen urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France to find a new way of detecting erythropoietin (EPO), an oxygen-boosting agent. The samples did not have names attached to them, only numbers, and were provided for research purposes only. But an article in the August 23, 2005 edition of L'Équipe reported finding documentation linking the numbers with the riders, with the findings from the research with samples linked to Armstrong, claiming that six of his 15 samples showed traces of EPO. Pound told the media that there was "now an onus on Lance Armstrong and the others to explain how it is EPO got into their systems."[9]

The Union Cycliste Internationale launched an enquiry, led by lawyer Emile Vrijman, former head of the Netherlands’ antidoping agency (and later defense lawyer of athletes accused of doping). In his 132-page report,[10] leaked to the media on May 31, 2006, Vrijman said no proper records were kept of the samples and that there had been no chain of custody and no process to ensure that the samples had not been spiked with banned substances at the laboratory. The report was highly critical of WADA and Pound, concluding that they had specifically targeted Armstrong and the UCI. The report also called for an investigation to "focus on the communications between Dick Pound and the media" and recommended that no disciplinary action be taken against any athletes.

In response, Pound dismissed the Vrijman report as “so lacking in professionalism and objectivity that it borders on farcical.”[11] WADA released an official statement, criticising the Vrijman report as biased, ill-informed, speculative, and "fallacious in many aspects."[12]

On June 9, 2006, Armstrong sent an eight-page letter to Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, demanding that action be taken against Pound. He wrote that Pound was guilty of “reprehensible and indefensible” behaviour and "must be suspended or expelled from the Olympic movement". In February 2007, the IOC ethics committee recommended that Pound exercise greater prudence in his public pronouncements. It declined to move toward removing Pound as an IOC member, and found it had no jurisdiction over WADA. In response, Pound said he was accountable to WADA, not to the IOC.[13]

Walter Mayer[edit]

Based on information supplied by WADA, Italian police raided the rooms of Austria’s cross-country and Nordic skiing team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. Pound told reporters that blood-doping gear had been confiscated from the home of Austrian coach, Walter Mayer, a month earlier. Mayer brought defamation charges against Pound—and against IOC president Jacques Rogge—claiming that he had been slandered by their comments. Mayer withdrew his lawsuits in February 2007.

Floyd Landis[edit]

In January 2007, Pound responded to Floyd Landis' testosterone test following stage 17 of the Tour of France, an event (and a stage) which Landis initially won, but of which he was stripped after failing a dope case and losing at arbitration. Pound declared "I mean, it was 11 to 1!" referring to the testosterone-to-epitestosterone level. "You’d think he’d be violating every virgin within 100 miles. How does he even get on his bicycle?"[5]


In July 2007 former champion Gary Player went public with his views about drug taking in golf, a view endorsed by Pound.[14]

"Player has no particular axe to grind, other than to try and maintain the integrity of his sport. It is a wake-up call and the PGA need to act now while they still have the initiative, rather than being forced into it as a result of a scandal."

First nations comment[edit]

On August 9, 2008, during a conversation in French, when asked about whether the IOC was embarrassed to be affiliated with China's recent political history, he was quoted as replying: "We must not forget that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages, with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants of European origin, while in China, we're talking about a 5,000-year-old civilization."[15]

Two months later, the Aboriginal advocacy group LandInSights asked for him to be suspended from the International Olympic Committee for the remark. Pound responded that it was a clumsy remark that was taken out of context and that in the particular French expression used, "un pays de sauvages", the French sauvages was not equivalent to English "savages".[16]

Russia's anti-gay situation[edit]

On January 29, 2014, MetroNews.ca reported statements by Dick Pound that minimized official hostility toward and vigilante attacks on gay youth in Russia, because Russia doesn't execute or imprison people solely for being gay, and because the USA doesn't yet have equal marriage laws in every state.[17]


  1. ^ "Masthead, Volume 13". McGill Law Journal. 1967. 
  2. ^ L'Harmattan web site (in French).
  3. ^ 2008 Laureus World Sports Awards Winners | Laureus
  4. ^ "Dick Pound slams NHL's drug policy", CBC Sports, January 19, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Sokolove, Michael (January 7, 2007). "The Scold". New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Pound: NHL doping results meaningless," Canadian Press, June 13, 2006.
  7. ^ "[1]," Hockeybuzz, December 19, 2007.
  8. ^ Wilson, Stephen (March 6, 2004). "Armstrong offended by Pound's words". Hamilton Spectator. p. SP.07. 
  9. ^ Morris, Jim (August 24, 2005). "'Ritual denial' no good Pound; WADA boss calls for explanation; Still lot of holes in system, Scott says". Toronto Star. p. D3. 
  10. ^ Rapport Armstrong.indd
  11. ^ "Wada boss slams Armstrong 'farce'", BBC Sport, June 2, 2006.
  12. ^ "Official statement from WADA on the Vrijman report". 
  13. ^ Macur, Juliet (February 12, 2007). "Ethics rebuke for doping chief reignites a feud with Armstrong". New York Times. 
  14. ^ BBC Radio Five Live Saturday 21st July 2007: interview with Matt Williams/ Daily Telegraph Monday 23rd July 2007 Number 47,317 Page S9, article by Claire Middleton Player backed
  15. ^ "Aboriginal group demands IOC suspend Pound for 'savages' remarks". National Post. 17 October 2008. 
  16. ^ http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/story.html?id=1acb6487-4f6c-4e03-abf2-f18e880f2a0d
  17. ^ Langford, Dave (29 January 2014). "Sochi ‘anti-gay stuff’ overstated, IOC’s Dick Pound says". Metro News. Retrieved 29 January 2014. "In Malaysia, you can be put to death. ... So it’s a target of convenience with respect to Russia" 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Gretta Chambers
Chancellor of McGill University
Succeeded by
H. Arnold Steinberg