A rival swimmer posted an open letter to retired Olympic champion Michael Phelps questioning the gold-medal winner’s recent efforts to combat doping in the sport.
Milorad Cavic, who Phelps memorably defeated in the 100 meter butterfly final by one one-hundredth of a second at the 2008 Olympic games, was skeptical of Phelps’ calls for reforming the drug testing system in swimming in a note Cavic published on Instagram and Twitter.
“Why you’re seeking reform now that you’re retired, and never before supported blood passports, is beyond us all, perhaps even convenient,” Cavic, who is also retired, wrote. “I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat, you’ve gradually improved your times throughout your career, but your recovery rate is nothing short of science fiction.”
Biological or blood passports allow officials to track biological markers in athletes’ blood over time in order to detect doping that might not otherwise appear in tests for banned substances.
At the hearing, Phelps says he was tested 13 times prior to the Rio Olympics, while some athletes weren’t tested at all, according to reports. Phelps said he wants them to “take this in a serious manner, because it is crushing sports.”
Phelps told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations he has a hard time understanding how athletes get around anti-doping tests and that when they do, it’s “disillusioning.”
Cavic didn’t contest the result when he came up short in the dramatic finish at the 2008 games. At the time, he said, “people will be bringing this up for years and saying you won that race. If we got to do this again, I would win it.”
The pair met again in 2009 at the world championships in Rome, where Phelps again emerged victorious.
In his note to Phelps on Thursday, Cavic urged the 23-time gold-medal winner to continue to fight doping.
‘I really do hope that you’ll stick with this, because incase our sons go pro some day, I’d like to think you made a difference,” Cavic wrote.