For as long as there have been organized competitive sports, there have been cheaters trying to beat the system. Ancient Greek Olympians would sabotage their opponents’ equipment, attempt to inflict bodily harm before the event and even invoke the gods’ wrath to jinx them.
And while athletes were punished for cheating by being publicly flogged, beaten, or even barred from a contest, that didn't stop them from trying back then, and current punishments definitely haven't stopped them today. Fast forward two thousand years and the competitive drive to win at all costs is as steadfast, organized, and determined as ever, utilizing infinitely more sophisticated tools and techniques. This ongoing challenge prompted Major League Baseball and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to engage Boombang to develop a truly tamper-resistant and tamper-evident doping control system under the new InnoVero brand (an independent joint venture of MLB and USADA).
To protect the integrity and reputation of clean athletes on a global scale, Boombang worked closely with InnoVero to understand the core challenges to this complex problem. We knew that simply creating a stronger, more tamper-resistant bottle wasn't going to be enough. This was, in many ways, equivalent to an arms race where no matter what we did, offenders would attempt to circumvent our efforts and eventually find ways around them.
Instead, we needed to take a systematic approach to ensure sample integrity throughout the chain of custody while also improving the user experience for athletes, doping control officers (DCOs), and the labs that test the samples. Essentially, before we could innovate on a product level, we had to design a process that was several steps ahead of the cheaters at all times.
That innovation process started with creative collaboration. We immersed ourselves in doping control for multiple months, working with a variety of stakeholders to devise an intuitive, efficient, and secure system.
Through months of interviews, focus groups, surveys, and detailed studies of the current equipment, we built a comprehensive sample collection and transport system that is easier to use and uniquely reflective of the various needs of the many stakeholders, from athletes to sports federations, anti-doping organizations, DCOs, and labs.
From athletes, laboratories, DCOs, and stakeholders, our collaborative process allows global sports to focus on the specific needs and stringent guidelines of anti-doping organizations by providing complete confidence in their effectiveness.
But that’s just the beginning. By creating a superior suite of products and processes, we’re collectively redefining collection equipment standards that improve foundational elements to the anti-doping system, while creating functional solutions to complex problems. All while restoring the faith and trust of athletes first.
The most recent and significant doping penalty recorded was in December 2019 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) unanimously ruled to ban Russia from international competition for four years, including the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
This is only the latest punishment for Russia, resulting from their organized doping scheme to cheat prior to and during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The scheme included Russian FSB (formerly KGB) agents systematically helping Russian athletes defeat a supposedly tamper-proof anti-doping bottles, swapping out doped urine for clean samples.
The scandal not only besmirched the integrity of the Olympics as a whole, it highlighted an embarrassing ongoing inability by WADA and the entire anti-doping community to create systems and processes that prevented athletes from cheating to win.
While Russia is the most public offender, there are many other dirty athletes and programs throughout the world contributing to the problem. All of this points to a need for more robust anti-doping to protect the rights of clean athletes and fair sport.