COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (MCT) Travis Tygart has been there through it all, quietly doing his demanding job and helping bring worldwide attention to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the first of its kind in America, where most Olympic athletes hadn't been drug-tested and those who had been caught were once slapped on the wrist.
Tygart, 36, is in his third month as USADA's chief executive officer, having replaced the retired Terry Madden after five years with the agency and two years as outside counsel to USADA, which opened its doors in Colorado Springs seven years ago.
He hasn't altered USADA's course of direction during a "good learning curve" but anticipates his duties as CEO will be different from Madden's because the worldwide anti-doping landscape has changed drastically since USADA was founded Oct. 2, 2000.
Chances are Tygart, a former Jacksonville, Fla., high school basketball coach and government teacher, will spend more time working with law-enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which made 124 arrests and seized 11.4 million doses of steroids at 56 labs in September in Operation Raw Deal, the largest steroids raid in U.S. history.
Tygart hopes to make USADA's education and prevention programs more effective to deter athletes who are tempted to dope and to do more to promote the accomplishments of athletes who have stayed clean.
He also wants to have "a little bit more of a presence in front of athletes to let them know there's a person at USADA, and it's somebody that's here for you."