The U.S. is close to passing the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act, the most important piece of anti-doping legislation since the ratification of the International Convention against Doping in Sport, and clean athletes like us are depending on it.
As Olympian cross-country skiers, we have seen sport's potential to inspire, to bridge divides and to be a global force for good. Sport lifts us to our feet, gives us hope and fierce determination. In a world that can feel disconnected and lonely, sport reminds us of how alike we are in our hopes and dreams. We all aspire to greatness, to be better today than we were the day before, to challenge ourselves to become the best versions of us that we can be.
Sport gives us something to believe in.
However, we have also seen the way sport can be corrupted and manipulated for political and personal gain. It has been crushing to dedicate our lives to the pursuit of excellence only to learn time and again that our competitors are cheating. It is horrifying to watch the sport we love and hold so dear be labeled by some as "dirty," "a sport for dopers."
It is our biggest hope that every generation of athletes can toe the starting line with faith that they are on a level playing field, that hard work is all it takes. We want fans to cheer without reservation and to passionately follow athletes from every country without an asterisk by any name.
The global anti-doping system, though well-intentioned, has failed to stem the tide of doping conspiracies that have undermined confidence in international sport. The current system does not have the power nor the independence to counter state-sponsored programs that corrupt the Games we hold so dear.
The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act will bring the power of federal law enforcement to the fight for clean sport. The bill will criminalize international doping conspiracies, protect brave whistleblowers who expose malicious behavior, require information sharing between law enforcement and anti-doping authorities, and allow athletes like us to seek restitution when we are defrauded by cheaters.
These changes cannot come soon enough. Although the coronavirus is forcing the cancellation of sporting events worldwide, including this week's Parallel 45 Minnesota World Cup, it won't be long before the world's best athletes are back to captivating audiences and inspiring young people across the globe.
When the action does resume, we need the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act to restore trust in the system and do justice by clean athletes.
In October, the U.S. House took a step toward restoring the ideals of clean sport by passing the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act with unanimous support. With the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games only four months away and another Winter Games in less than two years, the time for the Senate to follow suit is now.
We believe the spirit of sport is best exemplified by the girls and boys who jumped up and down on the couch in their pajamas while watching the Olympics on TV. They ran outside, strapped skis to their feet and scooted in circles around their snowy backyards, waving their hands in the air as they imagined crossing the finish line themselves. We believe in protecting those future Olympians, and the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act will ensure that the future of their sport is clean.
Jessie Diggins is an Olympic gold medalist and world champion cross-country skier from Afton, Minn. On Twitter: @jessdiggs. Noah Hoffman is an Olympic cross-country skier and clean-sport advocate from Aspen, Colo. To reach him with questions about the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act or about how to support clean sport, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.