Professor Arne Ljungqvist has dedicated more than 45 years in the fight against doping and is one of the worlds most renown doping experts. He is a professor in medicine and competed himself in the Olympic games in Helsinki 1952 as a high jumper. Injuries put a halt on this athletic career and instead he started to study medicine at the Karolinska Institute where he later worked as a professor.
When Professor Ljungqvist returned to the world of sports in the early 70’s after his medical studies, he realized how widespread doping was within competitive sports.
“The first thing I noticed was how healthy athletes, men and women, were allowed to take anabolic steroids and no one had the knowledge about the side effects. With my background within the medical field I understood how dangerous this could be and that anabolic steroids could cause serious side effects. However, despite that it was perfectly legal to take the drugs and it was not even seen as immoral.”
In the early 1970s international associations were still passive, it was only at the Olympic Games that doping controls were conducted. At Ljungqvist’s initiative, rules and doping controls were introduced in Sweden as an initial attempt to come to terms with the problem. In 1976, he was elected to the International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) and was commissioned to form the antidoping activity of the federation. He soon realized that an independent anti-doping organization, supported by the entire sports world and the international legal community, was needed. This resulted in the formation of WADA – World Anti-Doping Agency – in 1999. WADA has its base in Montreal, Canada. In 2008-2013 he was the vice chairman.
Professor Ljungqvist has also been the chairman of the Swedish Sports Confederation and the Swedish Athletic Association, as well as the chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), WADA Medical Commission and Swedish Cancer Society. He is now an honorary member of the IOC. In 2011, he started his own foundation, Professor Arne Ljungqvist’s Anti-Doping Foundation and has been its chairman since then.