Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Olympic games feature UA professor working the site

Some professors will be taking the next week or so teaching class, grading papers and going to meetings around campus. Some may even turn on the TV after work to watch the Winter Olympics.

Ken Wright, however, has different plans.

Wright, a professor of sport management in the college of human environmental sciences, has been in Vancouver, British Columbia, since the beginning of February drug testing athletes competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Wright is currently working with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to administer various drug tests to athletes competing in the games. He has worked with the agency for 21 years.

“They are responsible for preserving integrity in the sport, and also holding athletes accountable to the rules of participation,” Wright said.

Wright said he is primarily working with the men’s speed skating teams. The first two weeks, Wright said over 800 athletes were tested. Over the course of the games, Wright said he and the team would test 1200-1500 athletes.

Over the course of the last week, the professor’s schedule has been filled throughout most of the working day, Wright said. From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Wright, along with a team of drug policy professionals, would head to the Richmond Olympic Oval to give blood screenings. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, primarily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the team would test the skating teams, while the rest of the evenings were spent waiting for the results to come back from the lab. Additionally, Wright and a few people would stay at the site as late as 11 p.m. to conduct random testing and oversee more results for any remaining athletes.

Although his time in Vancouver has been primarily giving drug tests, Wright said he has enjoyed himself with the little time he has to spent around the city.

“The hospitality here is wonderful,” Wright said.

However, Wright said the highlight of his stay has been working with many great athletes who, Wright considers, “are wonderful.”

Milla Boschung, dean of the college of human environmental sciences, said the department is more than appreciative of Wright’s accomplishments and efforts as an educator.

“We are very pleased that Dr. Ken Wright was selected to participate in the Olympics,” Boschung said. “It is quite an honor for him and for the college of human environmental sciences.”

This year’s Olympics, however, are not Wright’s first experience with the organization. Wright, in addition to this year’s games, worked in Salt Lake City, Utah during the 2002 Winter Olympics, as well as the summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

In a press release sent out in July 2008, Glen Werner Rosebloom, U.S. Olympic committee coordinator, said the opportunity to work the various sites at the Olympic games is great, but involves everything out of its workers.

“It’s a big thing to work for the Olympics, but big work,” Rosebloom said. “It’s not often glamorous, but it sure is fun to see your results.”

Wright has taught at the University for over 22 years, focusing primarily on sports management, athletic training and drug testing policies.

After working a number of years in the department of human performance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Wright came to UA in 1988, making the transition to academia, a decision he has never regretted.

“Alabama is a very special place to me,” Wright said. “I’ve had the great opportunity to work with a lot of wonderful colleagues here that enhance my ability.”

In addition to his work with the Olympics, Wright takes a group of 12-16 students each year on a trip to explore the numerous aspects of athletics management. During the May interim, Wright takes groups to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as well as Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a global view of the world of athletics,” Wright said.

Boschung said Wright’s relationship with the Olympics committee has been a boon for the University, especially the interim program Wright instructs.

“Dr. Wright has developed an excellent relationship with the U.S. Olympic Training Centers and offers an Interim course where he takes students in our Sport Management program to Colorado Springs each May, which has provided opportunities for our students and graduates of our program,” Boschung said.

Wright will also be working testing for the men’s gold medal ice hockey game on Feb. 28.

More to Discover