Some say that the Olympic Games are still around today in part thanks to Richard Pound, one-time chancellor of McGill, founder of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Pound’s involvement in Olympic sports started when he was a swimming competitor – a double finalist — at the 1960 games in Rome. Two years later he won gold, two silvers and a bronze medal for Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
While still a student at McGill, Pound was invited to the position of secretary of the Canadian Olympic Committee and eventually became its president. He went on to take over the role of vice president of the International Olympic committee at the exceptionally young age of 36. At a time when the games were floundering economically, Pound built the event into a multi-billion dollar enterprise by branding and marketing the Olympic rings, and negotiating television and sponsorship deals around the world. Under his leadership, the IOC grew into one of the richest sports organizations in the world.
Pound’s defining achievement may be the World Anti-Doping Agency, which he founded in 1999. By 2003, the agency’s code had been adopted by all Olympic sports. With Pound as Chairman, WADA’s great success was to organize all anti-doping efforts under the same set of rules, eliminating confusion over which drugs are banned in which sports. WADA also funded some of the first scientific research into the effects of performance-enhancing drugs.
A lawyer by profession, Pound is a partner in the Montreal firm of Stikeman Elliott LLP, and is also the author of several books on legal history. In 1992, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1993 was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.