Friday, July 27, 2012

Tennis and the Beijing Olympics (Update #3)

I posted the data below back in February, but since the London Games are upon us it makes sense to revisit the facts. The graph and table show that the out-of-competition doping control by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics was ineffectual.

A paltry 23 out-of-competition (OOC) tests were conducted during the 7 months leading to the Beijing Games. The remaining 87 (i.e., 79.1 percent) of OOC tests took place between September and December: After the US Open, Olympic Games, and pretty much everything else. Do these numbers give you confidence that the tennis at the 2008 Games was clean?

I wonder what the distribution will look like for 2012? And since the ITF has stopped publishing detailed anti-doping statistics, will we ever find out?











The ITF conducted only 23 out-of-competition tests leading up to the Beijing Olympics.



Data Source: ITF


Update #1: Here's an informative article about substances/methods used for doping. It notes that 1001 drugs tests have been conducted at the London Games since July 16th (2 positive tests announced so far), 715 urine tests and 286 blood tests.


Update #2: Sprinter Tameka Williams, from St. Kitts, has been withdrawn from the Olympics after admitting to using a banned substance.


Update #3: Swimmer Ye Shiwen says: "There is no problem with doping, the Chinese team has a firm policy so there is no problem with that."

63 comments:

  1. For those interested, more details on the WADA's new HGH test:

    "The test does not detect HGH directly, but rather looks for an unnatural increase in two markers -- insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and another substance (called P3NP) that is produced when bone or collagen is formed -- that occurs after injection of HGH."

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/olympics/2012/writers/david_epstein/07/27/london-olympics-drug-testing/index.html#ixzz21q0LUKT5

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    1. One key bit in that piece is when Bowers was talking about micro-dosing. He alluded to a fear that micro-dosing may not be detected by the biomarker test, but he was quick to say that if you're taking a small enough dose to avoid detection by the new test then it won't benefit you anyway. I wonder if he's mixing strengh-building sessions with recovery in that discussion. The micro-doses that will avoid detection may not be large enough to build up, but they may still allow for recovery of micro-tears (microtrauma).

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    2. That's quite interesting if they have something that is picking up IGF-1. That might explain why Nadal would skip out, as I think that HGH and IGF-1 are the "special ingredients" in his PRP treatments. Or maybe he's just saving himself for the big tournament in Cincy.

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    3. I agree. There is just too much chance of a slip up for Nadal at the Olympics. (there is no doubt the "PRP" treatments are a ruse to use IF1 or IGF2 for strength enhancement).

      So he just uses the old "I am not 100% fit" BS again. Of course he was moving fine in his last match (as he always was in previous "injured knees" withdrawals).

      Predictions,
      - Nadal will show no signs of knee tendonitis at the USO (no "rust", no limping, no legitimate MTOs, no wincing),
      - Nadal's "magic serve" will come back for the USO (multiple 120+ mph average first serve matches)

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    4. I get that people are suspicious of Nadal's injury claims, but it seems much more plausible to me that he is using illegal means to recover from these problems, not that he's making it all up. People have been saying his body would break down due to his style of play for many years now, so it isn't as though injuries are unexpected for him. It's more of a surprise that he's lasted this long, and I find that longevity more suspicious.

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  2. Sen, I think you asked this question before, but I'll ask again anyway :)

    Why would WADA release such detailed information on this new test? It's akin to the cops saying "Don't try to rob this bank on Main Street on Sunday between midnight-3am using the front door, all of our policemen be watching it"

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    1. Apparently, David Howman was asked about the state of the new HGH test by Bonnie Ford during his Olympic press conference. He gave the answer.

      Would he have volunteered the information if not asked the question? We'll never know.

      But remember, this test has been in the works for a while, and got pretty decent media coverage last fall.

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    2. Will tennis players even be tested at the Games?

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  3. This blog is through a nice to meet new people and their land, culture and nature. Come and look at you Teuvo Kuvat - Teuvo images, both at the same time will be my blog collection flag depicting your country's flag to rise higher. You should also tell all your friends to my blog by fermentation. Teuvo Vehkalahti Finland

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    1. Yes, blogging by fermentation is the only way to blog...

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    2. Perhaps he's blogging after consuming certain products of fermentation. That would explain a lot.

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    3. This guy's clearly on the wrong website or spamming for his own blog, should just delete this sort of crap.

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  4. Phillip Kohlschreiber can be added to the list of Olympics withdrawals. After losing the final in Kitzbuehel today against Robin Haase he withdrew saying he has a hamstring injury. Very strange that he would play a tournament so close to the Olympics. I don't buy his story. I'm not saying he's doping but it's very odd all the same.

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    1. There's an odd story there, related to the German Olympic committee screwing up, and Kohlschreiber committing to play Kitzbuhel before he knew he was in the Olympics - his sponsor is also the Kitz sponsor. Oh, and it's also a rather large gambing company, but that's another (interesting) story.

      Kavcic, Klizan and Haase were in the same position - Haase won the event, Klizan made semis, and Kavcic blatantly tanked out first match. Ironically, he was drawn as Kohlschreiber's round 1 opponent in London :-)

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  5. Sen I thought you might find this interest. UFC is a sport that clearly has problems with PED usage

    "Both B.J. Penn and Rory MacDonald have agreed to undergo extensive drug testing for eight weeks prior to their fight in Toronto on 9/22, the first UFC fighters who have agreed to undergo VADA drug testing. Penn has always been believed to have been and insisted he was PED free and it's been a topic he's talked about for years."

    http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/118-daily-updates/26749-fri-update-full-weekend-schedule-ufc-on-fox-will-wwe-sign-dg-star-new-ufc-card-and-main-event-announced-what-wwe-star-said-if-he-wasnt-wrestling-hed-be-in-nfl-biggest-star-in-ufc-history-ufc-stars-agree-to-extensive-drug-testing

    http://www.espn.co.uk/ufc/sport/story/162310.html

    It'd be amusing if someone were to challenge tennis, cycling, swimming and track starts to almost continuous dope testing for 8 weeks before a big tournament or race.

    Regarding the HGH test - does anyone think that Nadal might have been tipped off about it before the WADA announcement and hence the withdrawal? The British cyclists certainly looked to have scaled back their doping.

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    1. Another good one on MMA is this piece on TUEs for testosterone:

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/ben_fowlkes/07/19/ufc.testosterone.problem/index.html

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  6. An Albanian weightlifter has become the first athlete to get a doping ban at the London Olympics:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/albanian-weightlifter-tests-positive-for-steroid-1st-doping-case-at-london-olympics/2012/07/28/gJQA0h2oFX_story.html

    Amusingly, his coach is also his uncle. Guess they can't all be as savvy as Toni...

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  7. Gymnast from Uzbekistan suspended, waiting on the B sample to be tested today (Sunday). http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19038114

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  8. Allegations of doping surfacing in swimming as a 16-year-old Chinese swimmer sets a world record:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics--controversy-surrounds-world-record-400-im-of-china-s-16-year-old-ye-shiwen-.html

    What type of speculation is that? Irresponsible journalism!

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    1. The tenor of that article would basically be like writing a professional piece pointing out that nobody had previously played a six-hour slugfest final before. In fact, Courier wrote a piece about that match that was vaguely similar, but he phrased his intrigue in more obscure terms.

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    2. ^ For comparison purposes:

      http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/features.aspx?articleid=16176&zoneid=9

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  9. In other news, Alexander Vinokourov won the Olympic men's road race yesterday. He served a 2-year ban after testing positive for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/olympics/cycling-london-2012/cloud-over-road-race-gold-20120729-236lb.html#ixzz221gAJBet

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    1. I saw the entire race and Vinokourov was just smart, anybody from the leading group could had won, in the end when it was down to Rigoberto Uran and Vinokourov, Uran made a hudge mistake by looking back, Vinokourov took advantage of it and run off, it wasn't so fisical.

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    2. I'm sorry Neunedak but just because someone has "smark tactics" does not for a second mean they are not doping! This guy was a massive cheat and actually caught back in 2007. Then he comes out and wins gold at 38 years of age? Give me a break! The whole peleton could not catch the front two riders now matter how hard they raced. Then when the Columbian looked the other way he rode through. Yes, and? Therefore he isn't doping? Be realistic. Sorry but the guy's a huge cheat and won gold on the back of cheating.

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    3. Vinokurov winning is interesting because it exposes the hypocrisy and nationalism of cycling fans.

      Vino is a doper who did his time. Just like David Millar (GB), Tom Boonen (Belgium), Valverde (Spa). It's funny how British cycling fans are complaining about Vino being a cheat but have no problem with David Millar.

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  10. Good entertainment:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/olympics--controversy-surrounds-world-record-400-im-of-china-s-16-year-old-ye-shiwen-.html
    Sixteen year old Chinese woman swimmer swims faster in the freestyle leg of her gold medal swim than Ryan Lochte did for the men. Of course, everyone is mumbling about the obvious likelihood that she had to be doping. If it was an American swimmer, we would be hearing about "Girl Power" and complaints of how unfair it is to accuse her of doping. As the Chinese doctor quoted in the article notes, everybody is doping.

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    1. Hold on! Swimming is a sport of technique, co-ordination, and timing. It does not lend itself to doping.

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    2. Oh, I should have added that cycling is a sport of tactics and teamwork. It also does not lend itself to doping.

      And, the more I think about it, since all sports involve skill and technique (even weightlifting), there is no sport that obviously lends itself to doping.

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    3. I thought at the time of watching it that something was fishy. The chinese win 3 medals in the first two real (non relay) races, two of them gold, and you can't help but think of the nineties when their women looked and swam like men.

      Now a 16 year old is swimming like a man. Smashing world records and beating the whole field, including the deserved winner (whoever that may be).

      This is a joke. Cycling is the only sport actively trying to catch dopers. I don't know how anyone can stick up for Ye like this swimming journalist did. It's the same as that idiot Bodo and Wertheim - the sport and its integrity pays their salaries and they will ignore everything in order to save it.

      She is every bit as much of a doper as the cyclist Vinokourov.

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    4. But when it's a good clean cut boy like Phelps, Ian Thorpe or Lochte there is nothing at all suspicious about their domination, performance and recovery.

      Chinese swimming comes out of 'nowhere' and is suspicious, British cycling comes out of 'nowhere' and it is all down to margin gains, ice baths and warming down.

      When Dara Torres is setting the records and winning races at 41 its down to 'resistance stretching' and nothing to do with being treated by convicted HGH smuggler Antony Galea.

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  11. Some interesting commentary on the swimming case of Ye Shiwen, discussed above. Sounds oddly familiar to what we hear from tennis journalists.

    Swimming World columnist John Lohn: "...the accusations fired at Ye are out of line in this age of drug testing...Instead of dirtying her achievement with unfounded claims and doubts, it would be wiser to appreciate a performance which was legendary."

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/london/swimming/story/2012-07-29/Chinese-swimming-Ye-Shiwen/56575338/1

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    1. Here's Lohn's full column: http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/USA/31424.asp?q=Doubts-Surrounding-Ye-Shiwen-a-Sad-State-of-Affairs

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    2. These people are ridiculous. There is simply no way that an undoped 16 y.o. woman swimmer is going to outswim the male gold medalist. I grant you it was just a comparison of their last length and not the whole race, but that performance was only "legendary" in the sense that Ben Johnson had a legendary 100 yard dash.

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    3. What are the commentators going say when a female (12 year-old Chinese) track sprinter turns in a faster relay leg than Usain Bolt? I guess we will simply have to marvel at her "talent".

      There are two things we know for sure: there are dopers at the Games, and they know how to get away with it.

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    4. Hmmmm....

      Chinese teenage swimming world champion Li Zhesi tested positive for EPO on March 31. Not at Olympics.

      http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sports/2012-06/09/c_131642004.htm

      Here's a classic quote:

      Chinese head swimming coach Zhang Yadong: "I hope that it was an accident."

      http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/World/30779.asp

      Accidental EPO use? That's a new one.

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    5. Agree with all of the above. This sort of performance, unaided, is really incredible. It's about as realistic as Ben Johnson suddenly running 9.79 in Seoul. Sorry people, too good to be true.

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  12. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/oly-gymn-dope-uzbek-idUSL6E8IT1QU20120729
    I guess you have to be Hope Solo to blame it on premenstrual bloating.

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    1. I don't understand this either. A Moroccan runner was also expelled from London 2012 and might be taken to court because she tested positive for diuretic. How come Hope Solo got a slap on the wrist? Do different sports have different rules regarding drugs taken?

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    2. Is the diuretic the Uzbek took on the "specified" list?

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    3. I think it has more to do with the status and resources of the athlete than the sport, generally. If you are a big star, they will let you off the hook with any lame excuse.

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    4. @swisscheese40,

      yes: http://list.wada-ama.org/prohibited-all-times/prohibited-substances/

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  13. For goodness sake:
    http://gawker.com/5929815/check-out-the-quads-on-this-german-athlete

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    1. ok if this guy is tested and the results are negative I guess we have our answer about how rigorous the testing is at the games. Honestly!

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    2. ha check this out, his nickname is Mr. Thigh (gee I wonder why?)

      http://www.london2012.com/athlete/forstemann-robert-1114697/

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    3. Almost as gross as George Hincapie's legs

      http://forallmyfriends.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/george-hincapie-legs.jpg

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    4. you really should have warned me before I looked at that. I've just lost my appetite!

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    5. That calf of Hincapie can't be healthy, can it?

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  14. How much should we read into the Spain men's soccer team's elimination? Losses to Japan and Honduras knocked them out of medal contention.

    I can't be alone in thinking this is what the team plays like when they're unassisted by their "medical" team.

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    1. I was waiting for someone to write something about this. They thoroughly dominate EVERYONE in Euro 2012, then are knocked out by Japan and Honduras? My husband and I had a good laugh about that last night.

      We're also curious to see who takes the tennis golds, if dopers have had to reduce their regimes/stop doping completely. I think my favorite "surprising" defeat was Tamira Paszek to that mountain of muscle and endurance, Alizé Cornet. Stosur's loss to CSN was also sort of satisfying.

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    2. To be fair, this wasn't the same Spanish team that competed at the Euro 2012. It was their U23, but even then, you would expect them to do better than they have.

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    3. Indeed, Shadow. But if the Spanish system is so superior, surely they'd field a team of competitive youngsters, right? And how do you explain the vast difference in performance between the pros and the squad they sent?

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    4. Certainly is interesting, given Spain are current u21 Euro champions (which is really an under23 tournament, it's dated from two years back).

      They also won the under19 this year and last year.

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  15. There's still obviously doping going on. My fave from today is the North Korean weightlifter who clean and jerked 9kg more than his nearest competitor to take the gold.

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    1. Everyone knows that North Koreans are pristine muscle filled examples of the human race with a looooong history and strong culture in weight lifting. Add this to the fact that weight lifting is a sport of technique and skill. Steroids won't help you when your trying to clean-and-jerk under pressure with the ilghts and judges looking at you on the Olympic stage. Doping is near impossible with weight lifters, especially the tried and true North Koreans!!

      Did I also mention that there is a rigorous anti doping program in North Korea, and he has tested negative always. This is slam-dunk proof that he is completely clean and no further speculation will be entered in to.

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    2. He was not considered to be a medalist they wrote. So, was he someone they would have tested less?

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    3. I don't think the North Koreans would do much testing regardless! The guy would have been tested after the competition, but unless you're Really stupid, it's far too late by then.

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  16. Has anyone noticed that many of the top tennis players are struggling? Interesting first round matches, to say the least.

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    1. Apparently, there's a lot of concern over the condition of the courts. Some players have said the courts are more slippery than they were during Wimbledon, and that the baseline is already breaking apart.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/other-events/wimbledons-wee-bit-slippery-courts-prove-a-test-for-tennis-olympians-7984970.html

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    2. Hmmmm, could it be the same concern the players had over the slippery blue clay in Madrid...

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  17. Thank you people for informing me about all the latest dark happenings in the Olympics. I think his site will be my go-to site for everything that most of the mainstream press will ignore.

    But I am heartened that Ye Shiwen is being reported on in some mainstream press. Equally appalled that she is being stuck-up for by her sport's journalists. But it's true, those that are too close can't see the forest for the trees.

    That performance by Ye is simply unbelievable. And sorry, Kazakhstanis, but the cycling Gold Medal is not real either. (Admittedly we'd be suspicious no matter who won any cycilng gold.)

    That German's quads are bigger than Tipsarevic's. Nobody can get quads like that without steroids. To look at them makes me sick.

    Keep up the good work people. I'd be interested to know too, Sen, in a couple of weeks, whether this site's hits will have picked up over the previous fortnight, as they do when the four Slams come around.

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    1. Hi Mystery,
      I will start reading something like USA Today, get tired of all the Public Relations superficial stuff, then remember to come here to see if anything is REALLY going on. I appreciate this site.

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