Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"The chemists will always win"

John Cook, a former coach with the Nike Oregon Project, did an interview with Runners World. It's a pretty interesting read.

Some excerpts:
"If you take the testing objectively, and you never fail a drug test, as far as the average person is concerned, if you’re negative, you’re negative, and that means you’re a good guy. But that’s not what’s happening...

"...The average fan remains ignorant in terms of it wanting to be that way and wanting it be “Chariots of Fire.” Some of the people I talk to when I’m on the treadmill or lifting weights don’t even know the athletes make money. And they think if [athletes] test negative, they’re as clean as white snow."

"...getting a Therapeutic Use Exemption for an inhaler can be very easily done. If I take you and run your ass up and down the stairs five or six or seven times, then take you into the doctor, you’re going to be asthmatic and fail the test, and you’re going to be allowed to take an inhaler."

"...The chemists will always win. It makes no difference what kind of program you design."

22 comments:

  1. A very sombre bunch of quotes. But nothing this site's regular readers don't already know. It shows just how hopelessly naive those folks are who claim something like "my favourite player has tested negative the last four years, therefore she must be completely innocent and drug-free".

    To think along these lines before the Armstrong saga was naive. To think along these lines after Armstrong, is just delusional.

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  2. I never see any therapeutic use exemption reporting or even statistics. I know there must be some information because the issue with Lance Armstrong and the corticosteroid cream was available and Chris Froome's use of a streroid during last year's Dauphine came out. I think given the adderall issue in baseball, the sports press should be making reporting of these exemptions a priority. I would love to see the list for tennis.

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  4. I read that interview a few days ago, and as hardened as I am, I still found it depressing reading.

    @ Mary. I've posted numerous times about why international federations don't feel that it would be correct and transparent to post prevalence rates for TUEs for specific drug classes, so that the rest of the world could establish if they are consistent with prevalence rates for the actual conditions in a similar population of otherwise healthy individuals.......

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    1. Thanks. I did not know that history.

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    2. Thanks for keeping the issue live, Mary......

      It would be simple for the ITF to report the % of athletes with TUEs for bronchodilators, corticosteroids, AADHD meds, or (God forbid) the more hard-core doping agents. There would be no violation of health information privacy laws.

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    3. I don't think it would be simple to report the percentage. Because the main question would be, what is the total population? I am sure the ITF would say the total population is everyone subject to drug testing. This would include any player that enters any ITF or other sanctioned tournament, including the US Open "qualifier". As absolutely anyone can enter the US Open "qualifier" (even I have played it), this would be thousands of people -- none of whom would bother to get a TUE for anything they are using because there is not a remote chance of being tested. "Redfoo" (Azeranka's "friend"), played the qualifier a couple years ago -- pretty sure he didn't get a TUE for any of these "therapeutic" substances he is taking.

      Then, the ITF would simply publish its bullshit number that only .01% of players have TUEs -- but this statistic would be meaningless.

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    4. They could just limit it to the players who are in the whereabouts program... That's ~ 200 across both tours, including doubles... Not a big sample, you'd at lease see if there is a glaring issue with the top players.

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  5. Speaking of TUEs - whatever Nadal's used has cured his knees :)

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if Nadal ,in one more of his miraculous recoveries, wins Wimbledon this year.

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    2. Yeah, I just watched an on-court interview where Nadal attributed his underwhelming performances on grass the past few years to his knees, but said his knees were finally healthy this year. How does chronic tendonitis suddenly disappear when you don't stop doing the activity that causes it?

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    3. My guess: over the course of his career, each and everyone of his injuries have been exaggerated beyond belief and/or invented out of thin air. At this point, even he has probably lost tracking of everything he and his team have ever said to the press. Does it matter? Not really. The press hasn't exactly been reporting on the contradictions, half-truths and plain mysteries surrounding the vague injuries that come and go whether he has succes or not on the courts, now have they?

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    4. It's actually pretty hard to believe someone with as physical a game as Nadal *wouldn't* have had some injuries. On the other hand, something is definitely fishy when it comes to the knees.

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    5. IIRC, Lance Armstrong several times in his career invoked "injuries" whether to avoid being being tested or simply to take time off in order to dope. I'm not saying he has never been injured, I'm just saying that it is probable he overplays his injuries and sometimes downright fakes them to his own advantage. No way he is still playing top ten tennis ten years into his career were his knees in as pitiful a shape as we are led to believe by his P.R. team and the tennis media.

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    6. I agree with your second comment. Your first comment was a little strongly stated :)

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  6. Anyone else suspect that Nadal gave up the clay season so that he could load up for the rest of the season? He needs to enhance his legacy by winning 2-3 non RG slams as his resume is too clay dominant. If can win Wimbledon and or the USO this year, then go back to unbeatable beast mode next year on clay, he will regain the #1 ranking because he has sucked this season on clay. He will become the undisputed best ever of all time with commentators and fans clapping his heroic deeds even as their jaws drop to the floor. With Nadal anything is possible. I am not willing to believe that we have seen the end of his slam winning ways after his RG debacle this year. Remember 2010 and 2013.

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    1. I definitely do not suspect this. In fact, I would be gobsmacked if he didn't do whatever it took to win his *tenth* Rolland Garros this year. I think he lost because Djokovic was just plain better than him, not because he was saving himself for Wimbledon. Juicing can only get a player so far, particularly if the competition is also juicing. Nadal is not getting any younger, and I seriously doubt that he can be considered a given for any of the majors anymore, no matter what chemical recipe his team may cook up for him. If he does do better at Wimbledon this year, I would attribute that to him getting to spend a decent amount of time getting used to the grass beforehand.

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    2. I am afraid you are right pk. Nadal is obviously surrounded and trained by the smartest team of the ATP tour since his very beginning.

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  9. Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court.,

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