Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dear Jon

From Wertheim's most recent mailbag:

In your entire professional career, have you never (not even once) looked at [player name redacted] and wondered whether s/he may be juicing? Never?!
Jim Yrkoski, Silver Creek, Neb.
• This is a point I’ve tried to make many times. There is a vast chasm between “wondering” and openly speculating. And those of us who follow—and are constrained at times by—a professional code can’t throw out allegations absent evidence. At least without violating the most basic professional ethics (to say nothing of leaving our employers open to liability.) All those egg avatars on twitter and anonymous cowards in the troll-inhabited comments section can fire away in a way that actual journalists cannot.

Trust me: the folks in the pressroom and broadcast compound share some of your concerns. We see the rapid recoveries. And hear of dubious TUE (therapeutic use exemptions). And lament the ITF’s modest anti-doping budget. And wonder why, when a disgraced Spanish doctor was implicated in a Tour de France doping scandal, the ITF wouldn’t retroactively test samples of tennis players known to be among the doctor’s patients. But absent anything firmer than suspicion and speculation, few of us are in the business of trafficking in perhaps the most serious accusation you can level at an athlete.

116 comments:

  1. I get the professional liability aspect, but just don't think it's that binary ("no proof = no major discussion")...

    Journalists can explore their "shared concern" (as he puts it) with rigor, and elevate the issue in general terms, without openly accusing a specific athlete on a major website, This has been done many times before in other sports.....

    One sentence acknowledging that "folks in the pressroom and broadcast compound" share concerns about weak anti-doping budgets, dubious TUE issues, and disgraced doctors doesn't cut it, IMO. I think all of these issues are worthy of more substantive exploration.

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    1. Agreed. And there is also the example of cycling and Lance Armstrong. I think Wertheim is trying to paint it as protecting the athletes, but the truth of it is that journalists who actually stated the obvious, paid a high price for not pretending to believe the impossible. They are drinking from the tennis trough, Wertheim more than anyone, so it is not in their interests to explore the doping issue.

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    2. I agree with you when you say " They are drinking from the tennis trough, Wertheim more than anyone, so it is not in their interests to explore the doping issue."

      Anyway, it also depends on the fact that commentators like John Mcenroe, Mats Wilander and so on ( big tennis players in the past ) always keep silence on doping matters!!

      In other words, they like the money they receive for their comments very much, rather having clean professional tennis which is an issue that they don't care at all !!

      Obviously, their responsability is smaller than journalists' responsability but it still has its own importance!!

      Best regards.

      Fabrice

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    3. you can understand his position as well. Let's face it, he needs one on one access to the Nadals and Djokers and so on. Tossing around thinly veiled accusations will result in consequences from access to individual players.

      And when your only job is to cover tennis in this current era which is probably at an all-time low for interest (especially in the ATP for American sports fans), I kind of get it. He works for SI...how many full time tennis writers do they have? Two? And the other just left to take a position with the WTA. I don't even know who covers tennis for ESPN on the print side anymore. I mean ESPN (the worldwide leader as they call themselves) barely even mentioned Serena's panic room incident...and this is the company that has scores of investigative journalists, a handful of which were the wolverines that had a large hand in taking down the Biogenesis clinic. So I can understand why Wertheim/SI aren't interested in dealing with PEDs in tennis when tennis' TV ratings are below bowling on average in the US. The European outlets that go after cycling need to toss more of that attention to tennis since Europe is where the top juicers, save for Serena, are from anyway.

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    4. What exactly would a good investigative journalist do to uncover doping in tennis? No sarcasm intended, I'm genuinely curious. I mean, I'm sure you could turn up some people who would say they saw something or heard something, but how do you get from mere hearsay to something tangible enough that it's not just one person's word against another? I could be wrong, but it seems like cycling is a hybrid of an individual sport and a team sport, while tennis is a purely individual sport with very close-knit teams (particularly in the case of the most suspect players). So, you're not going to have cases of players juicing in the same room.

      I agree that Wertheim et. al. could delve into his suspicions more frequently, but in the end, it's not going to get anywhere, and for most of his readers, it would become the same old song and dance.

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    5. I think I just said tennis is not a team sport then said it has very close-knit teams :)

      Hopefully this was obvious, but I meant support teams (as in coach, physical trainer, nutritionist, etc.), not teammates.

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    6. an investigative journalist does what one does....finds a means to uncover things. Researches players' old coaches, trainers, academies where they train(ed) etc. If one of those things has ties to players who have been busted then you start clamping down and so on. The thing with ESPN's crew helping to bring down Biogenesis was that MLB was actually interested in busting and penalizing their players to the point where they tossed a bunch of money and hired lawyers for the clinic's employees who rolled over on the suppliers. No other sports organization has any interest in doing the same.

      I don't think tennis not being a 'team sport' really matters. Hardly anyone covers PEDs in the NHL and the NHL is a much bigger deal in North America than tennis...and the NHL has many of the same issues as tennis when it comes to PEDs in addition to Theraputic Use Exemptions which seem are quite common and so on.

      The Canadian doctor (who allegedly worked with Tiger Woods and was busted trying to bring HGH into the US) also worked with a bunch of the Washington Capitals players and that was brushed under the rug and forgotten a day after it was initially reported. No one really talks about Tiger Woods' steep decline after that doctor was busted, because it came right after (or before...I don't recall) his divorce and subsequent PR fallout.

      For whatever reason, in North America, no one seems to care about athletes using PEDs except for baseball players and well known Olympic athletes. Thus if it doesn't involve those two entities, media outlets don't throw money to their investigative journalists to research those things. I mean no cares that some boxers and MMA fighters who make their living physically beating on another person are routinely getting busted with muscle builders so why are they going to care about some Europeans in matching outfits hitting a ball with a tennis racquet when that sports televised events lose money for those entities on average?


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    7. American Football isn't signed up to WADA's anti-doping code and the TUE regulations don't apply. The sport would fall apart if strict anti-doping practices were introduced.

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  2. What Wertheim actually says is correct. However he overstates his problem. You don't need to 'openly speculate' in press in order to write about doping.

    His column (above) is evidence enough of that! You can write a column, in a good convincingly journalistic manner, asking why on earth samples have not been retested, or asking what 'investigation' the ITF actually did on the likes of Ferrer and Errani (apart from asking them 'did you take PEDs from Del Moral?', which appears to be all thy did, if that!). You could write all series of articles on this. You could write about serena's slam run at her age being unprecedented in tennis history and how Frum and others are publicly questioning her. You could write about gluten and mysterious injuries.

    Things are not as hard as Wertheim makes out!

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    1. The thing is, tennis doesn't have any investigate 'journalists' among its ranks. Instead we have fangirl 'bloggers', numerous articles on attire, reused pa reports and other nonsense. You'd need someone outside the sport to investigate, USADA, BBC Panorama etc.

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    2. Sadly, that's basically all the ITF did about Del Moral. Rather like what British Athletics has just done with Mo Farah, asking him whether he ever took drugs! A bit of Sherlock Holmes undercover work and they could have nabbed Ferrer and Errani red-handed, had they felt that way inclined. All the ITF did was to issue a lame press release to warn the tennis dopers to keep their heads down.

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    3. Indeed. It isn't the binary that Wertheim presents.

      One other simple thing Tennis journalist could do, but won't, is to temper the flag waving. It would be in their own interests. If any of these top players were ever exposed in the future, all those articles that essentially say performances are unbelievably amazing and that is magnificent, this is the greatest era of all time are going to look extremely foolish.
      Then it will be clear the evidence was in front of their eyes and rather than act as a neutral observer reporting on what was happening (their job) they were behaving instead like completely credulous fanboys. Or, if Wertheim is to be believe and the press corps does harbour genuine suspicions about certain aspects, complete hypocrites.

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  3. While Wertheim's position is quite understandable, his argument has a weak point. The lack of evidence for doping of a top player should not be an excuse for not raising any concerns but an incentive to investigate further in dubious cases. There is just as much speculation involved in saying that there isn't doping in tennis due to a lack of knowledge as in voicing your concerns, since both claims lack the factual basis Wertheim strives for. He'd either have to validate his suspicions in both cases or stop talking about doping in tennis altogether.

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    1. No, that doesn't quite work. As an American journalist, he is bound by a cultural norm, innocent until proven guilty. The default will therefore by on all athletes being clean and it is on those who think this is not the case to prove otherwise.
      In pure logical terms, it has to be this way as you can't prove a negative. If no-one were doping (hypothetically!), there would be no evidence to be had to show that because there would be no evidence of any sort at all.

      Which doesn't excuse journalists not investigating where there are generally suspicions and particularly where they themselves have doubts. They ought to be doing that. But again finding out if they are trying is hard, because if they turn up nothing they have nothing to publish.

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  4. What I don't understand is why WADA have never done any investigation into the Del Moral connection with tennis. I thought they were all about clean sport? Are we supposed to believe that how Errani went from being a nobody journeywoman to one of the top singles AND doubles players all of a sudden, has nothing to do with her working with a doping doctor at the same time? The tennis media/commentators never mention it either.

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    1. She herself ascribes her meteoric rise to a change of racquet, ha ha ha! The journos, along with the lame ITF, all seemed to swallow the tale, judging by the lack of any real investigation into the details of her working relationship with Del Moral. Same with Safina. She publicly lauded the miraculous 'recovery treatments' the dirty doctor administered to her.

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  5. I doubt she's ever gone on record with it, but I've often felt Mary Carillo has some very strong suspicions about certain players. I remember a few years ago, she was commentating a Nadal match, and she more or less said there is a contingent of tennis fans who feel he wins because of his physicality, not his tennis. Commentators talk all the time about how the game is becoming more physical, etc., but this was the first time I recall any commentator expressing the point of view that it's the *primary* reason for a player's success. That's obviously not a direct accusation of doping, but looking back at it now, I wouldn't be surprised if that's exactly what she was thinking at the time.

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  7. In other news....

    Cyclists getting nailed for taking FG-4592, an experimental HIF stabilizer, which mimics the effects of altitude and hypoxia on natural EPO production........ It's one of many non-approved drugs and novel peptides that doping athletes are resorting to. This trend scares me, since long term clinical safety data is non-existent for these substances..

    WADA labs can detect this one.....I wonder if the ITF will be retro testing samples for it's presence?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/30/sports/cycling/fabio-taborre-and-carlos-oyarzun-drug-tests-suggest-use-of-chemical-meant-for-research.html?_r=0

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    1. I read somewhere that OOC samples are tested for very little as it is...so i'd guess and say ITF won't be.

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  8. Assuming the mailbag question is genuine and not some roundabout way to approach the issue in the wake of Frumgate - this is probably a popular question if he chose to publish it.
    For an "Actual Journalist" to ignore something of public interest because he deems "Egg Avatars" to be throwing around baseless accusations is a little shortsighted. The practice of good journalism has the potential not only his keep their readership but a potential to grow it.
    To be honest if i was a regular reader who took the time out to ask this guy a relevant question only to have it answered like a patronizing ITF PR officer. I wouldn't be picking up or logging onto SI anytime soon.

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  9. From last year:

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/dec/12/russia-doping-claims-documentary-maker-new-film

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKaiY9y7Gxg (german only sorry...)

    transcript:
    https://presse.wdr.de/plounge/tv/das_erste/2014/12/_pdf/English-Skript.pdf
    or
    http://athleticsillustrated.com/wp-content/uploads/Geheimsache-Doping-translation.pdf

    Today Hajo Seppelt's sequel was aired in Germany.

    http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/Reportage-Dokumentation/Geheimsache-Doping-Im-Schattenreich-der/Das-Erste/Video?documentId=29857156&bcastId=799280

    There will be hopefully an english version soon and many, many more articles... Sunday Times worked also with Seppelt this time.

    Quintessence, every third medal is most likely due to doping between 2001 and 2012 at World Championchips and/or the Olympic games in track and field. Not just russian athletes are involved this time, but Kenyans runners as well.

    Seppelt says IAAF still does very little to prevent doping. In fact they threatended him to take legal actions after his first documentary (lol)

    http://www.letsrun.com/news/2015/03/german-journalist-behind-russian-doping-scandal-documentary-hajo-seppelt-says-iaaf-has-threatened-him-with-legal-action/

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    1. Heres the doc in English....wow, no wonder the Russian's are upset.

      http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/Reportage-Dokumentation/Geheimsache-Doping-engl-Version/Das-Erste/Video?documentId=29857186&bcastId=799280

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    2. ^^

      Thanks for posting this.

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  10. http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/33749208

    Shared by Victor Conte in twitter.

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  11. If you go to Wertheim's mailbag this week, we may find the closest we've gotten yet to professional journalists publicly stating that they believe Serena couldn't have her ridiculous success (and cartoonish body) without doping. My reasons are something as simple as the choices Wertheim made in the physical layout of his questions in this edition of his mailbag.

    To point — the question and answer immediately preceding the one mentioned on this post ends as follows in Wertheim’s answer:

    Take a look at Steffi’s Graf’s 1988. Note that she not only won Olympic gold that year but did so in Seoul. (We’ve often said that the travel demands of the top players today are an underrated challenge. The days of hopscotching from Miami to Tampa to Hilton Head to Amelia Island are no more.)

    But to your point—and leaving aside the Olympics win from three summers ago—Serena’s results over the last 12 months veer on the comical.

    Note Wertheim's last line – a very subtle (and legally bulletproof) way of him stating his belief that her results are not based in the real world or the fair world and are equivalent to fakery of an illustrator’s hand - her results (and I totally agree) "...veer on the comical."

    He isn't stating this and qualifying it with an immediate statement of praise, such as a person who believes that Serena is clean and pure might do. He leaves the statement hanging and then immediately posts the question and answer above that discusses doping and the general alignment with professionals about the dirtiness of the sport and pretty clearly makes the case that Serena was the likely player whose name has been redacted and who is largely believed to be a cheat.

    Look at the whistleblower leaked IAAF files from today - professional sports is too much of a business to be played fairly. I mean for fuck's sake they are now testing video gamers in competition for doping to improve response time because of the money involved.

    I think that the leaked files today are going to be a difficult thing to overcome for a great deal of people. Adult sport is, quite simply, filthy beyond even the most cynical person's thinking. I think it is very dangerous for the individual psyche to become a sports fan and take on all the highs and lows that come with it because we are being manipulated by exceedingly rich people and countries (IAAF - "Russia emerges as 'the blood testing epicentre of the world' with more than 80% of the country's medals won by suspicious athletes, while Kenya had 18 medals won by suspicious athletes."'

    It turns my stomach and I chastise myself for continually returning to my childlike amazement at the beauty of sport when it is all very likely a facade, a big fuck-you to the fans, just put on to line the pockets of a the very select greedy few principals - countries, owners, managers, players (and dirty gamblers in Macau, Vegas and elsewhere, I guess).

    To anyone who believes that Serena "I don't lift weights, it's just my body" and Nadal "I worked on my serve" haven't likely been the highest profile tennis players who have gamed and gamed the system with doping perfection, I say this to you -- readjust your manner of processing the obvious. Your actual life and its goings-on might benefit from having the 'ole noggin extracted from the sand.

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    1. Wertheim never gave any indication that Serena was redacted and calling Serena's last 12 months comical he was alluding to her greatness.He called you people egg avatars,anonymous cowards and trolls.He said people wonder of course but that is the most serious accusation you can level at an athlete so you need a smoking gun not racist accusations.Read the story and stop spinning it,asshole.

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    4. Newspapers can sometimes tell one stuff by juxtaposition, for sure.
      My favourite example of this came in Britain a few years back. A then unnamed Premiership Footballer had taken out an injunction to prevent details of his sex life being published. The Independent newspaper front page often has blocks above it's headline about stories inside. The one on the left asked the question, white on black, 'Who Is The Superinjunction Footballer?' and directly next to it, in big letters was the words 'RYAN GIGGS' and in small print some irrelevant story about his playing.
      That was very clever. Too clever for what is being suggested here? Maybe.

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    5. Why would a journalist with a good command/knowledge of the English language use comical when alluding to someones greatness when the meaning is the opposite? There would be more appropriate adjectives if that is indeed what he meant to say.

      Comical - amusing, especially in a ludicrous or absurd way. The context of this would suggest at best amusement. at worst, a farce.

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  12. Bo Jackson never lifted weights yet he may been the greatest physical specimen of our time with his Olympic sprint speed and brute strength.He would have rewrote the record books in 2 sports had he stayed healthy.No one accused Bo of doping.Bo and Serena are freak athletes.God gave them the body,up to them to fulfill their potential.It is easier to accuse a world class athlete of doping than it is to enjoy their greatness.That speaks to a predjudice against the athlete.If you don't walk the walk,you can't talk the talk.

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    1. God gave them the body, up to them to fulfill their potential...

      Do you think the same God could help the poor buggers over in Kenya so they don't have to shoot up with EPO to win races too?

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    3. Do you have any athletic ability? If not, shut the fuck up.

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    4. Bo Jackson never lifted weights? That sounds legit. There was a Nike video decades ago showing him leg pressing full stacks.

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    5. Did you watch his documentary on 30-30 ESPN a few months ago.If you don't know what you are talking about zip it.Watch the documentary and hear it directly from him.He did not get that body from lifting weights.But no one on this forum knows sports,they just hurl accusations.

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    7. btw, he's already contradicted himself as if you checkout the Sports Science interview he's sitting there telling the host he used 45 lb weights to strengthen his neck muscles. But that's all he did...uh huh.

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    8. oh look, here's his former QB talking about Bo benching 350 as a freshman.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/kentucky/blog/wildcats/post/pat-washington-remembers-playing-with-bo-jackson?urn=college,wp2587

      and even if it was true (it isn't) that he didn't lift weights after Auburn, that doesn't mean he didn't do body weight muscle building like basic pull ups or push ups. Hershel Walker claims the same thing as Bo...that that's all he did. Untrue in both cases, but it's possible do get that type of bulk muscle with either body weight exercising or resistance training.

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    9. The point is he had that body at a very young age.I worked with guys all my life that were sculpted and never did weight training.We are all sharing opinions.And you know what opinions are like.

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    10. well, you weren't really stating an opinion...you were pushing it as 'fact'. A lot of athletes tend to embellish their lack of training. Bo & Hershel (assuming they weren't on PEDs) likely embellish their stories because they didn't live up to their expectations as far as on the field production transpired. So since their numbers aren't going to be considered anywhere near a greatest of all-time conversation, all they have left is the 'greatest athlete of all time' debate.

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  13. To be honest the German investigative documentary on doping in Athletes made me sick to my stomach not just because of the level of the supposed doping but because of the corruption and greed involved.
    The Kenyan situation pointed to how low and dire it is. On one side you have the fat cats getting rich off bribes and siphoning off the company account (thanks to Nike funds). The other side are the athletes living in poverty who are willing to risk their lives to make money by doping. I think the Kenyan athlete who died while competing from a blood clot (suspected by the doctor in the documentary caused by EPO usage) is the most tragic case. This man left behind not only his wife and young children but a whole village he would support from the prize money he won. Very upsetting and this Russian roulette is commonplace and perpetuated by the Kenyan authorities.

    Yet the reactions are apologists abound more worried about protecting the warped values of the norm than the lives its destroying. Its ok everyone the abnormal blood values are from dehydration and training in high altitudes.

    On another note an unnamed British athlete involved has threatened to sue the Sunday Times, citing Lance Armstrong:
    "You print it and I sue you [and] you won’t be getting any money back in future like Lance Armstrong — I promise you that.”

    http://www.eurosport.co.uk/athletics/i-ll-sue-top-british-athlete-confronted-over-sunday-times-doping-crisis-claims_sto4842226/story.shtml

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  14. I think Nadal heard the news of the IAAF leaking (http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/02/athletics-facing-new-doping-crisis) yestarday as well... :D

    http://www.nadalnews.com/2015/08/01/hamburg-sliding-through-the-semis/)

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  15. That ARD documentary comes down hard on Kenya.....

    Isn't that where Tipsarovitch was training in the off season?

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  17. The IAAF took out an injunction to try and stop the Sunday Times publishing their analysis of the leaked blood data (they eventually withdrew it)... You can't police and promote........

    Discussed here by Paul Kimmage, with fascinating insights into how editors pressurized him to tell positive stories, and avoid "dark" doping discussions (in relation to Bolt).

    True to form, he calls out 'hero-athletes' who are really dopers, as 'scum', hits out at the politics of sporting organizations, and calls for more transparency. He also calls for clean athletes to speak out more........

    http://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/Off_The_Ball/Off_The_Ball_Highlights/99836/Sunday_Paper_Review__August_2nd

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  18. I wonder who the 'top British athlete' is. My suspicions are on a certain female athlete who doesn't like taking tests, but I get the feeling it'll just end up being Dwain Chambers, which is pointless, as we already know he doped.

    On another note, I see Serena has suddenly got an elbow injury out of nowhere it seems. She was absolutely fine at Wimbledon, but she must have injured her elbow pretty badly on the flight to Sweden, for her to now have to withdraw from Stanford as well. Poor thing. :( That's three weeks with a really bad elbow injury since Wimbledon finished. No doubt there will be a miraculous recovery just in time for the US Open and she'll play like she was never away.

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    1. If you're referring to one of Dirty Ed's 'strong black' women then No! it just can't be. You've got to be wrong. They're born with all that technique, you know, and with them it's basically all about the mind anyway, they're that superior. That's what he means when he harps on about 'strong'. It's all in the mind, fast twitch and genetic, just like their muscles, that kind of stuff. Why dope when you're way, way superior anyhow? Drugs just don't work on strong black women. That's why they can walk away and skip tests with gay abandon. Ask Rio Ferdinand. He knows a thing or two.

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    2. Paula Radcliffe is that top british athlete.

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    3. Or Christine Ohuruogu. She did miss 3 OOC tests and was banned for 1 year. When she returned she won gold at Beijing.

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    4. Serena's elbow has been bothering her for months and if you followed the game you would know that.She is playing Toronto and Cinciinnati.I don't get you mother fuckers,I played sports all my life and I was in pain many times and I got over it, mentally I pushed myself to overcome and succeed and never used peds and that was just amateur levels.Imagine world class competition and how hard you have to push your body to become a champion.Steffi Graf is German and we all know what the Germans were about.Martina is so opinionated about everything,talks shit about everything but not peds.I wonder why.If you are slinging arrows,sling them at everybody,not just Serena and Nadal.

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    5. You know what UntitledK9 thought it was her myself, a while back she criticized the comments of Larmine Diak when the original documentary came out in December 14. Interesting how the article doesn't mention the ban
      http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/feb/17/christine-ohuruogu-iaaf-lamine-diack-athletics-crisis

      Dtank - that's right Serena had awful problems with her elbow and had to pull out of Rome. Thankfully it got better for the French Open and Wimbledon. Shame it started acting up again just after Wimbledon was finished. No doubt it'll be all better and she'll be hitting 170 - 180 mph in Toronto, Cincinnati and the all important US Open.
      And accusations aren't just been "slung" at Serena. Sara Errani has been questions quite a lot here, especially on discussion around Lance armstrongs former doctor during the tour de france, Serena's hardly been mentioned at all.

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    7. Forgot about old Paula, it could well be her and she is a Nike athlete after all. It would be amusing if it was her, given how she's always bleating on about doping.

      Dtank, it's so convenient that Serena is always injured in the warm up tournaments, yet never at the slams. If she withdraws from Toronto and Cincinnati, which I believe she will, then it is even more suspicious to me, given she will waltz away with the US Open title. For what it's worth, I think plenty are doping, it just happens that your precious Serena and Errani are the two with the most overwhelming evidence against them, so that's why they're the most mentioned on here. For example, I think Stosur is, but beyond her large arms and deep manly voice, she doesn't have evaded tests or evidence of working with a doping doctor against her.

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    8. Serena has played around 53 tournaments from 2012-2015 not including Fed Cup so how is she always injured during warm up tournaments.She doesn't withdraw any more or less than the other girls.Kvitova took 6 weeks off missed Indian Wells and Miami because she was tired.Tired of what,the season just started.And there is no reputable sports body out there that will say there is overwhelming evidence against Serena behind closed doors or up front.Serena's athletic ability has always been world class.She could have been a star in any sport she chose.There is not one shred of evidence she is dirty.No undercurrent or gossip among her peers.Nothing,only Tennis steroids.com because you all have nothing better to do.That doping scandal is world athletics,which has always juiced since the beginning of time.Nothing to do with Serena Williams.

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    9. I didn't say Serena is always injured at every warm up tournament, I said that it's convenient she's only ever injured at warm up tournaments, yet she's perfectly fine at the slams (unless she loses, then there's every injury in the book). You say there's no overwhelming evidence against her, yet: missed tests, long absences from tour, playing better than ever before at an age when everyone else has long declined, pulmonary embolisms, hiding from drug testers at her allocated hour, HGH gut. Serena would be covered up and don't try to say otherwise. Nike, WTA and ITF wouldn't allow their cash cow to be named and shamed, I mean the ITF tried to cover up a nobody like Cilic, and that was before he won a slam. Athletics, cycling, football, swimming etc have all covered up positive tests, so why wouldn't tennis? How do you know there's no gossip among her peers? Are you on the WTA tour? Stacey is that you?

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    10. You say this, I say that.Been tested more than anybody last 3 years.1 missed test same time her court case with that stalker concluded,played many grand slams less than 100% but she is not withdrawing from any grand slam,she is 30 in tennis years not 34 missing all that time when she was younger,HGH gut, what are you fucking kidding.You can tell me everyone who is on HGH by looking at their gut.Get the fuck outta here.As far as gossip we know everything.Social media is a bitch and who the hell are you to tell me not to say otherwise.I will say what the fuck I want.Like I said before show me the list of 800 athletes with suspicious tests.Don't you want to see it?If Conte knows, then tell me Victor who are they?

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    11. Dtank - the tone of your response is disgraceful as is the rhetoric profanities throughout your comment. Surely there is a better way to argue your point?

      Didn't the stalker incident happen in early May of that year, the ITF official called in late October. Even if she believed the ITF official was a stalker, once the official satisfied he's/her's identity and the purpose of the visit to the attending police, security and her...why wasn't a sample taken?

      Surely someone who's tested more than anyone else would be aware of process involved in random drug tests.

      Delete
    12. Who are you to dictate to me how I should respond or call me out for profanity.The shit you say on this forum deserves profanity.Determining HGH use by looking at someone's gut.Get real Murph.This is a kangaroo court.The stalker case was settled in court right before the panic room garbage.And her extensive drug testing began in 2012 after that incident in 2011 just like everyone else's drug testing.If you read my posts instead of taking apart bits and pieces I keep saying please disclose the names of the 800 suspicious tests.I want to know who they are.I am not condemning any great athlete until the tests are positive and neither should you.

      Delete
    13. What else is new? Serena always makes big grand announcements about how "injured" she is right before a Slam starts so she can have a ready-made excuse in case she loses. When she plays the Slams, however, the "injury" miraculously goes away then resurfaces right before the next Slam. She does this ALL the time.

      Delete
  19. Good Piece in the NYT about recent doping allegations in cycling and in athletics.

    "So what can a clean athlete do to rebut these suspicions? History has demonstrated that trust built on traditional antidoping controls is at best hopeful and at worst naïve. Instead, the best athletes can offer to a skeptical public is a credible explanation for the plausibility of their performances. That can and should begin with a much greater push for transparency."
    "Another area where disclosure would start to win back trust is on the use of what are known as therapeutic use exemptions........ The problem is the abuse of these exemptions, and the growing perception that they provide a loophole that ambitious coaches and athletes are actively exploiting for performance benefits."

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/opinion/sunday/how-to-fight-doping-in-sports.html?_r=2&referrer=


    Transparency in tennis = minimal.

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    Replies
    1. Funny thing is, there is simple way to be transparent in cycling -- it's called Strava. Basically, it is just your performance data (HR, power output, speed, etc) uploaded to a shared mapping application. You "compete" against other cyclists/runners.

      First, this shows 100% of your performance. No one can question what you did and when you did it -- well, I guess you could be uploading bogus data. Second, anyone can look at years worth of your training. Third, it clearly shows where you are at a given point in time -- it could probably be fitted to remove your need to update whereabouts. It is also already used to people to flag "not normal" performances to be removed from the system. Typically, these are the results of people using cars, not doping, but it is pretty easy to spot "not normal" performances.

      Of course, Team Sky doesn't want to publish this data because it is a "secret" and if the public got access to it, they would be too stupid to analyze it properly and use it to "prove" they are doping. Curiously, Team Sky trains on public roads, and anyone with a motorcycle and camera can follow them around and publish all their training "secrets" on the web. You should even be able to hack into the bluetooth connection and have their power meters feed a recorder on your motorcycle.

      The whole Team Sky thing just reminds me of Dopovic's "secret" recovery ice baths.

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  20. I'll just leave this here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-03/new-doping-crisis-to-shake-the-foundation-of-athletics/6666974?section=sport

    ReplyDelete
  21. Of course Coe never did any of that blood doping during his time as an elite world athlete, despite his dad's known penchant for 'advanced' training techniques and the fact that blood doping wasn't banned until late in his career. Now he's running for the IAAF presidency along with Bubka. Lord help athletics with either of those two running the show!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's the inmates running the asylum.

      Delete
  22. I'd love it if the Germans did a documentary on doping in tennis. It's funny how Russia are under suspicion and investigation in athletics and swimming, but a sport where they have many top players isn't under investigation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh!! but how many of them are based and train in Europe and America rather than Russia? Maria Sharapova may be clinging on to her Russian passport for dear life but it was her Florida based training that made her who she is...the nazgul type shrieking and all.

      I wonder about Doping in China. Does the discipline of taking young children to lock them in sports camps, creating super preforming athletes actually work? Wouldn't say with the tight restrictions on media in place there would be much transparency from the Chinese.

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  23. Probably an oldie but still interesting....
    BBC Panorama Catch Me If You Can HD BBC Documentary 2015
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a61rS4jN3As

    ReplyDelete
  24. À propos of nothing, "Catch me if you can!" is the listed twitter location of the now pineapple+gluten free Bethanie MattekSands!........

    That Panorama documentary was good in that it raised public awareness of micro-dosing as a doping strategy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Micro-doping" wouldn't be as effective as "all-out-doping".

      I wonder if one of the top men has been scared off of "full-on" doping, since the start of the "biological passport". His performance in the last year has been very poor.

      I suspect that he WILL go back to "full-on" doping, because "micro-dosing" is not helping him enough.

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  25. Doping allegations sensationalist and confusing - IAAF
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/33777915

    Perhaps "deny and obfuscate" is not just the refrain of the doper, but the international federations, as well.



    Balco doping supremo, Victor Conte, offers a different point of view............

    Doping- money at heart of athletics coverup says former-BALCO chief
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/04/us-athletics-doping-conte-idUSKCN0Q900D20150804

    "There is a financial conflict of interest," Conte told Reuters on Monday. "These tests are bad for business."
    "Many, many, many positive drug tests over the years, I personally know about, have been covered up. The reason is ... it is bad business," he said.
    Sponsors and television rights holders have become increasingly concerned over linking their brands and products with scandal hit events and organizations such as soccer's world governing body FIFA, which is currently embroiled in a widespread corruption and money laundering investigation.
    Many track and field athletes receive performance bonuses for winning gold medals with agents, coaches, and federations all cashing in on the winners.
    Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, ranks number 45 on Forbes.com 2014 ranking of the top 100 earning athletes, pulling in $23.2 million a year with $23 million of that total coming from sponsors.
    "I believe this (covering up positive tests) goes on in the United States, I believe it goes on in Russia, I believe it is like East Germany - this is what it is. And what is driving all this? It's the money," said Conte.
    "It's about money, it's about corruption."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the allegations are confusing. First, the "doping" they refer to equals only one thing -- red blood cells. It doesn't cover testosterone, SARMs, etc.

      It also only identifies "suspicious" levels of red blood cells. Given the large number of Russian athletes reported and also given that Russia had a known program for using xenon for its athletes, the suspicious are meaningless. At best it shows that the Russians were using xenon at a time that using xenon was legal. This is hardly "news." The Russians admitted using xenon at a time using xenon was legal.

      So, what exactly is this "proof" of? Certain athletes that took a substance that increased red blood cells had increased red blood cells. The leaked data only covers the period from 2001-2012 -- the entire time xenon was permitted for use and the Russians were no hiding their use of it. Even if you did pin an athlete down, he could just say, "Yep, I used xenon, that is why I had those values. It was permitted at the time."

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    3. The documentary only focused on blood doping and/or effects of EPO-like agents. No mention of analysis of steroid profiles, which can be abnormal in the biologic passport.

      In that light, elements of the press "exhonerating" sprinters such as Usain Bolt, are a joke.

      Delete
  26. But it is what it is, a snapshot of data that on analysis shows a high number of suspicious blood values. This data is only loads more weight to doubts within the sport. On top of the Allegations on Salazar, a dark shadow cast over the Nike Oregon project and the testimony of athletes on supposed doping. The IAAF aren't helping themselves at all, i feel - for example on one hand their saying they already released similar data publicity previously but then (in a somewhat contradictory backtrack) react aggressively when data is released into the public domain.

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    Replies
    1. In regards to NOP, it was a case of he said, she said. There was no real smoking gun in that case, unlike the ongoing IAAF scandal. What NOP is most definitely guilty of is "grey area" behavior. That is, nothing illegal, but practices which can be considered ethically ambiguous. I though Salazar had a pretty good rebuttal which at least clarified some of Kara Gouchers statements. If she outright came out and said/admitted that they were on some kind of doping regimen, anabolic steroids, EPO, testosterone, etc, then the NOP case would really blow up. But no, she gave very much circumstantial/anecdotal evidence. SHE did not dope, but others in the NOP team might have, lol.

      Delete
  27. So Sun Yang has won Gold in the world championships. The guy who failed a drug test and got a 3 month ban because he failed to report the medical condition he was taking a stimulant for - Chinada do state that Sun is genuinely ill. When i read comments like this am i forgiven for thinking its gloating and being a tiny bit infuriated?

    "During a press conference after finals today, Sun Yang expressed, “For the doping cases, I don’t know why the media paid so much attention to this. The world media seems to think that whenever the Chinese get a good result, we are doping. We are training and working hard, just like athletes in countries all over the world.”

    http://swimswam.com/sun-yang-talks-doping-scandal-at-post-400-free-worlds-press-conference/

    ReplyDelete
  28. So Victor Conte (the Don of professional doping) believes 80% or more elite athletes are doping... a bleak prediction for sport in general a contrario to what governing org's would have us believe.

    ReplyDelete
  29. He is talking track and field not 80% of all elite athletes.And if he knows of positive tests that were covered up why stop short of saying who they are.He said everything else.Give us the names Conte.Stop talking shit and give us the meat and potatoes.He can't because he doesn't know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It couldn't possibly be 80% of all athletes, right? What ramifications for us mere mortals to have to mourn the loss of our gods....

      But your right it's only track and field, he's no longer a peddler of steroids to the elite...phew! that was close thanks.

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    3. Hey yo that report that was leaked was all Olympic related.I don't know who is doing what and neither do you but if Conte knows then tell us the names.He is a piece of shit already,so then rat everybody out Victor.All of our rhetoric is just fuel for this forum.The truth shall set ye free,so give us the names.I wanna fucking know and so do you.

      Delete
    4. On Conte: of course anyone who's complicit in helping cheaters is unscrupulous. Saying that he's not naming and shaming because of professional courtesy. Probably letting a few know he hasn't gone away.

      Delete
  30. If any publicity is good publicity, there's this: http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=19079
    The website specializes in conspiracy theory (chemtrails, 9/11 Truth, etc.), and the article mostly plays off of David Frum's tweets, but at least it's something.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Federal government demands Lance Armstrong's medical records

    http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2015/08/federal_government_demands_lan.html

    "Court records show that government lawyers subpoenaed the Indiana University School of Medicine on July 30 to provide records of Armstrong's treatments and donations he later made to the school. The government also issued subpoenas last week for testimony from Armstrong's former sponsors Nike Inc., Trek Bicycle Corp., Giro Sport Design and Discovery Communications Inc., which took over sponsorship of Armstrong's team in 2005. Those subpoenas don't name specific company officials, but allow them to choose a "person most knowledgeable" to discuss sponsorship deals and whether the company had any prior awareness of Armstrong's doping."



    It's a good thing, IMO, when people / entities on the fringes of doping are scrutinized to establish if they were aware of wrong-doing and if they were benefiting in some way from the athletes success (and therefore conflicted).

    The hospital staff are 100% handcuffed by HIPPA law, so they can say nothing publicly, but if they knew he was cheating, they could have quietly declined his financial donations.... Commercial sponsors are another matter...

    ReplyDelete
  32. "Act over drugs or fans will turn off"....... Travis Tygart

    "The man who led the fight to bring down Lance Armstrong yesterday called on athletics to save itself from ruin by establishing an independent dope-testing body to weed out cheats."

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/athletics/article4516586.ece

    Tygart speaking the truth as always................. Applies to all professional sports, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tygart is right and investigation authority needs to be international. The result of Tygart's work is that American cycling has essentially been decimated. There were only three American cyclists in the Tour de France this year. At the same time, Europeans who either confessed to doping or are significantly implicated continue to race or hold management roles in teams. It looks very likely that the Operacion Puerto blood bags will be destroyed and the athletes (which likely include some tennis players) will never be identified. Only an international body with expansive powers will be able to have an impact.

      Delete
  33. So abnormal hematological curves in her biological passport puts Russian Irina Mikitenko 530,000 in debt...and extends Paula Radcliffe's world record by 3min.

    http://www.runnersworld.com/newswire/liliya-shobukhova-owes-irina-mikitenko-530000


    ReplyDelete
  34. WADA webpage for whistle blowers, three languages are prevalent...English, Russian and Spanish? I should think a few more should be on there, including Chinese

    https://www.wada-ama.org/en/report-doping/

    ReplyDelete
  35. Abbott World Marathon Majors, the umbrella group for the six major marathons of London, Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, New York and Chicago, is funding the increased number of tests for athletes taking part in its events.
    Out-of-competition testing is being widened as of this summer, with AWMM paying for up to an additional 900 tests to be carried out.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/33812803

    ReplyDelete
  36. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/athletics/11789284/British-athletes-warned-not-to-reveal-blood-data.html

    ROFL... When people call for more transparency, the IAAF become more opaque.....

    Do they need send the athletes this link?...... https://youtu.be/FfBwsG8ubFw?t=18

    ReplyDelete
  37. And meanwhile the world of Tennis are coming to terms with a shocking revelation of their own...http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/07/24/grigor-dimitrov-maria-sharapova-break-up-dating-split/
    There's probably other stuff going on too but does it matter in the midst of this devastating event?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharapova's never had a serious interest in boys.

      Delete
  38. FIFA presidential hopeful, Chung Mong-Joon, says of Sepp Blatter....

    "Blatter is like a cannibal eating his parents and then crying he's an orphan".

    lol

    #integrityininternationalfederations.........

    ReplyDelete
  39. Seems Bracciali and Starace have been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. Interestingly, no announcement from the ATP, ITF or even the Tennis Integrity unit.

    http://www.thelocal.it/20150807/tennis-italian-pair-banned-for-life-over-match-fixing

    The ever-optimistic FIT president hopes the pair will prove their innocence to overturn their lifetime ban.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. The lower echelons of tennis are a perfect environment for match-fixing.... It only takes collusion between one impoverished athlete and a bribing syndicate/individual to fix a result.

      Seems like these lifelong bans are related to multiple infractions, though (you'd think they'd have learned their lesson).

      My impression is that tennis comes down harder on match-fixing vs. doping... Hopefully, this isn't because some tour-event sponsors are bookmakers (the 'Bet-at-Home' Open German Tennis Championships, for example, is on-going as we speak)

      Delete
    3. I'm surprised there's that little press interest. Both made top 50 in their time.

      Delete
    4. Tomic is making his living from tanking and no one bats an eyelid. As with doping get the lower level players, put out a couple of articles on it. Best kind of PR so people can watch their chosen sport with a clear conscience that the whole thing is governed and policed effectively.

      Delete
    5. @Peter, I Agree... Together, they reached the semis of the French Open doubles.....

      I think the athletics scandal is drowning out the signal, to be honest. The ITF will be relieved. A bad PR story tends to get buried when there's something else distracting the press and public......

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  41. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/08/in-defence-of-doping/

    Kate Malby wrote on her blog in defense of doping on The Spectator...

    "But sure, doping might kill a few people. The thing is, I’m not sure that really matters. Sports are our gladiatorial contests..."

    And my favourite ..(though i'd disagree a fictional character who while alive demonstrated some serious psychotic behaviors.Then fought and died for an army who would then go on to enslave the citizens of Troy and mass murder their children by throwing them from the walls of the city it sacked.- a foundational hero."

    "Die young, in a blaze of glory. Deep in our cultural hinterland, our foundational hero is Achilles, Homer’s warrior. The choice between a long life and a glorious reputation is Achilles’ defining challenge, except that for him, the choice is easy. His goddess-mother prophesies that he’ll die in battle but be remembered for centuries, unless he chooses to head for the hills and hide out for a long old age."

    There is a lot of these opinions floating around in the wake of the doping issue brought into the media spotlight. I pick the above example as one of the worst arguments for doping to be made legal in sport. But the argument is fundamentally the same, albeit put in more grown up terms.
    Are we beginning to view our sporting events similar to a Roman citizen or indeed from the viewpoint of a fictional character from the Hunger Games where what matters is the entertainment value and the human cost is void?
    Is this the beginning to see a widespread acceptance of doping as the norm in sport from the public and eventually accepted by sport. Pointing to why so many are uninterested in doping as causing any real serious harm.

    ReplyDelete
  42. IAAF criticized by London Marathon race chief Nick Bitel for prior handling of suspicious blood values. "This is about the IAAF's failure to take effective action."

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/33840230

    If I were running an anti-doing program, I'd be feeling pretty queasy right now.... Public tolerance for program laxity is diminishing, and there is an increasing appetite for the reassessment of old data..........

    Most high-profile and wealthy sports have been confronted with scandals at the highest levels, so tennis and soccer are starting to stick-out like sore thumbs....

    ReplyDelete
  43. Perhaps cycling isn't ready for a "clean team" yet?

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-rough-road-for-cyclings-clean-team-1439161583

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or indeed a little too ambitious with Tom Danielson on it.

      Delete
  44. All is not right with China's Sun Yang at the 1500m yesterday. The heart condition that he (now) has a TUE to take a stimulant for is still a problem obviously,
    http://www.smh.com.au/sport/swimming/chinese-olympic-champion-sun-yang-accused-of-attacking-brazilian-swimmer-larissa-oliveira-20150810-givkfr.html

    ReplyDelete
  45. Interesting story from Velo News about the new test that caught Tom Danielson. I wonder if Tennis will ever adopt this more sophisticated testing.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/08/news/the-test-that-caught-tom-danielson_381086

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    Replies
    1. Potentially under-utilized, but not really a new test.........

      Carbon isotope ratio testing is the analysis that tripped-up Floyd Landis in 2006
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Landis_doping_case

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  46. This ought to shock . . . but doesn't.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/sports/2015/08/11/more-sports/conte-says-coverup-protected-big-stars-seoul-games/#.Vcn0cPlVikr

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, more depressing than shocking.

      If it's true that Dick Pound's request to retro-test big name samples was turned down to protect the sports reputation, then I'm appalled.

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    2. It is sad but doesn't shock at all. There are big-time reputations to protect, big-name sports/sports organizations to protect and LOTS of money to be lost if big names are ever exposed.

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  47. IAAF suspends 28 athletes after 'adverse findings' in doping retests.........

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/33867962

    Primarily retired athletes, though. Doubt think we'll get any current big names on the list.......

    I suspect this is the IAAF trying to look like they're tough on doping after the blood data leak, but at least they're retesting.... Not going to see that in tennis anytime soon.

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  48. "none of the athletes concerned would be competing at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, which get under way on 22 August."

    How convenient and fortunate for the IAAF, its sponsors and the event. I don't see this going away any time soon though. The Media are on the growl with this, all the IAAF can do is keep throwing them bits and pieces in hopes they get bored and go away.

    I'm hoping some real journalist will be inspired by Hajo Seppelt's investigation and how wide reaching it is. If so will be a matter of if and when for the ITF. perhaps someone of conscience or perhaps a disgruntled employee has a memory stick on the ready as we speak? I wonder who tipped TMZ off about the panic room incident?

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  49. An interesting site that tackles doping, and match-fixing in sports.

    http://www.sportsintegrityinitiative.com/

    ReplyDelete