Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Offered Without Comment


  1. "I don't think it's the number of testing that makes the quality of a program very good, it's the way we test. You know in tennis we have another specific item and issue that is 'out-of-competition' - there is practically no 'out of competition' in our activity"...

    "Education is very very important"

    "The prevention is more important than the detection"

    "We have to some extent some advantage that tennis is a skill sport, so" .....( re: people thinking tennis players could benefit from doping)

    "Tennis has always been up-front to this battle against doping"

    "When you have 85% of the program international, the main challenge is the budget, so you cannot spend all the money, it could be very easy to say increase the testing, so this is the reason we have we have been really a leader, one of the leader sport, in looking for the quality"

    Re: WADA:
    We still have an issue, we cannot spend all the money in doping, so the money we spend has to be spent very well, and this depend only on one issue is the (paraphrasing) 'better cooperation between organizations "


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    2. This entire interview is an insult to the intelligence of any tennis fan.

      Budget? They've been given millions to do doping tests and they've been under budget with plenty of money left over.

      And again with the canard that tennis players don't benefit from doping.

      Bitti is the guy who lies to your face and tells you it is sunny and clear outside as you can see and hear the rain pounding against the window.

  2. Great piece by Ed Moses, calling the IAAF out for conflict of interest. "You can't police and promote". Applies to all federations.

    "WADA’s annual budget represents an abysmally small 0.00365% of all sports revenue"


    1. USADA needs to come clean first, then it can lecture other people. Let's look at its past: It let Lance Armstrong make millions and for over a decade, and now claims credit for "catching" him. Um. No.

      Now, let's look at what they admit about past testing...http://www.usada.org/dco-laura-hahn-changes-technology-antidoping/

      Hmm,, so "We were mailed assignments at the beginning of the quarter (usually after the quarter started) for each athlete which included stacks of paperwork." (Talking about out-of-competition testing). So, the tester was given information about who they would "randomly" test months in advance? Though the mail? And this would somehow all remain secret and secure? What a joke. All the BS about the tests being "random" and no way the athlete could know in advance was just that -- BS.

      USADA is a secretive, ineffective, laugh bag. Yeah, I wouldn't send my money to an organization that mailed out "secret" test plans to testers months in advances. Maybe the reason USADA is underfunded (and WADA) is that they are so incompetent. If I were a clean athlete, I sure wouldn't trust these guys to do crap. On the other hand, if I were to doped athlete, I would love the idea that they convince people that I am clean.

  3. After Williams won Wimbledon in 2010, she lacerated her foot on broken glass in a restaurant in Germany and needed surgery to repair a tendon. The next year she suffered blood clots in both her lungs, which can be a life-threatening condition.

    “I didn’t think I would play tennis again and I didn’t care, I just wanted to get out and live and start a life,” Williams said.

    She said the blood clots left her with permanently reduced lung capacity. “When you get one, it goes into your lung and it kills it, and that’s why you die, because it just kills your lungs, it slowly starts to turn black,” she said. “It’s for life.”

    After she missed three straight major tournaments, Williams played Wimbledon in 2011 and lost in the fourth round. She found herself fighting for air when she played and practiced. Uncertain and concerned, she turned to Mackie Shilstone, a trainer who has worked with Williams part-time for seven years (Shilstone has trained many star athletes, including a recent stint with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning). He met Williams at her home in Florida.

    “I said, ‘Tell you what, I’m going to throw you in the pool,’” Shilstone said. “‘I’m going to make you swim for your life.’”


    Williams said it worked. “I had to just really learn how to re-expand [my lungs] and make the part that I have left stronger,” she said. “I had to train different.”



    1. Puff piece journalism in action. Fans with typewriters is basically what they are. I didn't expect the journalist to actually question Serena's story despite the fact that she and her team have given several different versions of her foot injury and her embolism.

      So now we can add damaged lungs to the list of her maladies (that she probably needs massive TUEs and drugs for). So she is almost 34 years old, bad hand, bad knees, bad elbow, and bad lungs yet she is more dominant than ever and will probably win the U.S. Open title. This is just insulting that journalists refuse to do even the most basic research on this or probe this at all.

      Mackie Shilstone made his name as an elite boxing trainer. He has been known to push supplements to the athletes he trains. He even has his own line of vitamins and supplements. Roy Jones failed a drug test in 2000. Guess who his trainer/strength coach at the time?

      Michael Spinks went from a light heavyweight to a heavyweight in three months. The light-heavyweight division weight class is roughly 175 pounds. The heavyweight class is 200 pounds +. In June of 1985 he fought as a light heavyweight, in September 1985 he beat Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title. So in a span of three months he had to gain 30 pounds without getting fat and muscle up to box as a heavyweight. Guess who his trainer/strength coach was at the time? Guess who gave Spinks supplements and Creatine to help him gain muscle? Guess who the elite athletes call when they need "help" to gain weight or put on muscle?

      Doping is rampant in boxing, a 2013 Foreign Policy article said it is the third highest sport for positive test results behind cycling and weightlifting. If you think Shilstone is clean and his athletes are clean, then you probably believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too. Funny how the WSJ didn't mention his boxing clients or his supplement business.

    2. Gary hall jnr use to swear by going free diving off the Florida coast to built up his lung capacity and endurance. A little skeptical i might be on this but at least it gave a decent shot at being plausible.

      I'm not an expert but i don't see how the same technique would work in a swimming pool. For one it's not deep enough and i would guess extremely dangerous for someone with diminished lung capacity.

      But i bet you there will be some idiots who believe this and little more worrying some gobshite who'll try it for themselves.

    3. At first, the story sounds like BS, but apparently there is some scientific evidence that exercise can re-generate lung tissue:

    4. ^
      The study you quote is a special case; a situation where more alveolar cells appear to be generated over very long periods of time after a single loss of original tissue tissue. The source (NEJM) is solid, but I don't think the authors are claiming that dead lung regenerates like liver, for example. That just wouldn't not be consistent with what we know about lung disease.

      Pulmonary embolism (PE) results in either a recoverable transient injury or permanent death (infarction) of lung tissue, or combination of the two. Patients with a single episode of infarction will generally loose small amounts of lung tissue, which has no impact lung function. At the other extreme, patients with many PEs over time can progress to permanent respiratory failure, and die or need transplantation. Their lungs don't regenerate, sadly.

      Williams might have had acute pulmonary infarcts.. Her athletic performance since then, though, makes it implausible that her lungs were significantly permanently damaged by the alleged episode.

    5. Serena was asked a legitimate question: How can someone who has had a PE still perform at the top of the sport? She responded that she had to "learn how to re-expand" her lungs and "make the part that I have left stronger." That statement is supported by the study which shows that people with lung injuries can re-train their lungs after an injury.

      In addition, her PE story is not new and was reported back in 2011. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/serena-williams-hospitalized-pulmonary-embolism/story?id=13036965

      As such, I place this in a different category than other bogus injuries. Of course, she could have TUE's for this, or be doping independently of this (doping can cause PEs). But it would seem that this story at least passes the laugh test -- though at first glance, many people might think otherwise.

    6. Interesting and informative conversation going on here. Thanks for all the links, I like reading medical material like this.

      I only speak for myself, I wouldn't presume to speak for anyone else on this site so these opinions are mine and mine only.

      I have no problem with the swimming exercise/training /lung regeneration information. Swimming and water exercises in general are some of the best exercises anyone can do to improve their physical fitness. When I swim I am utterly exhausted afterwards and I can feel the burn of my muscles. I don't doubt the study (NEJM is very reputable), and that isn't the only scholarly article I found on regeneration of lung tissue and exercise.

      However.....I remain skeptical of those who get better and more dominant as they get older. That is just one of the reasons I am suspicious of Serena (and many others). Serena suffered her pulmonary embolism when she was in her prime in her 20s. It is extremely rare for an elite athlete to suffer a PE in their 20s. Pulmonary embolisms are one of the main physiological side effects of doping. It defies belief that she stopped doping after her PE, quit doping, and got better as she got older. I can buy the fact that she probably did retrain (or partially retrain) her lungs after the exercises, but I also still believe that she is a doper and still has a doping regimen.

      It's just hard to take anything tennis players or tennis officials say at face value considering the laughable doping controls in the sport. I don't think we can be surprised that people are cynical and jaded when it comes to anything that comes out of their mouths. We know how poorly researched and sycophantic tennis journalism is and I think my instinct - at least - is to view these stories with suspicion at first glance.

    7. In regards to Serena and Pulmonary Embolism, it was most likely caused by EPO use. In the recent ARD documentary by Hajo Seppelt, there was a story of a Kenyan Marathon runner (Geoffrey Tarno, 32) who collapsed and died during a race. His doctor ruled cause of death as Pulmonary Embolism which most mostly likely caused by EPO use. According to his training partners Tarno was a well-known EPO user.

      You can watch it from around 24 minutes onwards: https://youtu.be/nIkiC3iT0GA?t=24m20s

  4. This is the Sports MD that Usain Bolt has been seeing since he was 16.. Other clients have included Boris Becker.

    "Over the years, the A-list of believers has run the gamut from tennis icon Boris Becker to soccer's Ronaldo to the late Italian opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti to seemingly every top German soccer player since Franz Beckenbauer four decades ago. The American followers, though late to the show and heavy on those traveling overseas to compete, have included sprinters Tyson Gay and Maurice Greene as well as bad-boy skier Bode Miller."
    "Muller-Wohlfahrt isn't an ordinary doctor, and his treatment methods at first blush sound dangerously primitive. Though conventionally trained in medicine and orthopedics, he practices a unique mixture of homeopathic medicine -- treatment with natural substances -- and acupuncture. The lifeblood of his treatments is what Muller-Wohlfahrt calls "infiltrations," in which homeopathic preparations and other substances are injected into the injury site: exotic stuff like Actovegin, an amino acid preparation derived from calves' blood, and lubricating substances containing purified hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.

    Muller-Wohlfahrt, who rarely grants media interviews, says he has administered "far beyond" a million such injections through the years, at least half to athletes."


    1. ^ He also treated Lindford Christie (banned for nandrolone), Merlene Ottey (who tested positive for nandrolone, but was cleared by JAAA and an IAAF arbitration panel based on a dehydration and endogenous production defence), and Steffi Graf....... Interesting pedigree.


    2. Tell me what sports champion in any sport in the last 40 years is free of suspicion according to your conclusions.I say nobody.And if you are not a doctor you can only repeat what some doctors say.You are not qualified to give an informed opinion.I can give you instances in all sports going back 90 years of incredible athletic feats which you would swear that people had to be on something and maybe they were but what's the point.This is my rule,if you were great when you were 16 or 17 I give you a pass,if you explode on the scene in your mid to late 20's I am suspicious.That didn't work with Arod but if you suspect everybody then it takes your love for athletics away and I love athletics.

    3. Rafa gets a pass by this definition (just barely).

    4. ^ @dtank77 For what it's worth, I am a doctor, and the more I explore this issue of doping in tennis, the more skeptical I become.

    5. "This is my rule,if you were great when you were 16 or 17 I give you a pass,if you explode on the scene in your mid to late 20's I am suspicious."
      That's nonsense. Many people need mental maturity to fulfill their physical possibilities, especially in a sport like tennis where you don't have a team to support you.
      On the other hand, if you're a star at 17 but your game is purely physical, it goes without saying that you can't be a star much longer: you'll lose a step and that's a fact (exhibit A: Lleyton Hewitt - I don't love the guy, but I'm pretty sure he's clean.)
      If you want to cover your ears and sing la-la-la because you don't want it to "take(s) your love for athletics", it's your prerogative, but your rule is ridiculous.

  5. International Network of Humanistic Doping Research (INHDR) conference at Aarhus University

    "Anti-doping organisations (ADOs) told delegates that the prevalence of doping in sport is low, and that sanctions were approached in a sensible manner with the athlete’s intention and welfare in mind. Scientists argued that surveys suggest that the prevalence of doping could be much higher than ADOs are prepared to admit, and that preservation of the anti-doping system and the rules that it has created are often prioritised ahead of athlete health and welfare.

    It was also argued that there is mounting evidence that ADOs know that the system is flawed, yet actively seek to preserve it by propagating misinformation and repressing research and debate. Contrary to the commonly-held idea that providing more money to ADOs will always result in better testing, research was presented which showed that this is not true."

    "Ram highlighted that it is still an issue that many national federations assess doping cases themselves, meaning they are involved in the sport in which they are ruling on. “This can be a problem”, he acknowledged. He also said that this issue can perpetuate itself at the international level, as many arbitrators at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are former Presidents of national federations. “There is a fundamental tension in the world between the wish to harmonise anti-doping, and a world which is not harmonised”, he said."

    ... and more worth reading.


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  7. On August 10th, Petra Kvitova announced she had been diagnosed with mono and was still suffering symptoms. Instead of resting, she went on to play Toronto and Cincinnati. She has now outlasted everyone and won New Haven. Not a word of skepticism from the Tennis press.

    1. Because Petra can do no wrong.How am I sharing a locker room with someone that has active mono? I do not get that one.That is at least a 2 month break.

    2. She always struck me as a 50/50 kind of tennis player either she's off or she's on. I thought she had "Mono" since Wimbledon?
      I suppose she is suspicious for many reasons, but the Tennis press have a lot more than Kvitova to report on if they are that way inclined and don't.

      If you share a confined space with someone who has Mono/cold/flu and they cough, squeeze, spit particles when they talk, the germ gets on the surfaces and spreads. People touch surfaces and don't wash their hands also spread germs and get sick.

    3. In her press conference, she said she didn't know when the mono started but she did say she still had symptoms. My understanding is that playing professional tennis is inconsistent with the usual plan for recovery. Plus there is the disease spreading issue. Something about this story seems very off.

    4. Another tennis player with mono? How come other athletes in other sports who share locker rooms and are in close proximity with one another don't get mono at the rates tennis players do?

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