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Archive for  March 2014

Monday 10, Mar 2014

Armstrong To Face Lawsuit For Lying Under Oath About Doping

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Armstrong To Face Lawsuit For Lying Under Oath About Doping

A Texas appeals court has temporarily blocked an arbitration panel from reviewing bonuses paid to Lance Armstrong. This was after a request by Lance Armstrong to stop an arbitration panel from reviewing $12 million in bonuses he was paid before admitting he used performance enhancing drugs had been initially rejected by a Texas judge.

Judge Tonya Parker declined to stop the panel from evaluating whether bonuses that were awarded to the cyclist for three of his seven Tour de France victories should be repaid to Dallas-based SCA Promotions. An attorney for SCA Promotions, Jeff Tillotson, remarked the panel will be meeting on March 17 for discussing his request that the disgraced cyclist forfeit prize money from those races and is penalized for committing perjury. Tillotson said it is beyond dispute that Armstrong perjured himself in our 2006 proceeding. He added the only thing left to resolve is in what manner should he be punished and he should not be allowed to retain the benefits he got from lying.  Tillotson also said Armstrong used his lies to obtain more than $10 million from us. Tillotson added we had several million dollars in legal fees and suffered an enormous amount of damaging publicity and those are factors we’re going to ask the panel to consider.

The Dallas-based company filed one of many lawsuits against Lance Armstrong after he admitted to doping during an Oprah Winfrey interview in January 2013. The cyclist was stripped of all his seven Tour de France wins by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which also banned him for life.

SCA’s attorneys wanted to question Lance Armstrong under oath but attorneys of Armstrong appealed to the Dallas-based Fifth Court of Appeals. Thereafter, Judge Kerry Fitzgerald ordered all proceedings to be stopped pending further review by the court later this month. It is insisted by Armstrong’s attorneys that state law won’t allow SCA to reopen the original settlement that included language that said “no party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside” the payment and that it was “fully and forever binding.” Armstrong attorney Tim Herman said we are pleased the court will consider the issue of whether a final settlement, to which all parties agreed would end all disputes, can be reopened when one side has buyer’s remorse.

SCA remarked that the cyclist deceived the arbitration panel by lying under oath that he had never used performance enhancing drugs.  The Dallas-based company is now seeking the return of $12m – Tour de France prize money of $1.5m in 2002, $3m in 2003 and $5m in 2004, plus $2.5m in costs paid in 2004 – plus interest, costs and damages.

The SCA case goes back to 2006. Armstrong’s United States Postal Service team protected itself against that potential financial liability through a policy from SCA Promotions – a company specializing in assuming risks associated with prizes. SCA declined to make payment for bonuses to Lance Armstrong after a French book detailed allegations of doping against Armstrong in 2004. The company however agreed to the policy after an arbitration process, in which Armstrong made a denial of doping under oath.

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Saturday 08, Mar 2014

NSAC Bans Fighters From Using TRT

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NSAC Bans Fighters From Using TRT

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), in a landmark decision, has unanimously approved a motion to ban the practice of awarding fighters a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) in the state of Nevada for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The decision comes in the wake of an ESPN story that covered how high testosterone replacement therapy exemptions are in the MMA world.

This ban on TRT is effective immediately and stretches across the realms of mixed martial arts, boxing, and kickboxing. It includes users who have received TUEs for TRT from the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the past and future applicants for TRT. The NSAC officials urged representatives from fellow athletic commissions to put a similar ban in their states by banning TRT exemptions in their corresponding states.

NSAC Chairman Francisco Aguilar said he is comfortable with the information we have before us, and I would welcome and encourage the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) to look at this issue for all commissions in all states across the country. He further added that he believes it is important that there be a standard set, and he thinks we’re not afraid of making that standard known, and then following the discussion after this point in time. Aguilar added he do believe that this is something that gives people an unfair advantage for these actual benefits and said he thinks that it’s unfair for those fighters who are lucky enough to not have to go through the process. Aguilar added it is not fair to them when they have to meet a competitor, who is, somehow, could be (using) an advantage.

The UFC, minutes after the decision of NSAC, made an announcement that it will also ban TRT exemptions moving forward. Dana White tweeted that it is a great day in the sport and he applauded NSAC. The UFC President remarked TRT needed to go away. In an official statement, the UFC said the Ultimate Fighting Championship fully supports the decision made today by the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the immediate termination of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The statement reads we believe our athletes should compete based on their natural abilities and on an even playing field. We also intend to honor this ruling in international markets where, due to a lack of governing bodies, the UFC oversees regulatory efforts for our live events and we encourage all athletic commissions to adopt this ruling. After the UFC announcement, Vitor Belfort has withdrawn from UFC 173 and now Lyoto Machida will fight UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman on the upcoming pay-per-view card, which takes place May 24.

Dr. Don Catlin, a leading anti-doping expert of the MMA testosterone exemptions, said he is on the IOC committee that reviews [therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone] requests. Catlin said we essentially grant none but in boxing and MMA there is no central control and there is no set of rules that everybody has to follow. Therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone should be rare, according to U.S. and international anti-doping agencies. They believe such exemptions should be permitted only in dire medical cases such as testicular cancer and Hodgkin’s disease.

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Thursday 06, Mar 2014

NBA Testing Questioned By USADA

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NBA Testing Questioned By USADA

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency head Travis Tygart has remarked that it is not difficult for NBA players to beat drug-testing program of the league.

Tygart added that the testing program of NBA that is built on six urine tests a year is not at all powerful to beat. In an interview, Tygart remarked he believes that the athletes are unfortunately being let down by the system and added he had said it before that players are going to do anything possible to win if there’s no chance of getting caught, and they’re overly competitive. The USADA chief said this could include using these dangerous drugs because they will give you a performance-enhancing benefit.

Tygart also went on to remark that we are hopeful at some point the athletes are supported and given the opportunity to be held to the highest standards and said they do it when they’re subjected to the Olympic testing, a year out before the Olympic Games. Travis Tygart added they’re under our jurisdiction subject to blood testing and out-of-competition, no-notice, no blackout periods for when they can’t be tested and they fully support it. He also said we’ve never had a player say they didn’t want to be part of the program because of the testing. The USADA chief advocates the World Anti-Doping Agency code for the NBA that would result in an end to the league-run testing program. Tygart said that is the inherent conflict that we see when a sport attempts to both promote and police itself and that’s why the code calls for independence.

The league’s general counsel, Rick Buchanan, defended the present testing system and remarked we think we have a program that is as good as any other in pro sports. Buchanan disagreed to the views expressed by Tygart and said we don’t think there’s any conflict where we can’t have the best, state-of-the-art program. Buchanan, who oversees the NBA’s testing, also said that NBA is working on the issues that were brought by Tygart as the weaknesses of NBA’s testing program, including the lack of blood testing for human growth hormone and biological passport testing. Buchanan remarked we need to get that done and suggested that there have been delays in the context of NBA’s ongoing search for a head, and overall questions about growth hormone testing.

Tygart also said an updated system could be achieved with new leaders within the league. He remarked hopefully with new leadership at the commissioner’s office now, hopefully the lines of communication will open up and they’ll see the benefits of putting in a program that is going to adequately protect the integrity of the game because no one wants to see a game that’s altered by an unfair advantage by one team.

Meanwhile, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who replaced David Stern recently, said he doesn’t believe there is a high level of PED use in the league. In response to a question from bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell at the conference, Silver said he have no reason to believe the use of PEDs are widespread in the NBA. He remarked both because we test and because, No. 2, it’s not part of the culture of the NBA. Silver also said there are great journalists out there like [Gladwell], somebody would be out there and would’ve found somebody who’s willing to talk about it. We’re fortunate in the NBA that there is a cultural view that those types of drugs are not helpful to core performance.

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Tuesday 04, Mar 2014

Cyclist Gets 8-Year Doping Ban

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Cyclist Gets 8-Year Doping Ban

Patrik Sinkewitz, the former Mapei-Quick Step and T-Mobile rider, has received a ban of eight years for doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Following the GP Lugano in early 2011, the 33-year-old had tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH) where he raced with the Italian team ISD-Neri. Sinkewitz underwent a doping control on February 27, 2011 at the end of the Grand Prix of Lugano in Switzerland and the analysis of his samples revealed the presence of recombinant growth hormone (“recGH”).

However, the German arbitral tribunal for sports-related disputes (Sportschiedsgericht der Deutschen Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit (“DIS Arbitral Tribunal”)) cleared the rider of doping charges the following year. NADA, Germany’s national anti-doping agency, appealed to the CAS and the heavy penalty indicates that Patrik Sinkewitz has not been sanctioned for doping for the first time. The CAS Panel in charge of this case, composed of Prof. Christoph Vedder, President (Germany), Dr. Dirk-Reiner Martens (Germany), and Prof. Dr. Martin Schimke, (Germany) found that NADA has clearly established that the blood samples of Sinkewitz revealed the presence of recGH. Sinkewitz is also ordered to pay a fine of EUR 38,500.

Sinkewitz had tested positive for testosterone during the 2007 Tour de France, a race in which a drug-free promise was made by T-Mobile after earlier confessions to doping from former riders including Bjarne Riis and Erik Zabel.

Patrik Sinkewitz decided to sue the International Cycling Union and remarked that cycling’s world governing body wrongly communicated to hum that “a substance” was found when they were actually investigating a blood value. At that time, Sinkewitz’s attorney Rainer Cherkeh challenged the validity of the tests and remarked the scientist and HGH expert working for us showed clearly and in detail that there is not scientifically sure validation data. UCI press officer Enrico Carpani explained at that time that the UCI has always said human growth hormones were being tested but we didn’t want to officially announce the date of scientific validation of the test in order to allow an element of surprise. Carpani added that without making a pronouncement about Patrik Sinkewitz’s case, who still can ask for a B sample analysis, we can say that the validation of the human growth hormone test is a major new step in the fight against doping.

Sinkewitz refused to have his B sample tested and was then sacked by T-Mobile. He later admitted to making use of EPO and banned blood transfusions. The rider blamed his positive drug test on Testogel, a testosterone ointment, and received a reduced ban of one year in November 2007 for cooperating with the agencies. His recent ban will keep Sinkewitz out of cycling till November 2022.

The professional German road racing cyclist, who competes for the Meridiana-Kamen team, started his amateur career with Mapei-Quick Step. In 2003, he turned professional with Quick Step-Davitamon and then moved to T-mobile Team in 2005 where Sinkewitz enjoyed a good season. The German rider was able to finish fourth in the Vuelta al País Vasco and twice finished stages in the first five.

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Sunday 02, Mar 2014

Backstrom Misses Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Game

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Backstrom Misses Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Game

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was pulled from the lineup of Sweden lineup hours before the Olympic gold medal hockey game against Canada. This was after Backstrom tested positive for a banned substance found in his allergy medication.

The test result of Nicklas Backstrom showed an elevated level of pseudoephedrine that is prohibited by the International Olympic Committee but not the NHL. However, the violation of the IOC’s anti-doping policy is not expected to prevent the Washington Capitals center from playing with the Capitals when their season resumes. The timing of Backstrom and the fact that he was taking the medication with the approval of the Swedish national team doctor raises questions about the testing process of the International Olympic Committee. Mark Aubry, chief medical officer for the International Ice Hockey Federation, said there certainly is no doping in this instance and added Backstrom is an innocent victim, and we support him strongly. Aubry added doping is certainly not allowed, but this is not a case of doping.

At a news conference, Backstrom said he had absolutely nothing to hide and disclosed that he had allergy problems. Backstrom remarked he had been there for two weeks and it was probably the most fun two weeks he have ever had. Backstrom added he was ready to play probably the biggest game of my career, and two and a half hours before the game he got pulled aside.

Backstrom had taken Zyrtec-D, a permitted drug although it contains pseudoephedrine, for seven years for treating sinusitis. The drug is allowed by the International Olympic Committee as long as levels do not exceed 150 micrograms per milliliter and is not tested outside of competition. According to Aurby, Backstrom’s level was 190.

Backstrom was tested after Sweden’s quarterfinal win over Slovenia, but neither he nor team officials were informed of the positive result until hours before the gold medal game that was after four days. The IOC defended itself by saying it had too many tests to process to deliver the result sooner. Mathieu Schneider, NHL Players Association official, remarked he didn’t see IOC statement as an acceptable explanation and cited a similar situation during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, when defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky of Slovakia tested positive for elevated pseudoephedrine levels but was allowed to be retested after two years and was ultimately allowed to play. Schneider remarked this process was flawed and added he thinks it is clear that he wasn’t intending to cheat, that he wasn’t doping and went on to add that doping is a very serious allegation, and at some point common sense should have prevailed, and it clearly did not. The ineligibility of Backstrom left Sweden, already without stars Henrik Zetterberg (because of herniated disk) and Henrik Sedin (because of injury to ribs), to miss their top remaining center and they lost the gold medal game to the Canadians, 3-0.

Swedish national hockey team general manger Tommy Boustedt accused the International Olympic Committee of sabotaging their medal dream and said he thinks they waited until it would be a real good impact with journalists. After the loss in the gold medal game, Boustedt said he thinks they had the results earlier but chose to hold onto them and they need examples to show they don’t accept doping but this isn’t it.

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