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Wednesday 31, Dec 2008

  Usain Bolt: Center of Accolades and Doping Suspicions of 2008

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usain-bolt-steroidsBolt’s impressive performance on the track in Beijing had not only yielded accolades but scrutiny as well.

BALCO founder Victor Conte voiced out his concern in connection with athletes like Bolt who hail from Caribbean countries. Most of these countries lack independent anti-doping agencies to check the cleanliness of these athletes according to confessed and jailed steroid supplier Conte.

American sprint star Carl Lewis similarly expressed his disbelief of Bolt’s performance with this statement: “I’m still working with the fact he dropped from 10-flat to 9.6 in one year,” American Lewis was quoted as saying. “I think there are some issues … countries like Jamaica do not have a random (dope control) program so they can go months without being tested.”

Bolt, in response, said: “I know I’m clean. I work hard for what I want,”

“I know what he said. To me it doesn’t really matter what he said, a lot of people were saying that.

“Carl Lewis can say whatever he wants. That’s just his opinion,” Lewis said

Thursday 21, Aug 2008

  Victor Conte offers some advice to WADA on steroid testing

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Victor Conte steroidsTo Victor Conte, the Caribbean is not only great for doing some R and R, but for doping as well.

In his letter to the New York Daily News, the former big boss of BALCO is giving out unsolicited advice for anti-doping organizations to step up their testing policies. And we’re sure Conte meant well and definitely knows what he’s talking about. He is a reformed man since he has spent some time in prison and then some more time on house arrest, we think any man would have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf under those circumstances. And for masterminding the biggest steroid scandal in history, we are sure he knows the ins and outs of steroid use.

Apparently, Mr. Conte is so concerned with the problem of doping in sports that he met with the former WADA boss Dick Pound in December 2007. Then, Conte has stressed the importance of implementing more out-of-competition testing to curb the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

On said meeting, Conte said he advised Pound to deploy “disguised testers” to Jamaica, providing WADA with details about a certain drug supplier there. Conte pointed out to Pound the futility of undertaking testing at competitions saying that it is during the offseason period that PEDs are widely used “when athletes use anabolic steroids in conjunction with intensive weight training and develop the explosive strength base that serves them throughout the competitive season”.

Pound, however, stepped down two weeks after the meeting, according to Conte, and the organization “failed to act upon the information.”

As for the ongoing Games in Beijing, Conte has this to say:

I have no evidence of doping by any of the winners of medals in Beijing, but when times begin falling like rain, questions arise, especially when the record-setters are from countries such as Jamaica and other Caribbean nations where there is no independent anti-doping federation. In the women’s 100 meters, for instance, four of the eight finalists in the event were from such countries. Jamaican women swept all three Olympic medals: Shelly-Ann Frasier’s winning time of 10.78 seconds is blazing fast, and reflects a drop from a best of 11.31 in 2007 to 10.78 in 2008, an improvement of more than five-tenths of a second in a single year and about five meters faster than before.

In the letter, Conte also talks about Usain Bolt, who won the men’s 100-meter gold medal and whose triumph Conte considers as “a shocking world-record time of 9.69.” Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson also merited a special mention in Conte’s letter.  Thompson won the silver in same event in a personal best time of 9.89.

Conte says that that something is going on considering that five out eight finalists in the men’s 100-m race were from an area “where there is minimal out-of-season testing and five-of-six 100-meter medals were won by athletes from Caribbean countries without independent anti-doping federations”. Conte, however, reiterates that he has no knowledge that said athletes were involved in illegal activity. He says: “All I know is that they and other athletes come from regions where minimal offseason testing is administered.”

Conte’s ends his appeal with these statements:

There is a desperate need for each of the Caribbean countries to have an independent and fully functioning anti-doping federation. Until that is the case, the sprinters from these countries are going to continue to be under a cloud of suspicion.

I believe that these athletes need to be frequently drug tested on a random basis during the offseason, so that the cloud of suspicion can begin to move on. It’s my opinion that more effective drug testing in the Caribbean will help to restore the credibility of entire sport of track and field.