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Thursday 14, May 2015

  IOC Strips U.S. Relay Stripped Of Silver For Tyson Gay Doping

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IOC Strips U.S. Relay Stripped Of Silver For Tyson Gay Doping

The International Olympic Committee have stripped the entire U.S. men’s sprint relay team of their silver medal from the 2012 London Olympics as a result of the doping case of Tyson Gay.

IOC notified the U.S. Olympic Committee that the 4×100 relay team has been disqualified and all the medals are to be withdrawn. In a letter, the International Olympic Committee asked USOC to collect the medals and return them to it.

In a statement, USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the IOC, following USADA’s decision in the Tyson Gay case, confirmed that the U.S. team has been disqualified from the 4×100-meter race that was part of the athletics competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Sandusky also remarked that we will begin efforts to have the medals returned, and support all measures to protect clean athletes.

Last year, Tyson Gay returned his own medal after accepting a doping suspension of one year and the loss of results going back to July 2012. However, the status of the U.S. second-place finish in London and medals of relay teammates of Gay had remained in limbo until now. Tyson Gay was part of the USA Team that finished second in London behind a Jamaican team anchored by Usain Bolt. During this race, the Americans set a national record in the final with a time of 37.04 seconds.

Other U.S. team members losing medals are Trell Kimmons, Justin Gatlin, Ryan Bailey, Jeffery Demps, and Darvis Patton. In the final race, Kimmons, Gatlin, and Bailey ran with Gay.

Under International Rules, an entire team can be disqualified and stripped of medals if there is doping by one member.

If the IOC decides to reallocate the medals, the silver will now go to Trinidad and Tobago that finished third in 38.12 seconds and the bronze will come in the bag of the French team which placed fourth in 38.16 seconds.

The 31-year-old Gay tested positive for the presence of an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid and/or its metabolites which was confirmed by CIR (GC/C/IRMS) analysis. Under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules, Anabolic Androgenic Steroids are prohibited. The athlete accepted an ineligibility period of one year that began on June 23, 2013, the day his sample was collected at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He was disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 15, 2012 and returned his Silver Medal in the men’s 4x100m relay from the 2012 London Olympic Games that is now in the possession of the United States Olympic Committee.

Gay’s positive test resulted in an investigation that led to a ban of eight years for his former coach, Jon Drummond. During London Olympics, Drummond was the coach of the U.S. relay team and placed Tyson Gay on the team. A three-member panel of the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA) found Drummond guilty of possessing, trafficking, and administering banned performance enhancing substances to an athlete under his care as a coach. According to decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gay took a banned substance in July 2012 with knowledge of Drummond.

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Friday 19, Dec 2014

  Gay’s Former Coach Suspended For Eight Years

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Gay’s Former Coach Suspended For Eight Years

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced that American sprinter Tyson Gay’s former coach Jon Drummond has been banned for eight years for doping violations.

USADA announced a three member panel of the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA) found that Drummond possessed, trafficked, and administered banned performance enhancing substances to Tyson Gay as a coach.

Drummond is the coach of U.S. Olympians and the recent Chairman of the USA Track & Field Athletes Advisory Council and a former world record holder. Earlier this year, Drummond sued Gay and USADA for defamation. He claimed Tyson Gay had made false statements about him and that the US Anti-Doping Agency had republished and endorsed them. The lawsuit was stayed by a US judge, saying that the matter must be settled in arbitration and not in a federal court.

In May this year, Tyson Gay was suspended for one year and he returned the silver medal he won with the US 4x100m relay team at the London Olympics. The athlete was disqualified from all races he contested from July 2012. Gay’s ban was reduced because of the testimony he provided to the US Anti-Doping Agency and he has since returned to competition.

The AAA panel, following a two-day evidentiary hearing, found that Drummond failed to act in the manner expected of a coach of athletes in the Olympic Movement USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said coaches have an inherent responsibility to protect athletes- not take advantage of them- but to ensure that they receive the support, training and advice they need to win fairly and in accordance with the rules.

The 46-year-old coach will serve an eight year period of ineligibility beginning on December 17, 2014. His sanction will prohibit him from coaching, training or advising athletes and participating or coaching at any event sanctioned by USA Track & Field, the International Association of Athletics Federations or any other WADA Code signatory. The sanction will include coaching, training or advising athletes for the U.S. Olympic, Pan American Games or Paralympic Games Trials, being a member of any U.S. Olympic, Pan American Games, or Paralympic Team.

In 2013, Tyson Gay tested positive for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a banned substance. It was concluded by USADA upon investigation that a chiropractor named Dr. Clayton Gibson provided the athlete with the DHEA that resulted in the positive test. Drummond was found in violation of many anti-doping rules, including possession of DHEA in violation of Code Article 2.6 and IAAF ADR 32.2 (f), trafficking of DHEA in violation of Code Article 2.7 and IAAF ADR 32.2 (g), attempted trafficking of DHEA, HGH, IGF-1, and/or Testosterone in violation of Code 2.7 and IAAF ADR 32.2 (g).

Drummond denied the charges through his counsel on May 30, 2014 and requested a hearing. The American Arbitration Association acknowledged the demand for arbitration by Drummond on June 4, 2014. An evidential hearing was conducted on September 15 and 16, 2014 in this regard in Texas. The last post-hearing brief was filed on November 17, 2014.

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Monday 11, Aug 2014

  Abnormal Test Findings On High In 2013

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Abnormal Test Findings On High In 2013

According to a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the number of abnormal test findings recorded by anti-doping authorities worldwide increased by more than 20 percent last year.

It was revealed that there were 5,962 adverse or atypical test results across all sports in 2013, compared with 4,723 in 2012 while the number of tests carried out rose by only 0.8 percent in the same period. The WADA report revealed that 269,878 samples were analyzed in total across 35 Olympic and 58 non-Olympic sports, compared with 267,645 in 2012 and adverse or atypical findings were returned for 5,962 samples, or in 2.21 percent of cases. It was also disclosed that Olympic sports accounted for 65.4 percent of the tests conducted, but only 57.8 percent of the abnormal results. The report also revealed that football, athletics, and cycling conducted the most tests among Olympic sports but weightlifting and wrestling had the highest rate of adverse findings. It is surprising to note that adverse test results were recorded in sports as diverse as chess, bridge, and boccia.

The increase in abnormal results comes in a year when sports like tennis and football have stepped up their use of biological passport programs, which allows authorities to collect and compare biological data and spot discrepancies over a period of time to suggest possible doping. On the other hand, sports like cycling have tightened their grip on the ‘whereabouts rule’ that requires athletes to offer regular information about their location and possible windows for testing to authorities.

British 800m runner Jenny Meadows still feels drug takers in sport are still able to get away with it. She remarked people are still taking drugs and always will and added the margin of error between coming first and third is so tiny that people will always looks for ways to break that down. Meadows further remarked you look at Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin lining up last week in the 100m and it makes you feel sick because they are still getting sponsorship and prize money and added it is not fair on the rest of us. The British 800m runner also said she does not think the sport is being cleaned up and these figures send out a message of ‘we’ll find you eventually’ but unfortunately there are always sophisticated ways to cheat the system.

Andy Parkinson, chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, says testing is getting more sophisticated in Britain but it remains a major challenge to make sure sport is drug-free. Parkinson added the more sophisticated tests become, the more chance you will have of catching a cheat and said it is a big task to try and stay one step ahead, and also frustrating – but even more frustrating for the clean athletes. Parkinson also remarked elite athletes are under a great deal of pressure and their entourage is under a great deal of pressure and, as in any walk of life, there will always be someone who crosses the line. He also said our approach to serious dopers is that we are very firm and try and get the biggest sanction we can.

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Friday 06, Jun 2014

  WADA Will Not Appeal Against Tyson Gay’s Lenient Doping Ban

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WADA Will Not Appeal Against Tyson Gay’s Lenient Doping Ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has remarked that it will not appeal against the “too lenient” doping ban imposed on American sprinter Tyson Gay by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The 31-year-old Gay tested positive for the presence of an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid and/or its metabolites which was confirmed by CIR (GC/C/IRMS) analysis, as the result of two out-of-competition and one in-competition urine samples collected by both USADA and the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF).

In a statement, WADA said Gay’s ban that had been widely criticized in Europe as extremely lenient was ‘compatible with the World Anti-Doping Code.’ The world’s second fastest man, Tyson Gay, accepted a suspension of one year last month by USADA after a 2013 positive test for an anabolic steroid. USADA backdated the ban to June 23, 2013 to make Gay eligible to make a return to running later this month and Gay’s first race after the ban will be a 100 meters at Lausanne’s Diamond League meeting on July 3.

Gay accepted the doping ban and returned the silver medal he won as a member of the U.S. 4×100 meters relay team at the 2012 London Olympics. The athlete has also been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 15, 2012, the date he first made use of a product that contained a prohibited substance, including the forfeiture of all medals, points, and prizes.

USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart had remarked we appreciate Tyson doing the right thing by immediately withdrawing from competition once he was notified, accepting responsibility for his decisions, and fully and truthfully cooperating with us in our ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding his case.

Under rules, an athlete receives a suspension of two years for their first major doping offense but this ban may get reduced for ‘substantial cooperation’ under anti-doping rules. USADA remarked that Tyson Gay was eligible for a doping ban reduction as he offered what it termed substantial assistance in his case and WADA said it was satisfied with the USADA decision. In a statement, WADA remarked it is satisfied that Tyson Gay provided substantial assistance to USADA in an appropriate fashion after careful review and scrutiny of the full case file.

It added WADA will therefore not appeal USADA’s decision that is compatible with the World Anti-Doping Code. Officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that also has the right to appeal against the decision declined to make a comment and remarked that the matter remains in the hands of its doping review board to assess. Last month, IAAF president Lamine Diack said he supported the WADA Code rule that permits athletes to receive reduced sentences if they provide substantial assistance to anti-doping agencies.

In an interview at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, Diack said we have to use this in the fight against doping. He added if someone gave really very good cooperation and gives us the possibility to do more to fight doping, we have to do something.

Gay is keen to make a return and remarked Lausanne has always been one of his favorite meets, and added he is thrilled to have it be his opening meet.

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Friday 14, Feb 2014

  Tyson Gay’s Doping Linked To Anti-Aging Cream

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Tyson Gay’s Doping Linked To Anti-Aging Cream

Tyson Gay, American track and field sprinter who last July delivered a positive test, is believed to have made use of a cream containing banned substances that the sprinter obtained from an Atlanta chiropractor and anti-aging specialist, according to a report by Sports Illustrated and ProPublica.

It is believed that Tyson Gay consulted a doctor in Atlanta who treats other runners and NFL players. The doctor, Clayton Gibson III, has a client list including names such as Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, the late boxing champion Vernon Forrest, New York Jets safety Ed Reed, and Cleveland Browns running back Willis McGahee. Forrest thanked Gibson in 2008 on television for assisting with his nutrition program after the boxer reclaimed the WBC light middleweight title. The doctor is identified in a testimonial for a 2010 book on acupuncture as a personal physician to numerous elite, Olympic and Professional Athletes (NFL, NBA, MLB, USATF, and NCAA).

According to writer David Epstein, other athletes and coaches told him that Tyson Gay was assured by Gibson that the supplement cream was “all natural” and it had been used by NFL players who passed drug tests but Gay failed the test. Epstein remarked that the sprinter should have known better as the label on the cream is believed to have used starkly says ‘Testosterone/DHEA Crème,’ and lists Testosterone and DHEA among its ingredients. Both DHEA and testosterone are banned for Olympic athletes and two other listed ingredients, IGF-1 and somatropin (human growth hormone) are also forbidden.

Epstein was told by Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency David Howman that it is “staggering” for a modern-day athlete not to realize they were using banned substances. Howman added that’s where it falls into the level of negligence and remarked WADA expected athletes to be hyper-cautious about supplements given the history of high-profile positive drug tests linked to them but even world-class athletes are relying more on people around them to be responsible and then, when they get let down, blaming those other people. Howman added that athletes should understand by now that hunting for an edge in a cream or potion will often end badly.

The writer reminded sport fans about current Olympian Lauryn Williams who caused a stir when she wrote on her blog post that she was urged to consult a man a fellow elite athlete had called the “sports doctor of all sports doctors.” Epstein remarked though Williams did not identify Gibson but people familiar with the matter confirmed that Williams met with Gibson and the blog post was about the meeting.

Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who was in the training group of Gay, also failed a drug test in 2013 and it is believed that she also consulted with Gibson and used the cream. The bronze medalist in the 100 meters at the 2011 world championships confirmed consultations with Gibson but declined to comment any further until her disciplinary process is concluded.

A former All-Pro NFL lineman who claims he was approached by Gibson said the culture in today’s times is that if you don’t have all this extra stuff, you’re not winning.

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Friday 19, Jul 2013

  News Conference Walkout After Doping Questions

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News Conference Walkout After Doping Questions

On Thursday, Carmelita Jeter of the United States and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica walked out of a news conference after they were asked about the environment in their teams after the recent failed doping tests for Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell. The sprinters had requested not to be quizzed about doping but abruptly get up and left after they were asked about doping.

Powell, the former 100-meter record holder, and Gay, who won the 100 and 200 meters in the U.S. trials last month, were notified of a positive doping test by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) earlier this month. Tyson Gay may face a ban of two years if his ‘B’ sample also proves positive.

Powell and Sherone Simpson, a three-time Olympic medalist, tested positive for the stimulant Oxilofrine at the Jamaican championships last month. In May, Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned diuretic.

However, Australian hurdler Sally Pearson, American high jumper Brigetta Barrett, and sprinter Justin Gatlin didn’t follow Carmelita Jeter of the United States and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and didn’t shy away from discussing the issue of doping.

Gatlin, a former Olympic and world champion who was suspended for four years after testing positive for a banned substance in 2006, remarked you have to make sure that you’re responsible for what’s going into your body and who’s around you. He added that is one thing that he has learnt when everything happened with him and said you got to move forward.

Barrett, who won the U.S. trials with a personal best of 2.04, said he had not expected the doping test announcements and said you are always shocked by the news when your ‘heroes’ have fallen and it does feel like a shock because he didn’t expect those people to have a positive test. Barrett added that his heart and prayers go out to Gay and anybody else having to deal with the consequences of a positive test result and went on to remark that he can only pray that they could deal with it with grace and that other people can treat them accordingly.

Pearson highlighted the work of anti-doping authorities around the world while saying doping has returned to plague the image of the sport. He said it is disappointing that these things happen but at the same time, she guesses it’s good that whatever doping agency is doing it is keeping on top of the athletes. Pearson added it is a shame that you have to talk about it and it’s a shame that you have to comment on it and have a feeling and an opinion about what’s happened, because it’s hard as we know these athletes personally as well and it can be difficult.

In another development, Olympic discus thrower Traves Smikle became the fourth Jamaican athlete in four days to have a positive doping test. Smikle said he did not knowingly ingest a banned substance and said in a statement that he as an athlete takes responsibility for whatever is found in his body but he would like to say that he did not knowingly or willfully ingest any banned substance.

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Thursday 18, Jul 2013

  Asafa Powell And Tyson Gay Fail Doping Tests

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Asafa Powell And Tyson Gay Fail Doping Tests

Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, two of the world’s fastest men, have failed drug tests. The doping test failures have once again highlighted the growing influence of performance enhancing drugs among professional athletes.

The two athletes tested positive for a banned substance at an out-of-competition test on 16 May 2013. The 30-year-old Tyson Gay is the second fastest man of all time and has already backed off the USA’s World Championships team and Diamond League meeting in Monaco. Powell, on the other hand, has clocked 9.88s in 100m and is one of the five Jamaican athletes – two in field events and three sprinters – who returned adverse findings following the tests conducted at their National Trials, staged in Kingston from June 20th-23rd. Powell tested positive for banned drug Oxilofrine that is a stimulant used for improving ability of the body to burn fat and get more lean muscle and less fat and for increasing speed.

The one-time poster boy for clean athletics, Gay once signed up to Project Believe, a US Anti-Doping Agency initiative paving the way for extra drug testing. Gay remarked his career and name have always been better than medals or records or anything like that. He added that he has always wanted a clean name with anything and unfortunately he has to break this news, that he has a positive A sample. Tyson Gay further remarked that he doesn’t have a sabotage story and he doesn’t have any lies. He added that he does not have anything to say to make this seem like it was a mistake or it was on USADA’s hands, someone playing games and added that he doesn’t have any of those stories and added that he basically put his trust in someone and was let down.

Meanwhile, the trainer of Jamaican sprinting star Asafa Powell, Chris Xuereb, has refuted claims by Powell’s agent Paul Doyle after Powell and three-times Olympic medalist Sherone Simpson both tested positive for the same banned stimulant Oxilofrine. In a statement, Xuereb remarked it is time that the athletes took responsibility for their doping instead of looking around for a scapegoat. He further added that he is disappointed that that these athletes have chosen to blame him for their own violations. Xuereb also said he did recommend some vitamins and all were purchased over the counter at reputable nutritional stores and are major brands and the athletes didn’t inform him of taking any other additional supplementation.

The 28-year-old Simpson, who finished equal second in the 100 meters at the 2008 Beijing Games and won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens 4×100 meters relay, also denied knowingly taking a banned substance. Gay, the 2007 world 100 and 200 champion, remarked he couldn’t reveal the substance or how the positive occurred.

In a statement, Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track and Field, said it is not the news anyone wanted to hear, at any time, about any athlete and added that he looked to the United States Anti-Doping Agency to handle the case appropriately. Four-time Olympic medalist and sprint analyst Ato Boldon said Asafa and Tyson are certainly two people who a lot of track fans have loved and admired for a long time and they failed drug tests unfortunately.

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Friday 12, Jul 2013

  I Am Clean, Says Usain Bolt

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I Am Clean, Says Usain Bolt

Olympic sprinter @Usain Bolt insists he is ‘clean’ after he was asked about doping before the Diamond League meeting in Paris.

The Jamaican runner was posed the question at a time when athletes from his country have come under increased scrutiny after Veroncia Campbell-Brown tested positive for a banned diuretic at a meeting in May. The double Olympic champion may become the twelfth Jamaican to be banned in the last five years.

Bolt said in Paris that he is clean and sure about it. He welcomed people to test him every day if required to prove it to the world and said he has no problems with that. Meanwhile, Usain Bolt supported calls made by his coach, Glen Mills, for an accredited laboratory to be set up in Jamaica. Bolt’s coach believes supplements can be tested in lab and this would be helpful to prevent the innocent being caught out by poorly labeled medicine and vitamins.

Nicknamed “Lightning Bolt”, his achievements in sprinting have earned him awards including the IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and Laureus Sportsman of the Year thrice. Bolt is the highest paid athlete ever in track and field and has been called the world’s most marketable athlete and the greatest athlete ever.

Usain Bolt, performing for Jamaica in his first Caribbean regional event, clocked a personal best of 48.28 s in the 400 metres in the 2001 CARIFTA Games, winning a silver medal and thereafter he made his first appearance on the world stage at the 2001 IAAF World Youth Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Usain Bolt is one of only eight athletes, (along with Valerie Adams, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jacques Freitag, Yelena Isinbayeva, Jana Pittman, Dani Samuels) to win world championships at the youth, junior, and senior level of an athletic event. Bolt, the first man to hold both the 100 meters and 200 meters world records since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977, said everybody makes their own decisions as far as doping is concerned and he cannot speak for anybody else. He remarked that he gets tested regularly in Jamaica so maybe it would work out easier for them to get the samples if there was a laboratory in the country. The first to achieve a “double double” by winning 100 m and 200 m titles at consecutive Olympics (2008 and 2012), Bolt is the first man to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting and a five-time World champion.

Meanwhile, American Tyson Gay has again thrown down the gauntlet to Bolt by finishing the 100m in 9.79 seconds, ahead of the Jamaican Asafa Powell and his American compatriot Michael Rodgers at the Athletissima IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne. A world champion in 2007 and the second-fastest 100m runner of all time behind Bolt, the 30-year-old American had overcome Powell in five of their previous six encounters. Powell finished second in 9.88 and Rodgers was third in 9.96.

The Athletissima meeting was attended by the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, and some of the 89 IOC members who had voted to award the 2018 Youth Olympic Games to Buenos Aires, ahead of Medellín in Colombia and Glasgow.

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Thursday 14, Aug 2008

  Sports organizations intensify programs on steroid and PED testing

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BeijingOlympicsSteroidsThe reality is with us for a long time, but the acknowledgement comes just now.

Olympic officials finally admit the truth the Games may never be completely free from steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Months leading up to the Summer Games in Beijing has netted dozens of athletes who tested positive for banned substance and/or violated testing protocols. And the fact that quite a few of those violators were possible gold winners rattles key sports leaders.

To keep up with the advancement in doping practices – emergence of new methods and drugs that elude screening – anti-doping officials adopt new testing policy for the coming years. It’s a paradigm shift for many anti-doping organizations as they adopt new procedures to respond to the newfangled problems in sports today.

Among these procedures is the so-called deterrent effect. Official will conduct frequent testing as well as scientific studies in designer drug detection. In Beijing Olympics, for example, WADA is expected to conduct 4,500 drug tests, the highest ever in the history of Olympics. Four years ago in Athens, WADA oversaw 3,500 tests and came up with 26 positive cases.

“I’ve said that we could expect between 30 and 40 positive cases [during the Games],” said International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge. “That is the extrapolation of the figures from Athens…If we have less, we must be extremely glad because that will mean that there has been a deterrent effect.

“Am I disappointed that there is still doping? Of course, I am. I hate doping. But we have to be realistic. It would be wrong to be Utopians. Doping is to sport what criminality is to society and there will always be criminality in society.”

Because of the stepped-up policy, the top five finishers in each event and two randomly chosen competitors will undergo a combination of blood tests and checks for the presence of synthetic EPO, an endurance-boosting hormone. Olympic organizers will also test for human growth hormone (HGH), the first they will do so. Further, scientists will also test for other key hormone levels and other signs that may indicate an athlete’s attempt to artificially enhance his or her performance.

Also as part of the new program, samples will be stored for eight years which will allow officials to conduct retests when scientists develop more efficient methods of detection.

John Fahey, head of WADA, is glad with other countries’ efforts to dissuade athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs. “…they (countries) have embarked upon a systematic testing regime in the months leading up to departure of their teams for Beijing. . . . I hope that in two weeks’ time, when we walk away from here, we’ve seen results that have made a significant step in the way back to confidence and integrity in sport.”

USADA testing program – will athletes come out clean?

Prior to the Beijing Olympics, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has recently adopted a pilot testing program with the goal of ideally getting rid of use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in sports. The program has involved twelve American athletes who are preeminent in their respective sport discipline. The volunteer athletes include champion US sprinter Tyson Gay, record-setting swimming superstars Michael Phelps and Dara Torres; and Allyson Felix, two-time 200 meter world champion.

The USADA program has required a two-week period of blood and urine testing to determine a body chemistry baseline. After the baseline has been set, the volunteers have undergone unannounced blood and urine tests. Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of USADA, considered the program as the most advanced and comprehensive in the world.

Gay volunteered to the program to help clean the image of his sport. There had been doping scandals that now and then pop in mainstream media that involve high-profile track stars. Marion Jones, who is currently serving a six-month prison term, comes quickly to mind when talking about doping in athletics.

“I definitely understand people questioning people running fast because we’ve had several track athletes busted for steroids in the past,” Gay said. “I get tested whenever they want to test me. If it’s six vials of blood one week, then again the next week, that’s just the price I have to go through to make sure everything is OK.”

Tygart is also optimistic about the program’s end result.

“The general climate in sports today creates an unfair environment where athletes, whether setting world records or competing at an older age, are all of a sudden accused of doing it by performance-enhancing drugs,” Tygart said. “We want to do everything possible to take away that stigma for the clean athletes. We want to give athletes a testing platform that we all can have comfort in knowing they’re actually clean. That’s a dream of ours.”

Archaic and high-tech doping

According to a Boston Globe article, sports officials now have to contend with both low-tech methods (urine swapping) and revolutionary means (gene doping) to outsmart testing protocol.

The seven Russian track-and-field athletes caught days before the Games are accused of tampering with urine samples. DNA taken from the urine did not match DNA taken from the athletes, prompting one Olympics official to call it a case of “systematic doping.” Whether that proves true or not, urine tampering is a prime example of back-to-the-future cheating by athletes. Using someone else’s urine to pass drug tests was first done roughly 40 years ago.

As athletes try to evade new drug tests, future doping scandals appear likely to involve either low-tech methods from the past or frighteningly advanced science.

Gene doping is on the horizon for the 2012 London Olympics, though its short- and long-term effects are still largely unknown. To alter themselves on a cellular level, athletes inject synthetic genes designed to either promote muscle growth or increase endurance. Since the synthetic genes blend easily with the athlete’s DNA, it is impossible to detect gene doping without multiple muscle biopsies, which is not exactly practical when officials are already performing 4,500 tests during the Olympics.

“There is an expertise that makes us more effective than we ever were before,” said Fahey, the WADA chief. “That doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t cheats out there still, or that there might always be cheats out there.”

Gene doping, Fahey said, “May become something that enters the lexicon of doping in the days ahead, and we want to be there to pick it up and deal with it at an earlier stage. Much of what we do is about public health. At this point, we’re thinking about the world’s elite athletes. But to the point that this or any of those other drugs are taken, there is a risk to the health, sometimes the lives, of those who are doping.”

Unfortunately, that is not a strong enough deterrent for some athletes seeking gold. If athletes are willing to risk their lives by using steroids or gene doping, it is easy to see why measures taken by sports leaders can only lessen, not eliminate, cheating.

Wednesday 06, Aug 2008

  Steroid-free Olympics? An oxymoron, if you asked us

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steroids-2008olympicsWith the recent upsurge of steroid-related news making it to the mainstream media, it is now obvious how the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids has become prevalent in the world of competitive sports.

Despite the much publicized crackdown of China on steroids and performance-enhancing drugs recently, don’t expect a chemical-free Olympic Games.

And don’t let John Fahey and WADA assure you that this will be the cleanest Olympics ever, because it would not be so. To say that winners of events that require strength, endurance, and speed are steroid-free is to say that China is a totally democratic country.

And the more juiced-up athletes are caught, the more the public would think that winners are likely fueled by PEDs.

Well, we’re putting it rather mildly here.

Here’s a sterner view on China and the Olympics from Mail Online:

No one with a grain of intelligence will question that such diverse sports as cycling, in which Britain anticipates a medal haul, and weightlifting are rife with steroids.

It requires a leap of faith – of which not even the amazing Hildreth would be capable – to predict that the Beijing Games will not be blighted by drugs.

Even if that were to happen, the only rational conclusion would be that the organisers had cooked the tests to avoid killing the Peking duck. Catch 22 for the IOC is that the more cheats they reel in, the more doubting the world’s population becomes.

Even athletes who deny all guilt are acutely aware of the implications.

Top sprinters Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt acknowledge that whichever of them wins Saturday week’s 100m dash to be crowned fastest man on earth will be the subject of suspicion.

Our unlikely world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu and triathlete Tim Don – both of whom managed to overturn their British Olympic Association life bans for missing three drugs tests – complain that no matter what they achieve in the next two-and-a-half weeks they will still be stigmatised. Too right they will.

Public perception of the Olympics will not be improved by the number of convicted drugs cheats coming back from suspension around the world to compete in these Games. Beijing has more problems than termites in rotting wood . . . air pollution, Tibet, human rights, Darfur, media freedom, dog-meat on restaurant menus and typhoons threatening the sailing events, to name but a few.