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Archive for  November 2008

Sunday 30, Nov 2008

Bernhard Kohl gets 2-year ban for blood doping

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Tour_De_France_steroidsThis year’s Tour de France best climber Bernhard Kohl receives a two-year suspension from the Austrian anti-doping agency (NADA).

Kohl, who also finished third overall in this year’s race, had tested positive for the blood booster CERA, the latest version of exogenous erythropoietin aka EPO.

The 26-year-old rider met with NADA on Nov. 24 and his suspension was announced after the closed door meeting. Contrary to earlier speculation that he will fully cooperate with authorities and reveal his drug source, Kohl did not reveal his drug source.

“Bernhard is willing to cooperate and he will tell about how he got the substance and how and where he used it,” Kohl’s manager Stefan Matschiner stated prior to the meeting with NADA.

The chairman of NADA’s disciplinary committee, Gernot Schaar, said Kohl did not divulge any details on how he got the CERA, a new variant of erythropoietin aka EPO.

“He did not name any names of the men behind his doping use,” Schaar said. “That means there could be no doubt about the penalty.”

Kohl’s could have gotten a lesser penalty had he fully cooperated with authorities.

“I’ve made my statement and I’ve been honest,” Kohl said. “If it’s appreciated (by NADA), it will be a good sign for the sport.”

Kohl was disappointed that he still got the maximum penalty despite coming out clean with his admission.

“It’s a shame that I got the same penalty as someone who denies everything. This is the wrong way. I definitely made clear how I got it and what my reasons behind it were.”

Matschiner, who did not attend the meeting, also expressed his disappointment with the verdict.

“I really hoped his cooperative attitude would have lowered the penalty,” Matschiner was quoted as saying in an interview with Austrian media after the announcement of the ban.

Saturday 29, Nov 2008

Cristina Perez, wife of doping doctor, says she could bring Spanish sport down

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spain_steroidsCristina Perez is a woman scorned by the Spanish authorities and she threatens to retaliate.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” says the character (incidentally named Perez) of a William Congreve’s play, and Perez plans to get back at her husband’s defamers by revealing Spanish athletes’ usage of steroids and other prohibited compounds.

Perez’s husband, Dr.  Eufemianio Fuentes, was arrested in 2006 in Operation Puerto for his alleged role in the country’s biggest blood doping ring.

“To call a doctor dedicated to sports science who has killed no one a criminal mastermind seems shameful to me,” Perez said.

“I know what happened at Barcelona ’92 and I’m a Pandora’s Box that, if opened one day, could bring down sport,” Perez she told a Spanish newspaper. “But out of respect for my companions, the people who sacrificed so much, I’m staying quiet. Although I could speak out and ruin all those caught up in this little world.”

Perez, who also ran on Spain’s 1,600-meter relay team at the 1992 Olympics, was referring to  Spain’s medal haul in Barcelona ‘92 wherein the host country won 13 gold, seven silver and two bronze medals. Four years earlier at Seoul Olympics, Spain was able to grab one gold, one silver, and two bronze medals only. The improvement in the medal tally, according to Perez, was largely due to the doctor’s work.

Operation Puerto has implicated more than 50 professional riders, including Francesco Mancebo, Alejandro Valverde, Oscar Sevilla, Jose Gutierrez, and Alberto Contador. Contador was the 2007 Tour de France champion.

Friday 28, Nov 2008

George Mitchell thinks his report reduced usage of PEDs in baseball

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mitchell_steroid_reportBy next month, the Mitchell Report will be a year old.

In his interview with AP, George J. Mitchell, the former Democratic senator who headed the investigation on the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in baseball, thinks something positive came out of that inquiry. He said doping in the Major League decreased as a result of the report.

“The impression I get is that it’s had a significant impact of reducing usage, although that still remains very difficult to measure with any complete precision,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell, who now chairs an international law firm and works as the chancellor to a university in Northern Ireland, has some regrets when it comes to the report’s impact on the lives of the people who got implicated in the drug scandal.

“Obviously as a human being, I regret and don’t take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune, whether I have any relationship to it or not,” Mitchell said. “What we did was to try to meet the obligation which we’d undertaken, and we did so. Each player involved made his decision on how to respond.”

The 20-month and 409-page investigative report have named 89 players in all, including Roger Clemens whom the AP article tagged as “the report’s biggest loser”.

Headed to the Hall of Fame with 354 wins before the Mitchell Report, his Cooperstown chances deteriorated when Mitchell made public McNamee’s allegations that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner had used steroids and human growth hormone before they were banned. It led to a high-profile congressional hearing in February in which McNamee accused Clemens’ wife, Debbie, of using HGH, and the Department of Justice was asked to investigate whether the pitcher lied when he denied McNamee’s account.

In addition, Clemens sued McNamee for defamation, a case still in its early stages. In the fallout from the suit, the New York Daily News reported Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country star Mindy McCready that began when she was 15. Clemens denied having an affair with a 15-year-old but didn’t specifically address whether he had a romance with McCready.

The former Majority Leader acknowledged that there still so much that needs to be done to eradicate use of PEDs in the sport.

“I would be very doubtful that it is completely clean in the sense nobody is using,” he said. “You don’t know whether this is a temporary response because of the attention it’s gotten and whether over time it will begin to resume an increase. I think that’s unlikely given the aggressive nature of the response, but it’s something you have to be continuously concerned about.”

“The most important thing is to create an attitude which reflects the awareness that this is a dynamic ongoing program,” he said. “You can never reach the stage where you can say, we solved it, that’s it. You may have solved this drug, but there’s a lot of money involved and there are a lot of people who are seeking to make some of that money by creating new illegal drugs. And so you have to have a constant attention, constant focus, constant effort.”

Thursday 27, Nov 2008

Barry Bonds scored points in his doping-related case

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barry bonds steroidsBarry Bonds’ defense team got five of the 15 pending charges dismissed against their client, and for the controversial slugger, that’s way better than scoring several home runs.

The home run king, however, is still facing 10 criminal counts and that number could reach 11 since prosecutors are seeking a new indictment, intending to correct the charge containing the typo.

Each of the criminal counts carries a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison; however, some legal observers say Bonds could get a lesser sentence with just 2 ½ years in prison.

Illston is known to hand lenient verdicts, such as in the case of cyclist Tammy Thomas. The judge sentenced Thomas to six months in home confinement, not anywhere near the 2 ½ -year prison term prosecutors had sought.

Thursday 27, Nov 2008

Swimmer Max Jaben gets one-year suspension for boldenone

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israel_steroidsMax Jaben, member of the Israeli swimming team, has been penalized with a one-year suspension due to a failed dope test.

The 23-year-old Jaben qualified to represent Israel in the Olympics but missed the chance to swim in Beijing when he tested positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone (commonly sold under the trade name Equipoise) in his two samples. In his “A” sample, taken on April, traces of boldenone were detected. His “B” sample was likewise found to contain the prohibited compound.

The Israeli Swimming Association could have imposed a two-year suspension but opted for only a year since it’s Jaben’s first offense and he already missed the Olympics, said Yaron Michaeli, spokesperson for ISA.

Jaben grew up in Kansas City and attended the University of Florida for two years before transferring to the University of Missouri. He became a member of the swim teams of both universities.

Jaben attempted to make it to the United States Olympic swim team but failed on two occasions. He then made aliyah to Israel.

When interviewed after the announcement of his disqualification from Beijing Olympics, Jaben stated his disappointment.

“I felt like a plane crashed. I went from being atop the world. As of right now, it’s all gone,” said Jaben. “It’s a horrible feeling, something that I’ve never imagined feeling…

“As a sportsman, this is the lowest low that you can go.”

Wednesday 26, Nov 2008

Jets to be fined by NFL for two doping suspensions

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new-york-jets-steroidsAs a consequence for a second suspension off their roster, the New York Jets faces a fine from the National Football League under a newly adopted policy.

Jets rookie quarterback Erik Ainge tested positive for a banned diuretic and was slapped with a four-game suspension for violating NFL’s steroids and related substances policy.

Ainge’s teammate Jesse Chatman was the first to commit doping infraction when he tested positive for bumetanide. He was penalized with a four-game suspension without pay a week prior the start of the season.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has figured in several run-ins with authorities with the recent one taking place last month at a Dallas hotel in what one news article has described as “an alcohol-related scuffle with a bodyguard”. Pacman was suspended for four games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Wednesday 26, Nov 2008

Hearing for Mohammad Asif’s doping case set

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international-premier-league-steroidsPakistan’s controversial fast bowler Mohammad Asif doping case will be heard on Nov. 29, according to Sky Sports.

Asif tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone during the International Premier League (IPL) competition in May.

During his initial hearing with the IPL anti-doping tribunal on Oct. 11, no decision was made on his case. The tribunal will decide the sanctions to be imposed for Asif’s doping violation. The athlete could face at least a two-year ban if found guilty.

His lawyer, Shahid Karim, hopes for a quick resolution of the case.

“We have worked on legal and medical aspects of the case and hope that the tribunal will make a decision at the hearing on November 29,” Karim said.

“Evidence will be recorded during the hearing, and we will present testimony.

“It is our chance to fight the case – and we will give it our all, since this is a matter of my client’s international career.”

In October 16, 2006, Asif reportedly tested positive for nandrolone (commonly sold under the trade name Deca-Durabolin) with teammate Shoaib Akhtar.

The Pakistan Cricket Board suspended Akhtar and Asif for two years and one year, respectively. However, the bans imposed on them were overturned on December 5, 2006 upon their appeal.

Tuesday 25, Nov 2008

Tim Montgomery finally admits he took steroids and HGH

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tim-montgomery-steroidsThis is probably Tim Montgomery’s way of redeeming himself in the eyes of the public.

As he serves his four-year sentence for fraud and conspiracy offenses, the former sprinter admits in an interview with HBO that he took testosterone and human growth hormone prior to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Because of the doping infringement, Montgomery says, he does not deserve the gold medal he won in the 400 meter relay.

“I have a gold medal that I’m sitting on that I didn’t get with my own ability,” Montgomery stated in the interview. “I’m not here to take away from anybody else’s accomplishments, only my own. And I must say, I apologize to the other people that was on the relay team if that was to happen.”

Darryl Seibel, spokesman for the US Olympic Committee, has an immediate retort for Montgomery.

“If Tim Montgomery cheated at the games, then he should step forward and voluntarily return his medal, just as others from the 2000 team have done. By using a banned substance, any result he achieved is tainted,” Seibel said to Associated Press.

“He has a responsibility to his sport, to the athletes against whom he competed in Sydney and also to the new generation of track athletes who are doing their best to compete the right way and put problems like this in the past.”

Montgomery’s case has precedents, and they don’t bode well for Jon Drummond, Bernard Williams, Brian Lewis, Maurice Greene and Kenneth Brokenburr – Montgomery’s teammates at the 400 meter relay.

The men’s team which won the 1,600 meter event also at the Sydney Olympics were stripped off their medals when one member, Antonio Pettigrew, confessed to doping. Same thing happened with the U.S. women’s teams also in Sydney when the former sprint queen Marion Jones was implicated in a doping scandal. Jones’ teams, which won the gold in the 1,600 meter and bronze at the 400 meter relay, were disqualified by the International Olympic Committee executive board and were asked to return their medals.

“This is an example of the far-reaching consequences of cheating,” Seibel said. “The integrity of sport must be preserved, even if that means invalidating results and forfeiting medals.”

Jones had served her six-month sentence for lying about her use of anabolic steroids and her role in a check-fraud scheme. She was released from prison facility in Texas on September 5, 2008. Meanwhile, Montgomery, Jones’ former boyfriend, has to face another prison term after serving his check-fraud sentence, wherein Steve Riddick, coach to both Montgomery and Jones, was also involved. Riddick was also convicted for conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering charges.

After Montgomery completes his sentence for the fraud charges, the 33-year-old former record holder is to serve another five years for selling more than 100 grams of heroin. He was found guilty of this crime and sentenced to jail October this year.

Tuesday 25, Nov 2008

Viagra may join anabolic steroids in WADA’s prohibited list by 2009

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Viagra WADAThe cat’s out of the bag!

This could be the collective statement of athletes who’ve been getting some help from the diamond-shaped blue pills of Viagra outside the bedroom – i.e. as an anabolic agent.  Viagra may be among the prohibited compounds endorsed by anti-doping organizations, principally the World Anti-Doping Agency.

This comes up as a WADA-financed research is nearing culmination. The study, being conducted by the Marywood University in Scranton, PA involved lacrosse players, is aimed at finding out if Viagra provides unfair competitive edge to athletes. If Viagra is proven to be a performance-enhancing drug it can be put on WADA’s banned list on September 2009 at the earliest, five months before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to New York Times.

Aside from the Marywood study, several researches have been initiated to pinpoint the exact effects of Viagra on the performance of athletes. More from the New York Times:

Through the decades, athletes have tried everything from strychnine to bulls’ testicles to veterinary steroids in a desperate, and frequently illicit, effort to gain an advantage. Several years ago, word spread that Viagra was being given to dogs at racetracks, said Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, based in Colorado Springs.

Interest in the drug among antidoping experts was further increased by a study conducted at Stanford University and published in 2006 in The Journal of Applied Physiology. The study indicated that some participants taking Viagra improved their performances by nearly 40 percent in 10-kilometer cycling time trials conducted at a simulated altitude of 12,700 feet — a height far above general elite athletic competition. Viagra did not significantly enhance performance at sea level, where blood vessels are fully dilated in healthy athletes.
A 2004 German study of climbers at 17,200 feet at a Mount Everest base camp, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, found that Viagra [cialis] relieved constriction of blood vessels in the lungs and increased maximum exercise capacity.

At this point, there is no evidence of widespread use of Viagra by elite athletes, Mr. Tygart said. Yet, because the drug is not prohibited and thus not screened for, there is no way to know precisely how popular it is.

Viagra is the popular trade name of sildefinil citrate which was made commercially available in 1998 in the United States and has become a household name because it’s been found to be effective in treating what used to be a hush-hush condition – erectile dysfunction.

Viagra was originally developed to treat hypertension and angina pectoris, but it has been discovered that it has minimal effects on angina but impressive outcome on penile erections.
In bodybuilding circles, Viagra is popular as a pre-contest drug because it positively affects the release of nitric oxide (NO), the chemical compound that relaxes or widens the smooth muscles, allowing ideal blood flow. This further leads to improved transport of oxygen to muscle cells and increased rate of release of lactic acid, a compound which takes part in the body’s energy production.  This results to the so-called pump that many bodybuilders – and athletes – seek because it translates to high endurance.

Monday 24, Nov 2008

Jets rookie QB suspended for steroid policy violation

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new-york-jets-steroidsAnother New York Jets player is suspended for violating NFL’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

Erik Ainge, Jets rookie quarterback, is suspended for four games for testing positive for an unnamed prohibited compound. He will serve the suspension without pay.

“We respect the league’s decision and look forward to Erik’s return,” a Jets spokesman said.

Ainge is eligible to return to the team’s roster Dec. 15. His four-game absence, however, is not expected to cause that much impact on the team’s output since he’s on injured reserve Oct.29 for a foot injury.

The 22-year-old Ainge was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Ainge comes from a family of athletes. His father, Doug Ainge, played basketball in college. Danny Ainge, former NBA and MLB, player is his uncle. His grandfather, Don Ainge, was drafted by the MLB’s Boston Red Sox, but did not take the offer.

Ainge’s teammate Jesse Chatman was suspended a week before the start of the season. He has rejoined the team Oct. 6.

The Jets’ running back was among several players who reportedly tested positive for the banned diuretic bumetanide, considered a masking agent for anabolic steroids.

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