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Thursday 25, Dec 2008

  2008 most controversial doping cases

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steroidsThis year is Olympic year so it’s more interesting than the previous years as far as doping is concerned.

Remember the canny seven Russian track and field athletes who resorted to urine swapping to pass drug tests?

The International Association of the Athletics Federation officials became suspicious when said women athletes were always present for unannounced random tests. The Russians were also very punctual, arriving at testing places even before the IAAF officials got there.

“There were no ‘no shows’,” one official told Reuters. “The Russians were always there.”

So the officials started storing the athletes’ samples. Further investigation revealed that the latest urine samples provided by the athletes did not match the DNA of the stored samples. The Russians were later suspended. The athletes include Tatyana Tomashova, the two-time world 1,500 meters champion; and Yelena Soboleva, the world indoor 1,500 meters champion.

And who wouldn’t remember the Greek athletes who figured prominently in this year’s doping list because of quite a handful of failed dope tests.

In March, eleven of the 14 members of the Greek weightlifting team tested positive for the steroid methyltrienolone in out-of-competition testing in Athens. Then there was champion hurdler Fani Halkia, sprinter Dimitris Regas, and Anastasios Gousis who got banned for testing positive also for methyltrienolone. All Greek athletes were suspended for doping.

In Tour de France four riders, including the third finisher Bernhard Kohl, were suspended for testing positive for CERA, the new generation variant of the blood-boosting drug EPO

There was Marion Jones’ sprint in and out of jail for her use of performance-enhancing drugs and her involvement in a check fraud case. Jones began her six-month jail term March and was released September 5.

The NFL’s diuretic case also was in the news which involved several athletes who blamed the StarCaps weight-loss pill for their failed dope tests. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams of the Vikings were among the players who tested positive for the masking agent bumetanide.

The Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds anabolic steroids cases also dominated the sports scene in 2008 and are expected to remain in the headlines in 2009. The much-awaited Barry Bonds trial will commence March next year

Monday 01, Dec 2008

  IOC will implement retroactive dope screening for Beijing samples until 2016

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Beijing-2008-Summer-Olympics-SteroidsOne Times Online article labeled International Olympic president Jacques Rogge as a “deluded individual” when Rogge expressed his displeasure of Usain Bolt’s celebration of his victory at Beijing. Usain earned Rogge’s rebuke when the Jamaican sprinter failed to shake hands with his co-competitors after his impressive win at the 100 meters.

However, Rogge’s recent interview with the BBC’s Inside Sport, as related by AFP, portrayed a very pragmatic man. The IOC president said those who aspire for a 100 percent drug-free Olympics were out of touch with reality. He added cheating will always be part of human nature.

“I think one has to be realistic,” Rogge said.

“Drug-free sport in general is Utopia. It will be naive to believe that no-one will take drugs.

“There are about 400 million people practicing sport on this globe, there are not 400 million saints on earth.

“Cheating is embedded in human nature and doping is to sport what criminality is to society.

“You will always need cops and judges and prisons and jails and rules and regulations.”

IOC is planning to catch more users of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancers as it’s currently implementing re-testing of the samples taken at the Beijing Olympics. The IOC head “expects further positive doping cases to emerge from these” up to 2016 Games.

Rogge said all the samples they obtained from Beijing – more than 5,000 screenings, including nearly 1,000 blood samples – will be available for retroactive testing. The blood samples will be screened for new generation performance-enhancing drugs CERA and insulin. And if new testing techniques will emerge between now and 2016, the same samples will go through re-testing.

“We are keeping the samples for eight years and we are going to re-test them,” said Rogge.

“And ultimately the judgment on the Beijing Games will be given in eight years’ time, because each time a new scientific test is coming up we are going to re-test.”

Rogge assumed the IOC position on July 2001, replacing Juan Antonio Samaranch. Rogge has his share of criticisms and the most recent of these were his disapproval of Bolt’s behavior (mentioned above) and his statement regarding Greek athletes. He allegedly stated that “Greece won the gold medal in doping” because of a spate of failed dope tests of Greek athletes.

Monday 03, Nov 2008

  Greek hurdler charged with steroid use

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greece steroidsFani Halkia was formally charged with steroid use and she could stay behind bars for up to two years if convicted.

George Panagiotopoulus, Halkia’s coach, was likewise charged with administering prohibited substances with a penalty up to three years imprisonment and around $26,000 in fine.

No trial date has been set for both cases. Under the Greek law, doping offenses are considered as misdemeanor.

The Greek sports authorities have been embarrassed by the doping activity of their athletes, calling the series of positive tests among the Greeks as “organized effort”. Fifteen athletes, including Halkia, tested positive for the anabolic steroid methyltrienolone, popularly known as M3.

Halkia was disqualified from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing when it was announced on August 18 that she tested positive for said steroid. She won the gold medal in the women’s 400m hurdles at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Other athletes who tested positive for M3 were sprinters Tassos Gousis and Dimitris Regas. In March this year, 11 members of the Greek weightlifting team tested positive for the same prohibited compound.

M3, also known as R1881 and Metribolone, is a potent but non-aromatizable steroid. It is a 17-methylated derivative of trenbolone, and thus it is sometimes called as “oral tren”.