Drugs in sport

I’m sure he did, liars usually do

Lance Armstrong has finally, sort of admitted to be a lying, cheating scum bag. And some of former team mates think he sounded sorry…of course he can easily sound sorry sitting on the millions he won by being a lying, cheating, doping scumbag…but hey…at least he sounded sorry.

Some of Lance Armstrong’s former teammates view his doping confession as an important step in helping cycling restore its damaged credibility, while his former rivals are largely indifferent to his admission of cheating.

After long refuting allegations of drug cheating, Armstrong admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey to using the blood-booster EPO, testosterone, and to having blood doped during his seven straight Tour wins from 1999-2005.

He has since been stripped of all those titles and banned from competing for life following a US Anti-Doping Agency report exposing the extent of his doping.  Read more »

Drug Cheat

Lance Armstrong is a serial drug cheat. Evidence of his cheating is now a veritable avalanche:

[T]he evidence revealed “conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy.”

The evidence against Armstrong features financial payments, e-mails, scientific analyses and laboratory test results that show Armstrong doped and was the kingpin of the doping conspiracy, the agency said. Several years of Armstrong’s blood values showed evidence of doping, the report said.

“It’s shocking, it’s disappointing,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive of the antidoping agency. “But we did our job.”

Worse it was a state funded team-run doping conspiracy.

While the criminal investigation is no more, an inquiry by the Department of Justice is continuing, sparked by Landis’s filing a federal whistle-blower lawsuit charging that Armstrong and the team management defrauded the government by using taxpayer dollars to finance the squad’s doping program.

He claimed that Armstrong and the team management were aware of the widespread doping on the team when the squad’s contract with the Postal Service clearly stated that any doping would constitute default of their agreement, said two people with knowledge of the case. Those people did not want their names published because the case is still under seal.

Landis filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act, the people with knowledge of the matter said, and those suits give citizens the right and financial incentive to bring lawsuits on the government’s behalf.

If the government decides to join the lawsuit and recovers any money because of it, Landis will be eligible to receive a percentage of the money.

It is thought that Landis could scalp back around 30%.

The Freak-Olympics, Ctd

Shelley Bridgeman picks up the theme:

Do you ever get the feeling that our attitude towards sport and athletes is trapped in some sort of virtual time-warp? At least that was my initial response to Graydon Carter’s thought-provoking editorial in the latest issue of Vanity Fair which compared the double standards we apply to sports as opposed to other aspects of human endeavour.

“When an actor gives a cocaine-fuel[l]ed, Oscar-winning performance, do we take his award away? Do we reclaim a singer’s Grammy, or put an asterisk after it in the record books, when we discover that he was ramped up on illegal substances? Why all the outrage over athletes?” he asked.

“Let’s face it, who among us wouldn’t take a pill or potion that would make us better at our job? Goodness knows, we abuse substances for just about everything in our personal lives; why not in our professional lives as well?”

Exactly…and they do..so why the outrage:

There’s surely something a little bit 1950s about our insistence that athletes and their urine samples are pure as the driven snow. Just like the advice to housewives about making themselves presentable when their husbands return home after a hard day at the office, our obsession with keeping performance-enhancing drugs out of sport verges on being quaint and old-fashioned.

In its refusal to acknowledge the reality that drugs, in their various forms, are almost inescapable these days, it even has shades of those flawed arguments from the 1980s about sport and politics not mixing. How long can we maintain this affectation that sportspeople must be squeaky clean on the drug front?

I want to see athletes juiced to the gunwhales…

Presumably the drugs are getting both more effective and more difficult, if not impossible, to detect. What happens when they evolve to a point where they surpass our ability to screen for them – and how do we know that hasn’t actually occurred?
The tipping point will surely come when performance-enhancing drugs, far from harming an athlete’s body, shortening their career or delivering unwanted side-effects, are actually health enhancing too. When these drugs are actively good for you, even the hitherto ‘clean’ athletes are likely to demand their share.

When the appeal of drug-assisted sporting performances stretches beyond the unscrupulous, desperate athletes and filters down to the mainstream contingent the rules will have to change. My prediction is that, like it or not, we’ll eventually have to relinquish this entrenched belief that sport is somehow divorced from scientific advances and the realities of modern life.

The Freak Olympics? Ctd

ᔥ The Atlantic

Forget performance enhancing drugs, how about genetically modified athletes? Forget the pretence…let’s have the Freak Olympics with no restrictions at all…it would be freakin’ awesome:

After Ye Shiwen shocked the Olympics with her performance in the 400 meter individual medley, swimming the last 50 meters faster than Ryan Lochte, the men’s champion in the event, a long-time American coach ominously hinted that perhaps a new kind of performance enhancement had arrived on the athletic scene.

“If there is something unusual going on in terms of genetic manipulation or something else, I would suspect over eight years science will move fast enough to catch it,” John Leonard, the American executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, said.

It’s important to note that there is no evidence that Ye engaged in any doping practice, let alone something as new and high-tech as genetic manipulation.

But, the fact that genetic manipulation was even on the table or in the ether as the example Leonard gave in his accusation is remarkable. So I set out to find out how scientifically plausible it might be for Ye — or any athlete — to enhance his or her performance with current gene doping technology.

Wee Do Ping and Yah Wewon

ᔥ Sydney Morning Herald

It is no surprise that Chinese athletes are yet again caught up on doping scandals. On the eve of the Olympics a former team doctors has broken her silence on doping:

CHINESE Olympians were subjected to a state-sponsored doping regime which was modelled on eastern Europe, says a retired Chinese Olympic doctor.

Steroids and human growth hormones were officially treated as part of ”scientific training” as China emerged as a sporting power through the 1980s and into the 1990s, she says.

Athletes often did not know what they were being injected with and medical staff who refused to participate were marginalised, she says.

”It was rampant in the 1980s,” Xue Yinxian told Fairfax, in her home in Beijing’s eastern suburbs. ”One had to accept it.”

The testimony of Dr Xue, whose elite roles included chief medical supervisor for the Chinese gymnastic team as it vied with the former Soviet Union for gold medals in the 1980s, will not surprise many veterans of Olympic sports.

She does not allege that all successful Chinese athletes used drugs and has refrained, at this stage, from publicising names.

But it is the first time anyone in the system has publicly contradicted Beijing’s line that a slew of embarrassing doping busts, particularly among the Chinese swimming team in the 1990s, was merely the result of ambitious individual athletes and ignorant provincial coaches. Her allegation comes as most of China’s 394-strong Olympic team arrives in London for the opening ceremony tonight, London time.

They’ll be banning rooting next

ᔥ NZ Herald

…or banning the use performance enhancing drugs:

Russian athletes might have to be sneaky if they want to celebrate a medal with a traditional vodka at this year’s Olympics.

The Russian government announced today that alcohol will be banned during all receptions involving officials and athletes at the London Games.

Russian newspaper Kommersant reported the story under the headline ‘Stone Cold Sober’.

“Olympic values are not commensurate with the consumption of alcohol,” a spokeswoman for Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak told the newspaper, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Poor performances at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 has been cited as a reason behind the booze ban.