fredag 18 december 2009

From cheaters to leaders; Canada lost its innocence as a country with Ben Johnson's fall from grace...

Since then, we've been at the forefront of drug testing as cheating has become more and more common... It is a distinctive Canadian fantasy that we are all hoser cousins to Const. Benton Fraser, the overly polite, virtuous Mountie in the TV series Due South.After all, Vancouver Canucks fans have roundly booed the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner at playoff games, international speedskaters have complained of being shut out from access to the Richmond oval, and our single-minded Own the Podium, win-at-all-costs approach to the 2010 Winter Games tilts the playing field too much for some tastes.
"That, to me, is just not in the spirit of the Olympics," chided U.S. skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender.
It’s not the first time somebody has held a mirror up to us and we didn’t like the reflection.
In 1988, sprinter Ben Johnson was disqualified after winning 100-metre Olympic gold because a rival supposedly spiked his water bottle. As explanations go, it was lame —as plausible as Tiger Woods headed to the driving range when he crashed his Escalade at 2 a.m. Yet despite the messiness and the furor Johnson created, sparking a royal commission and passionate national hand-wringing, we were forever changed by it.
We grew up, lost our sense of virginity and reversed the ratio — long on rhetoric but short on action — to become world leaders in the anti-doping movement.
That position was cemented in place — literally — when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chose Montreal in 2001 as its home base. And it is no coincidence that Montreal is the hometown of lawyer Dick Pound, former International Olympic Committee vice-president, former chairman of WADA and one of the most strident critics of drug use in sports.
"I think there’s no question the Ben Johnson affair was a big shock to Canadians generally," Pound says. "It has propelled us into one of the leading countries in the anti-doping movement."
Even the name of Canada’s anti-doping body — the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport — has a moralistic, Benton Fraser ring to it, reflecting this country’s high-minded attitude to elite sport.Yet the watchdog agency responsible for administering our country’s anti-doping program seems to catch more "soft" drug takers than hardcore cheaters.
"The most common positive test [for a Canadian athlete] is marijuana," says Dr. Bob McCormack, Canada’s chief medical officer for the 2010 Olympics. "And pot is not exactly performance-enhancing."
But before we let our heads get as swelled up as baseball villain Barry Bonds’s transformed body, it’s naive to think there are no Canadians who accept performance enhancers as a means to a chemical edge.
Pound got into hot water with the National Hockey League in 2005 when he claimed about one-third of players, the majority of them Canadians, were taking advantage of »pharmaceutical assistance." It was a figure designed for shock value, though mild in comparison with Jose Canseco, the retired slugger who estimated that 85 per cent of major-leaguers were on steroids by the turn of the new millennium.
Pound is quick to point out that he is talking "stimulants," not "steroids," which can mean anything from caffeine intake (Wayne Gretzky gulped copious amounts of coffee before games), to Sudafed (an over-the-counter cold remedy players use to kick-start their motors) to heart-racing energy drink Red Bull.
"Just hearing [Alexander] Ovechkin say, ‘You don’t even need Red Bull to play in this building [Bell Centre in Montreal]’ tells you something," Pound says. "When players step out on the ice after ingesting these Sudafed and Red Bull cocktails, they’re just wired."
Still, what he says shouldn’t cause waves at all, not for anyone familiar with the Steroidal Era, and the hundreds of stories that remain buried. Did the fact that superhero Alex Rodriguez was unmasked as a cheat and admitted testing positive for steroids affect his already delicate relationship with Yankee fans? Not all, apparently, judging by the delirious throngs who lined the Canyon of Heroes in Manhattan to celebrate the Yankees’ 27th World Series title. A-Rod’s public rehabilitation might not be over, but he has at least reached first base compared to Bonds. Rarely does the topic of steroids go public in the Canadian Football League because there is no drug-testing policy. That is supposed to be rolled into a new collective bargaining agreement in 2010, promises commissioner Mark Cohon. But how necessary it is or how effective it can be is open to question, given the CFL’s working-class culture and the limited resources available to put real teeth into testing.A decade ago, there was a saying that to be a great Olympic athlete you need a great coach and a great chemist. Now you might need a great lawyer.
After years of discussion, WADA marked its 10th anniversary in November by ratifying the biological passport system, perhaps the most vigilant test yet in the detection of performance-enhancing drugs. The project involves collecting a sample of an athlete’s blood, storing the profile on WADA’s database and monitoring it over time to detect variations that could indicate doping. Long after traces of a banned substance have been purged from the system, an athlete’s passport could indict him for cheating through an abnormal blood profile, even without a positive drug test. It’s a reason you won’t see five-time Olympic gold medal speed skater Claudia Pechstein at the Winter Games in February. On Nov. 25, the German lost her appeal of a two-year ban based on an unusually high level of immature blood cells, though no actual trace of a drug was found.
"Because our athletes have been tested more severely, and we’ve stressed education, they are generally cleaner than [athletes in] some other countries," McCormack suggests. "It’s like tax filing. The more likelihood of an audit, the less of an incentive there is to cheat."
No doubt about it, since the mortifying spectacle of Ben Johnson, Canadian athletes have remained remarkably free from the whiff of scandal — the potent smoke of cannabis notwithstanding.
AFP/Getty Images files
Photograph by: ROMEO GACAD, AFP SUN

tisdag 8 december 2009

ATHLETE OF THE DECADE: Like him or not, Bonds drew all eyes - and most MVP votes

A month ago, during simpler times, Tiger Woods was presented with a tricky question: Who would he pick as the athlete of the decade?
Plenty of possible choices - Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant, Barry Bonds, Tom Brady, among them. Tiger, too. Told the list of candidates, and leaving himself out of the mix, Woods contemplated their merits for two holes during a pro-am in China before he finally found himself torn between Federer and Bonds.
Federer set the record for Grand Slam victories. And what did he find appealing about Bonds?
"Take the scandal out of it," Woods said. "He changed the game."
So there you have it. The whole Barry Bonds case, summed up by one of sports' greatest hitters.
On the field, with his maple bat cocked and his body covered in black armour, Bonds was a beast. Off the field, well, perhaps he also epitomized exactly what the era meant in baseball.
"No matter what people were thinking, they still came out to the park to see Barry," said Dusty Baker, Bonds' longtime manager in San Francisco. "Accuse him, cheer him, boo him, whatever. He was turning those turnstiles."
MVP in 2001. MVP in 2002. MVP in 2003. MVP in 2004. Remember this: No other player has won more than three MVP trophies in an entire career.
Oh, and the home runs.
A whopping 73 in a season and a record 762 for his career. Cameras flashed all over the Giants' waterfront ballpark in 2007 when he broke Hank Aaron's lifetime mark by launching No. 756 deep into the August night.
Bonds thrust both arms over his head when he connected, and the celebration began. He didn't seem to mind that Aaron and commissioner Bud Selig were absent, further fuelling the debate about steroid accusations and asterisks.
"This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period," Bonds declared.
Baker wasn't with the Giants then, but he once got a firsthand look at a similarscene. He was on deck in Atlanta when Aaron hit No. 715 in 1974 and broke Babe Ruth's record.
"I saw Hank Aaron every day," Baker said. "But when Barry Bonds was at his peak, boy!"
Easy to see why Bonds' achievements put him among the candidates for The Associated Press' Athlete of the Decade. And who would the slugger choose if he had a vote?
Woods, Bonds picked a few weeks ago. "He is an amazing golfer," Bonds told the AP through his publicist, Lisa Nitta.
Bonds' accomplishments may be equally amazing.
In 2001, he broke Mark McGwire's single-season home run record of 70. In 2002, he capped a monster post-season performance with his only World Series appearance - Bonds hit .356 with eight homers and 27 walks in 17 games that October, only to see the Giants fall short in Game 7 against the Angels.
In 2004, at age 40, Bonds became the oldest player to win an MVP award in North America's four major pro sports. He hit .362 with 45 home runs and 101 RBIs, yet those were hardly his most impressive stats.
His true dominance showed up in how teams pitched to him. Or rather, didn't pitch to him. Bonds drew 232 walks that year, 120 of them intentional passes. The Pittsburgh Pirates once gave him an intentional walk when he led off an inning - the 10th inning, that is.
Boosted by all those walks, Bonds reached base nearly 61 per cent of the time in 2004. Chances are, he didn't even do that as a kid playing Wiffle Ball in the backyard with his famous father. Who could?
Some pitchers basically decided to never fool around with Bonds. Consider Bonds' lifetime stats against reliever Guillermo Mota: 1-for-1, which was a home run, and eight walks. Arizona manager Buck Showalter took the same approach several years earlier, ordering Bonds to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded.
"Teams would try to take him out of the game, and he'd still find a way to beat you," Baker said.
Bonds missed most of 2005 because of knee trouble and couldn't find a club to sign him after 2007, when he led the majors in on-base average for the sixth time in seven years.
After winning three MVPs in the '90s, Bonds' totals for his shortened 2000s: 317 home runs with a .322 batting average, .517 on-base average and .724 slugging percentage.
Whether all of that will eventually lead Bonds to the Hall of Fame is uncertain. To some fans, he was the face of baseball's drug scandal, mentioned 103 times in the Mitchell Report.
Bonds steadfastly said he never knowingly used steroids - and he wasn't penalized by baseball - but still faces legal issues. In a case stemming from his testimony before a federal grand jury in December 2003, he pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice.
The cloud of suspicion certainly cost Bonds an opportunity to play longer, he was indicted seven weeks after his final game, and could cut down his chance of being elected to Cooperstown.
His agent, Jeff Borris, contacted teams for more than a year trying to find Bonds a job. Now 45, Bonds has not officially announced his retirement.
"He was run out of Major League Baseball. Barry's been unfairly vilified in the Steroid Era," Borris asserted. "If he had been allowed to keep playing, he would've hit 800-plus home runs in his sleep."
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.

torsdag 3 december 2009

Olympic athletes breaking drug rules should face lifetime ban: poll

OTTAWA — Olympic athletes caught taking illegal drugs should face harsh penalties such as a lifetime ban from competing in sports, according to a national poll released Tuesday.
An overwhelming majority of Canadians polled (92.8 per cent) said there should be "severe sanctions" on Olympic athletes who test positive for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The poll, done by the Ottawa-based Nanos Research, found that about one-third (32.7 per cent) wanted a lifetime ban placed on doping athletes.
Another third (33.7 per cent) want a penalty of at least four years, while the remainder (26.4 per cent) favoured a one-year suspension, according to the results.
"In essence, there is virtually zero tolerance among Canadians for athletes using performance-enhancing drugs at the Olympics," says pollster president Nik Nanos in a statement.
Only 3.2 per cent said there should not be any kind of penalty while 4.1 per cent said they were unsure about their opinion.
"I think it's a clear statement that Canadians continue to stand up for clean sport and a level playing field," added Paul Melia, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), one of the organizations involved in drug testing for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
Melia said Olympic athletes now face a two-year ban for a first-time offence, and a lifetime ban if caught a second time.
Organizers at the upcoming Games say they plan on taking nearly 2,500 urine and blood samples from athletes during the competitions. Those tests — both random and targeted — will begin Feb. 4. Athletes will be checked to see if they have unusually high levels of testosterone or growth hormones in their bodies.
The $16.4-million drug-testing program, which includes an $8.9-million state-of-the-art lab, is the toughest stance organizers have ever taken at the Winter Olympic Games.
In 2006, organizers at the Turin Games tested only 1,200 athletes while only 800 tests were done in Salt Lake City.
Melia said the stronger anti-doping push in Vancouver is an effort to curb microdosing — using a banned substance well in advance of competition so that performance is enhanced, but the substance has cleared an athlete's body by the time of post-event testing — and to establish a larger sample database, since new technologies now allow blood samples to be stored for up to eight years.
"In Canada, we have been at it for a long time," Melia said. "Even before the world anti-doping code came into effect, we had a program that the code was based and modelled on."
Meanwhile, a quarter of the Canadians polled said they believed that drug use rates in the Olympics was still on the rise. Only one in five (19.6 per cent) believed the rates were falling.
The poll reported that Canadians had little faith in the World Anti-Doping Agency, which was developed 10 years ago to combat rampant drug use among athletes.
A spokesman with the Montreal-based agency could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Olympics have been plagued by a number of drug scandals.
In 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal and world records at the 1988 Seoul Olympics after it was discovered he had been taking anabolic steroids.
Officials at the 1998 Nagano Olympics took away Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati's gold medal after he tested positive for marijuana use. The medal, the first to be won in the sport, eventually was returned to Rebagliati because marijuana was not on the banned drug list.
In 2007, U.S. track athlete Marion Jones admitted that she had taken steroids while at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Jones forfeited the five medals she had won at the Games after her confession.
The survey also found that the majority (73.8 per cent) of those polled said they will watch some of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games in February, meaning it could be among the most-watched sporting events in Canadian history.
"Another way to contextualize the research? More Canadians are likely planning to watch the opening ceremonies in Vancouver than voted in the last federal election," said Nanos.
Nearly two-thirds (66.3 per cent) said they will tune into the opening ceremony on Feb. 12, while 68.4 per cent of Canadians polled said they were likely to follow daily recaps of events. Fewer (58.6 per cent) said they would watch the Games' closing ceremony.
The poll results were taken from a random telephone survey of 1,005 adults between Nov. 7 to Nov. 10.
It is accurate within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.


tisdag 17 november 2009

Ren Idrott hos IF Linneá

Det var som att kliva in i en svettig dimma. Det slog emot en lika hårt som de ungdomar som befann sig därinne smällde på upphängda fighterbags och villiga och mottagliga instruktörer. Pam!! Det kändes laddat, pam!pam!Pam! - det luktade testosteron och vinnarskallar men ochså ...mycket välkommet. Ren Idrott var igårkväll på besök hos Linnea Boxningsklubb i Stockholm. Innästlad precis mellan Mosebacke och Gamla Stadsteatern på söder ligger deras träningslokal och det råder febril aktivitet. Gamla som unga, killar och tjejer. Fokuseringen är enorm och när fikabordet dukades upp för den nödvändiga mackan och yogurt till återhämtningen fick ungdomar och tränare inta detta, som en god apertiff, inför och under en spännande föreläsning av RI och Tommy Moberg. AAS, Doping, kosttillskott, känsla och förstående. Föreläsningen ger bredd och kunskap. Många kommenterade. Många var frågorna. Han gör ett mycket bra jobb, Tommy. På ungdomars nivå lägger han informationen och blandat med en kuslig verklighet och realförankring invaggas förståelsen för konsekvenserna av att använda doping. Att beblanda sig i fel gäng eller att bara "pröva". Mixen mellan fakta, verklighet och "tänk om" är väl genomtänkt. På vägen hem gav jag Tommy en vänskaplig och uppskattande höger på axeln. Pam! Han var nöjd och till belöning blev det "världens största räkmacka"... "dé du Mia, världens bästa omega3"...

torsdag 12 november 2009

Hardy beats own world record in 50 breaststroke

STOCKHOLM — Wearing a torn swimsuit, Jessica Hardy broke her own world record in the women's 50-meter breaststroke by nearly half a second Wednesday at a short-course World Cup meet.
The American finished in 28.96 seconds in a qualifying heat to beat her mark of 29.36 set four days ago in Moscow.
"I'm really happy to go under 29," said Hardy. "It's been a goal all year. I didn't ever think I would do it and I didn't think it would be that easy."
Hardy returned to competition in August after serving a one-year doping ban. Leading up to the Olympic trials in July last year, Hardy had been taking a powdered supplement that she mixed in water called Arginine Extreme.
U.S. authorities successfully argued that she should have special exemption to serve only a one-year ban because it was due to the contaminated supplements. However, Hardy could be stripped of Wednesday's world record if that ruling is overturned.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and FINA have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, saying she should be banned for two years.
"I've been training my butt off because of the stuff I've been through," Hardy said. "The only thing I have control over in my life is swimming and how hard I work. I have really enjoyed working hard and I guess to reap the benefits now is just kind of fun."
The 22-year-old wore a suit with a four-inch tear across her back but said she would put on a new one for the final later Wednesday.
"It's old. I did it a while ago," Hardy said. "They tear pretty easily."
It was the fifth world record set at the meet. On Tuesday, Jing Zhao of China twice set records in the women's 50 backstroke. Records were also set by Felicity Galvez of Australia in the women's 100 butterfly and Kaio Almeida of Brazil in the men's 200 butterfly.

By MALIN RISING (AP) – 1 day ago

fredag 6 november 2009

Doping-Major cases in WADA's first decade

MONTREAL, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The following are 10 significant events that have helped to shape the fight against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in the decade since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was formed:

Tim Montgomery (United States, Athletics)
Montgomery's case is regarded as a landmark in the fight against doping as it introduced the non-analytical positive.
Once the world's fastest man, Montgomery never returned a positive test for a banned substance but admitted under oath to a U.S. Federal grand jury investigating BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative) that he had used steroids and human growth hormone.
Montgomery, who helped the United States to win gold in the 4x100 metres relay at the Sydney Olympics, was stripped of his medal and his 100 metres world record of 9.78 seconds set in 2002 in Paris was wiped from the record books based on the evidence given during his testimony. He was barred from competition in 2005 and retired the following year.
Montgomery, who has a son with disgraced sprint queen Marion Jones, was later sentenced to 46 months in prison for cheque fraud and money laundering and last October had five years added to his sentence after being convicted of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it.

BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative)
In 2003, a little laboratory on the outskirts of San Francisco became the epicentre of a huge doping scandal that continues to reverberate around the sporting world.
BALCO head Victor Conte, a former bass guitarist who switched careers and opened the laboratory, used a gregarious personality and self-taught knowledge of nutrition to gain access to some of the top names in athletics, baseball and American football.
Conte's operation was exposed after a syringe containing the designer steroid known as "The Clear" or THG (tetrahydrogestrinone) was handed over to doping authorities by disgruntled coach Trevor Graham.
The list of athletes linked to the laboratory included sprinters Montgomery, Jones and Dwain Chambers and baseball sluggers Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball's all-time home run king.
Bonds has denied knowingly taking steroids and has never failed a drug test but the seven-time National League Most Valuable Player has been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges based on his grand jury testimony in the BALCO investigation.

Marion Jones (U.S., Athletics)
The biggest scalp taken by anti-doping crusaders, Jones was the world's best known and most successful female athlete before her career ended in disgrace and jail.
Winner of five medals, including three golds, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Jones had been the darling of the sporting world until a federal probe into the BALCO laboratory revealed her feats had been powered by performance-enhancing drugs.
After confessing her steroid use, Jones, who earned millions in product endorsements, prize money and appearance fees, was stripped of the five medals and all her results from September 2000 were erased from the record books.
Humiliated and in financial ruin, Jones was sentenced to six months in prison in January 2008 for lying to federal prosecutors about her drug use.

Major League Baseball (MLB)
WADA gained a valuable ally in the fight against drugs in sport when the U.S. Congress used its muscle to force MLB to confront the doping issue.
Under threat from U.S. Congress to clean up the 'national pastime', MLB brought in highly respected Senator George Mitchell to conduct an independent investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the Major Leagues.
The result was a 20-month probe and an explosive, 409-page document known as "The Mitchell Report" released in 2007 that detailed a deep-rooted drug culture within baseball, identifying 89 players, including pitching great Roger Clemens, as alleged users of performance-enhancing drugs.
Commissioner Bud Selig termed the report "a call to action" and vowed to clean up baseball but two years later MLB continues to be battered by doping scandals.
In 2003, when MLB was debating the need to impose mandatory drug-testing, it conducted confidential tests on players with 104 returning positive results.
While those results were meant to remain anonymous they were leaked to the media ahead of the current season with baseball's highest-paid player, New York Yankees slugging third baseman Alex Rodriguez, featured at the top of the list.
Baseball's tainted reputation took another hit in May when Los Angeles Dodgers slugger and 12-times All-Star Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games after a positive test.

Rio Ferdinand (Britain, Soccer)
Ferdinand never failed a drug test but he did fail to appear for one in 2003, resulting in the Manchester United and England defender being given an eight-month suspension.
Ferdinand said he had simply forgotten about the scheduled test and took another one two days later that came back clean but, under the hard-line position of the Football Association, missing or refusing to be tested is the equivalent to testing positive.
It proved to be a costly slip for Ferdinand who was also fined 50,000 pounds ($82,600) and missed the rest of the league season and Euro 2004.
Although FIFA sought harsher sanctions in this case, world soccer's governing body and WADA have continued to bump heads over the contentious whereabouts rule that requires players to make testers aware of where they will be for a certain period each day.

While the doping scandal that consumed the 1998 Tour de France and became known as the Festina Affair preceded WADA, the events of that year provided the catalyst for the formation of a world anti-doping agency.
After watching the ugly scenes on television of police raiding team hotels searching for performance-enhancing drugs the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided that doping was an issue that could no longer be ignored and convened a World Conference on Doping, bringing together all parties involved in the fight against doping.
The conference produced the Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sport that provided the framework for the creation of an independent international anti-doping agency to be fully operational for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Kostas Kenteris/Ekaterini Thanou (Athletics, Greece)
Greek sprinters Kenteris and Thanou were expected to produce the biggest headlines at the 2004 Athens Olympics. They did, but for all the wrong reasons, plunging the host nation into a embarrassing doping scandal.
Kenteris, the 2000 Olympic 200 metres champion, and Thanou, who won silver in the women's 100 metres at Sydney behind admitted drug cheat Jones, were due to undergo doping tests the day before the opening ceremony but failed to appear, saying they had been involved in a motorcycle crash.
Thanou and Kenteris later withdrew from the Games amid speculation over whether there ever was an accident. They were later suspended by the IAAF for missing three drug tests.

Floyd Landis (U.S. cycling)
Landis became the first winner of the Tour de France to be stripped of the title after failing a dope test but for WADA the true victory came when the American's appeal was rejected and the ban upheld.
A day after a poor performance in the 16th stage of the 2006 race appeared to put him out of contention, Landis staged an astounding fight back, winning the final mountain stage in spectacular style to reclaim the yellow jersey.
A drug test after the 17th-stage win revealed Landis's dramatic charge was fuelled by performance-enhancing drugs when he tested positive for synthetic testosterone.
Landis denied using drugs and blamed the positive tests on procedural mistakes by the French laboratory, assembling a high-powered team of experts and lawyers to dispute the results.

Shane Warne (Cricket, Australia)
Widely regarded as the greatest leg spin bowler of all-time, Warne's career was interrupted by a one-year suspension from the Australian Cricket Board in 2003 after testing positive for a banned diuretic that could be used to mask other prohibited substances.
Warne admitted using the banned substance but said it was given to him by his mother so he would not look overweight on television.

Martina Hingis/Andre Agassi (Tennis, Switzerland/U.S.)
Hingis's return to competitive tennis was cut short in 2007 when the five-time Grand Slam winner announced she had tested positive for cocaine following her third-round match at Wimbledon.
The former world number one denied ever using cocaine but immediately retired for a second time saying she had "no desire to spend the next several years of my life reduced to fighting against the doping officials".
Eight-times Grand Slam champion Agassi shocked the tennis world last month when he admitted using the recreational drug crystal meth during his career and lying to men's governing body the ATP to escape a ban. WADA said it planned to investigate to see if any charges could be brought. (

Fri Nov 6, 2009 5:32am IST By Steve Keating/Editing by Clare Fallon

måndag 19 oktober 2009

SOLUTIONS/POUND: Handling pro athletes who use steroids

The question is too simple to be answered without some context. I assume it is directed at professional athletes who use steroids to enhance their performance, contravening rules that prohibit this.
If there are no contrary rules, players are free to take whatever drugs they choose, no matter how dangerous they may be, although professional sports organizations should accept an educational role so players can better appreciate the attendant risks. And, no matter what you may hear or read anywhere else, there are risks, both short term and long term. It is irresponsible to ignore them or to pretend that there are no reliable data pointing to the risks.
The other assumption (failing which there would be no need to solicit articles like this) is that sports have adopted rules prohibiting the use of certain drugs, including steroids. The question is limited to steroids, but there are many other drugs used in professional sport. Under this scenario, players compete, knowing the rules against the use of steroids, but some disregard them in order to obtain a competitive advantage.
At this point, it is worth taking a step backward, to consider the essential nature of sport. Sport is an activity defined and governed by rules agreed upon by all participants. Without rules, there is no sport. People considering whether or not to participate have a choice — if they do not like or disagree with the rules, they are free not to opt in. No one is forced to participate in sport. But, if they opt in, they must participate in accordance with the rules. Their competitors are entitled to rely on such compliance. If a rule is no good, it can be changed, but only by the sport as a whole, not unilaterally by individual players.
One of the sport rules, just like any of the many rules governing the field of play, equipment, scoring and so forth, is that the players may not use steroids. This may be a good rule (I think it is) or a bad rule (others will argue in this direction), but once it is a rule of the game, that is the end of the matter, unless the rule is changed at some time in the future by those representing all of the participants. In the meantime, if you use steroids, you are breaking the rules of the game and should be subject to sanctions.
Enter the professional sports organization: What should it do? First, it should educate its players regarding the existence of the rule and the reasons for it. Second, it should recognize that human nature is such that some players will cheat. It must, therefore, have an effective testing program to ensure compliance with the rules and have sanctions that will be serious enough to act as a deterrent. It should also make it clear that the health of the athletes is a factor, in addition to the integrity of the game and the expectations of players, spectators and the public at large. By appearing in a game or competition, every athlete makes a positive affirmation that he or she is in compliance with the rules. This is a higher standard than ordinary social conduct.
The "what it should do" is quite clear. Sadly, this is a far cry from what happens in practice. While lip service is paid to steroid-free sport — what professional sports organization in America would dare to say that it does not care what its players do or use — the detection and enforcement activities of some of them make the Keystone Kops look like Sherlock Holmes. An effective testing program for steroid use must be 24/7/365. Knowledge that testing will only occur during the competitive season is an invitation to use the offseason to bulk up. In spite of this, if someone is inept enough to test positive during the season (thereby failing an intelligence test as well as a drug test), the sanctions are ludicrous. A good steroid program produces an advantage lasting four to five years.
In Major League Baseball, the sanction is less than a third of a season; in the National Football League, a quarter of a season. It is practically an investment to take the risk of being caught. The message is that the professional sport organization does not care as much as it pretends to care about steroid use.
There are those who apparently welcome a sport system that allows drug use. They argue from the wrong premise, trying to pretend that because they do not think the rules are right, no one should be penalized for breaching them. Facile examples of advantages achieved in the absence of rules prohibiting specific conduct or equipment are trotted out as purported and illogical justification for use of steroids. They would not want their own children to use them but are free with advice that there is no risk, which non-acknowledged risk can be controlled with medical supervision. It is important not to be mesmerized by this well rehearsed "patter" and to separate the occasional kernel of wheat from the industrial quantities of chaff inherent in the "open everything up" agenda.
Turning sport into a pharmacological contest will destroy it. Responsible parents will keep their children out of it. The public will understand that it is no longer sport they are watching, but increasingly violent gladiatorial entertainment. Support for it will decline. Even the public has limited tolerance for meaningless freak shows.

Richard W. Pound
Richard W. Pound, a former Olympic swimmer, is a member of the International Olympic Committee and was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency. He remains a member of the WADA Foundation Board and is chancellor emeritus of McGill University in Montreal.

fredag 16 oktober 2009

Prehistoric man faster than todays best athletes?

Many prehistoric Australian aboriginals could have outrun world 100- and 200-metre record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.
Some Tutsi men in Rwanda exceeded the current world high jump record of 2.45 metres during initiation ceremonies in which they had to jump at least their own height to progress to manhood.
Any Neanderthal woman could have beaten former bodybuilder and current California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in an arm wrestle.
These and other eye-catching claims are detailed in a book by Australian anthropologist Peter McAllister entitled Manthropology and provocatively sub-titled The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male.
McAllister sets out his stall in the opening sentence of the prologue.
"If you're reading this then you -- or the male you have bought it for -- are the worst man in history.
"No ifs, no buts -- the worst man, period. ... As a class, we are, in fact, the sorriest cohort of masculine Homo sapiens to ever walk the planet."
Delving into a wide range of source material, McAllister finds evidence he believes proves that modern man is inferior to his predecessors in, among other fields, the basic Olympic athletics disciplines of running and jumping.
His conclusions about the speed of Australian aboriginals 20,000 years ago are based on a set of footprints, preserved in a fossilized claypan lake bed, of six men chasing prey.
An analysis of the footsteps of one of the men, dubbed T8, shows he reached speeds of 37 km/h on a soft, muddy lake edge. Bolt, by comparison, reached a top speed of 42 km/h during his then world- 100-metre-record run of 9.69 seconds at last year's Beijing Olympics.
In an interview, McAllister said that, with modern training, spiked shoes and rubberized tracks, aboriginal hunters might have reached speeds of 45 km/h.
"We can assume they are running close to their maximum if they are chasing an animal," he said.
"But if they can do that speed of 37 km/h on very soft ground, I suspect there is a strong chance they would have outdone Usain Bolt if they had all the advantages that he does.
"We can tell that T8 is accelerating towards the end of his tracks."
McAllister said it was probable that any number of T8's contemporaries could have run as fast.
"We have to remember, too, how incredibly rare these fossilizations are," he said. "What are the odds that you would get the fastest runner in Australia at that particular time in that particular place in such a way that was going to be preserved?"
Turning to the high jump, McAllister said photographs taken by a German anthropologist showed young men jumping heights of up to 2.52 metres in the early years of last century.
"It was an initiation ritual -- everybody had to do it. They had to be able to jump their own height to progress to manhood," he said.
"It was something they did all the time and they lived very active lives from a very early age. They developed very phenomenal abilities in jumping. They were jumping from boyhood onwards to prove themselves."
McAllister said a Neanderthal woman had 10 per cent more muscle bulk than modern European man. Trained to capacity, she would have reached 90 per cent of Schwarzenegger's bulk at his peak in the 1970s.
"But because of the quirk of her physiology, with a much shorter lower arm, she would slam him to the table without a problem (in an arm wrestle)," he said.
Manthropology abounds with other examples:
- Roman legions completed more than one-and-a-half marathons a day (more than 60 kilometres) carrying more than half their body weight in equipment.
- Athens employed 30,000 rowers who could all exceed the achievements of modern oarsmen.
- Australian aboriginals threw a hardwood spear 110 metres or more (the current world javelin record is 98.48).
McAllister said it was difficult to equate the ancient spear with the modern javelin, but added: "Given other evidence of Aboriginal man's superb athleticism, you'd have to wonder whether they couldn't have taken out every modern javelin event they entered."
Why the decline?
"We are so inactive these days and have been since the industrial revolution really kicked into gear," McAllister said. "These people were much more robust than we were.
"We don't see that because we convert to what things were like about 30 years ago. There has been such a stark improvement in times, technique has improved out of sight, times and heights have all improved vastly since then, but if you go back further it's a different story.
"At the start of the industrial revolution, there are statistics about how much harder people worked then.
"The human body is very plastic and it responds to stress. We have lost 40 per cent of the shafts of our long bones because we have much less of a muscular load placed upon them these days.
"We are simply not exposed to the same loads or challenges that people were in the ancient past and even in the recent past, so our bodies haven't developed. Even the level of training that we do -- our elite athletes -- doesn't come close to replicating that.
"We wouldn't want to go back to the brutality of those days, but there are some things we would do well to profit from."

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen
Photo: Usain Bolt hit a top speed of 42 km/h at the '08 Olympics. Footprints from some 20,000 years ago suggest an Aussie aboriginal may have hit 37 km/h on a soft, muddy lake edge. Photograph by:,

torsdag 15 oktober 2009

Angry Cannavaro cleared of doping

Juventus defender Fabio Cannavaro has criticised the media after he was cleared of doping by the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni).
The Italy skipper, 36, took a medicine containing banned substance cortisone after a wasp sting on 28 August and failed a dope test two days later.
But the case was dropped at the request of Coni's anti-doping prosecutor.
"You get stung by a bee and then find yourself in the newspaper as if you had been doping," said a furious Cannavaro.
"Some newspapers and television channels went too far.
"It's the second time in my life that I've found myself gratuitously in the newspapers for a story like this.
"I hope this story does not follow me beyond today. My career has always been distinguished by respect for the rules."
On the eve of Parma's 3-0 1999 Uefa Cup final victory over Olympique Marseille, Cannavaro was videoed inserting a drip into his arm.
His lawyer confirmed the drip contained Neoton, a drug used in cardiac surgery to protect the heart, and was not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances.CONI anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri asked for the case to be dropped last week, saying that Cannavaro had not committed a doping offence.
Torri has a reputation for being uncompromising in the battle against doping, having charged sports personalities in the past even when they argued that their positive tests were the result of accidents.
Cannavaro, who had requested an exemption after being treated for the sting but did not receive the documentation before he was tested, added on Juventus' website: "I didn't have any doubt [about the outcome].
"I am sorry that a matter of this kind stirred up such a fuss.
"My personal history and my career show my respect towards sports and the ethical principles which support it."
Cannavaro, who was suspended for Italy's 2-2 draw in Ireland on Saturday, which guaranteed their place at the World Cup finals in South Africa next year, is preparing to play in Wednesday's home game with Cyprus.

BBC Sport

tisdag 13 oktober 2009

Skandalcyklist hittad död på hotell

Frank Vandenbroucke har hittats död på ett hotellrum i Senegal.
Belgaren, som blev 34 år, har varit en av sportens mest omskrivna de senaste åren.
Vandenbroucke blev professionell redan 1994 och vann totalt 51 segrar under karriären – bland annat klassikern Liege-Bastogne-Liege 1999.
Belgaren befann sig på semester i Senegal när han hittades död på sitt hotellrum.
Enligt AP dog han av en blodpropp.
– En idrottsman med en briljant men alldeles för kort karriär han lämnat oss, säger Laurent De Backer, chef för det belgiska cyklingförbundet.
Frank Vandenbroucke har varit inblandad i flera skandaler på 2000-talet.
2002 fann polisen dopningspreparat i hans hem.
När domen sedan skulle falla försökte han ta sitt liv.
Enligt norska VG ska Vandenbroucke också haft drogproblem och åkt fast för rattfylla två gånger. Många av hans personliga problem har också blivit väl kände genom den belgiska pressen.
Vandenbroucke hade planer på att göra comeback redan nästa år men har inte lyckats hitta något team att tävla för.
Belgaren blev 34 år gammal.

Publicerad: 2009-10-13 Aftonbladet Sport/ Marcus Leifby

tisdag 6 oktober 2009

Bordry: "Two new products were used at the Tour"

French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) president Pierre Bordry told Le Monde that he is convinced that "two new products were used during the Tour de France: two medicines that aren't yet on the market". Bordry also said that he believes there was clear evidence of blood transfusions taking place during the race.
According to Le Monde, the two new products are hematide, a third-generation EPO that maintains haemoglobin levels, and Aicar, a product that works on muscular tissue and encourages the burning of fats. Bordry is quoted as saying he was shocked to see how thin some Tour riders looked.
Hematide is still undergoing clinical testing and won't be authorised for use until 2011. It is already on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.
Le Monde reported that tests to detect use of these two products should be ready in the near future and could be used on samples given by riders at the Tour de France. The AFLD is reported to be ready to re-test samples given by some riders during the 2008 race. Bordry also said that the AFLD had found evidence of what he described as "hardcore medicines" in rubbish bins during the Tour, among which was "a substance for producing insulin that is normally used by diabetics".

By:Peter Cossins
Published: October 5, 21:44, Updated: October 5, 21:55

IOC to mull tougher anti-doping requirements

Tough anti-doping laws that give police the power to raid and investigate those suspected of helping athletes to dope could become a new requirement for countries hoping to host the Olympics.
The value of such police powers was driven home to the International Olympic Committee by the 2006 Turin games, where Italian police raided the Austrian cross-country and biathlon team lodgings and seized a large amount of doping products and equipment.IOC medical commission chairman Arne Ljungqvist said IOC president Jacques Rogge has asked him to prepare a formal proposal that such laws become a requirement for bidding cities. Ljungqvist said it "absolutely" should be in place for cities bidding for the 2018 winter games.
"This is something that I feel should be a prerequisite for bidding cities, that countries do have these laws in place that makes it possible for public authorities and sport to work together, like we did in Italy," Ljungqvist said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.
During the 2006 Winter Olympics, he said the IOC received intelligence "that something suspicious might be going on" with the Austrians but couldn't act on it because "we have no authority to make a raid." The IOC passed the information to the Italian police, "and they came back to us and said 'Yes, this looks serious and we will make a raid."
Drug tests on the athletes came back negative, but the raid netted what Ljungqvist called "a hematological laboratory, more or less, with all sorts of equipment and substances.".
"This was a very significant experience," Ljungqvist said. "The whole story would have remained unknown to everyone had the Italian law not been in place and had we not shared the information between ourselves."
"It would be dramatically negative for the host country if something happens, or if suspicions happen, that cannot be pursued. It would look very bad," he added. "They have to have the law in place that supports their police authorities to do it ... because this will happen again."

Associated Press

måndag 5 oktober 2009

Belgian recruits the help of Aldo Sassi as he searches for new team!

Vandenbroucke to publish blood values online
Frank Vandenbroucke has announced that he will publish his blood values on the internet in an effort to attract a new team. The Belgian has says he has made the decision in order to clear his name of what he feels in a general perception of him as a doper.
"I carry around the stigma of a doping rider, but this is not the case," Vandenbroucke told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. "I need to address this and I have been in contact with Dr [Aldo] Sassi of the Mapei-training center in Milan."
Vandenbroucke said that Italian cycling coach Aldo Sassi has agreed to support the former Mapei rider with his training and the ongoing publication of his blood values. "Sassi will work with me from now on. He will also regularly test my blood and we will put my blood [values] on the net."
A well known figure in the cycling world, Sassi currently acts as a coach to both Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas). He has been instrumental in Basso's return to cycling's top level after he agreed to coach the Italian, on the condition that his blood values be open to public scrutiny.
For Vandenbroucke, the motivation for transparency comes from his desire to find a new team. In a career that dates back to 1994, the now 34-year-old has ridden for 11 different squads, most recently Cinelli-Down Under. He left the Australian-registered squad in June and has been unable to find a new team.
"My financial requirements are not high," he told Gazet van Antwerpen. "It must have to do with my past."
Vandenbroucke was a prodigious figure early in his career. He won races including Gent-Wevelgem (1998), Paris-Nice (1998), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1999) as well as two stages of the Vuelta a España. He rode for Mapei from 1995 to 1998 and Cofidis from 1999 to 2000. His career began to falter in the early 2000s as he battled problems on and off the bike.
In 2004, he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs, including EPO, and was subsequently convicted by Belgian authorities 2005. Following the failure of his marriage Vandenbroucke reached his lowest ebb in 2007, after a failed attempt to commit suicide.

By: Richard Tyler
Published: October 3, 19:08

fredag 2 oktober 2009

Hingis discusses positive cocaine test as two-year ITF ban lapses

Wednesday marks Martina Hingis' 29th birthday. It also marks the final day of her two-year drug suspension from the International Tennis Federation.
While we've been conditioned to raise a skeptical eye when athletes profess innocence and ignorance after a positive drug test result, the ITF stance was troubling from the onset.
To review: The ITF claims that 42 nanograms per milliliter of a cocaine metabolite was found in Hingis' system, as per a drug test administered after her third-round defeat at Wimbledon in 2007. This is an amount so trace that it would not trigger a positive result had the test been administered by the U.S. military. In the wake of the positive result, Hingis voluntarily took a hair-follicle test -- which, unlike a lie-detector test, is cited by drug experts as meaningful and reliable. It indicated no traces of cocaine in her system in the 90 days following Wimbledon.
The amount was so trace that, in marked contrast to Richard Gasquet -- who was cleared to return after completing a 2�-month ban in July when an anti-doping panel ruled that he accidentally ingested cocaine by kissing a woman at a nightclub -- Hingis was at a loss even to fashion a plausible theory about how she could have tested positive. (In the past few months the British media have reported about trace levels of cocaine turning up everywhere from the Thames River to restroom sinks.) Though circumstantial evidence is just that -- circumstantial -- it defies logic that a veteran player who had passed upwards of 100 tests, some of them unannounced and out of competition, would dabble with cocaine in conjunction with a Grand Slam, knowing with virtual certainty that she would be tested.
Under the "strict-liability standard" -- which means the athlete is responsible regardless of culpability or circumstance -- Hingis was stuck, guilty until proven innocent. As a first-time offender, she faced a mandatory two-year suspension.
Though never directly attributed to the peculiarities of her case, curiously, in the months after her hearing, rules were altered and administrators were given latitude to dispense suspensions of any length from zero to two years.
With Hingis back from her foray into reality television, we caught up with her by phone at her stable in Switzerland. From an emotional standpoint, how do feel you've handled the past two years?
Martina Hingis: OK. There were hard times and it was frustrating knowing I did nothing wrong but couldn't really fight this. It was my reputation and I knew the truth. But the process didn't really let me fight. Given your outspoken personality, I think it surprised a lot of people that maybe you weren't as forceful, deciding, for instance, not to appeal. Do you regret that?
Hingis: Like you say, I always spoke [honestly] even if I wasn't always politically correct. I spoke the truth even when the truth may have hurt me. But the system was set up in such a way that there was nothing I could do. Bottom line: have you ever ...
Hingis: No. Taken cocaine? Never. No [recreational] drugs. I don't know even the effects. I've maybe been in a position where I could have. But never, no. If I had ever taken cocaine, I would have said so. Before this happened, did you ever worry about a situation like this?
Hingis: No, because I probably had between 80-100 tests and no problems. The only thing I would ever take was aspirin and I was very particular about these things. Even if I had a flu I'd call my doctor and say, "What can I take?" I was always very cautious. I never took anything that was not approved first. Were any players notably supportive?
Hingis:Billie Jean King wrote a letter on my behalf. But, you know, I wasn't allowed at the Grand Slams, even to enter the stadium during tournaments. So I had little contact with the other players. Richard Gasquet?
Hingis: No. Lots of comebacks going on. You're 10 years younger than Kimiko Date ...
Hingis: I'll leave it Justine [Henin]! It's not so easy. You need to commit. You can't just do it when you want to. I know the women's game isn't at the highest point it's ever been. OK, look at Kim [Clijsters]. But she has the family support, the husband, she's physically strong. She played three tournaments and she's right back and I don't think anyone can hurt her on the court. What is your relationship with tennis?
Hingis: I love tennis, still a big part of my life. I didn't play much in the beginning of the suspension, but then I played more. Now when I play, a lot of the time it's with juniors. I've been able to [distinguish] between the sport and the administrators.

torsdag 1 oktober 2009

Dekker's counter-analysis positive for EPO

Dutchman admits to doping, says he wants to return to cycling Dutch cyclist Thomas Dekker announced on Wednesday that counter-analysis has confirmed his positive test for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO).
He "acknowledges that he has made a mistake, he takes full responsibility," his lawyer Hans Van Oijen said in a press statement. "Thomas Dekker regrets his mistake; he will apologise and be held accountable, where possible."
An anti-doping laboratory in Cologne, Germany, found Dekker positive on June 20 after performing analysis on an out-of-competition control conducted in December 2007. It released the positive result prior to the Tour de France this year, where Dekker was scheduled to race. Silence-Lotto removed him from their Tour team and suspended him on July 1. Dekker, 25, rode for Dutch team Rabobank at the time of the test. He left the Dutch squad last August and joined Belgium's Silence-Lotto at the start of this season. In the press statement today, Dekker said the drug use was a one-time mistake and that he wants to return to cycling to prove he achieved his past results because of his talent and his teams' help. He faces a likely two-year suspension before he can return. Dekker is a two-time Dutch time trial champion and winner of the 2006 Tirreno-Adriatico and 2007 Tour de Romandie

By: Gregor Brown Published: September 30
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)

måndag 28 september 2009

Doping saga huge setback for Brooks

Brooks (above) was stunned, cried, refused to train ... her coach Marlon Malcolm said. The management of Sheri-Ann Brooks is confident the Jamaican sprinter will rebound from the devastation of missing last month's IAAF World Championships in Athletics (WCA), while battling a charge of banned substance use, to defend her Commonwealth Games 100 metres title next year.
According to close associates, Brooks was emotionally and physically drained by a sequence of events which began after she was notified she had tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine during Jamaica's trials. Although eventually cleared, she was not allowed her to compete at the WCA in Berlin, Germany, and eventually shut down the remainder of her 2009 season.
That decision did not spare Brooks damage to her reputation and loss of earning. However, according to her agent Kris Mychasiw, the "step back" should not prevent the sprinter from returning to the track early in 2010 for the indoor season and later in the year for the Commonwealth Games in India if she qualifies.
"There's no reason she should quit," Mychasiw said last Wednesday while dismissing speculation that the 26-year-old sprinter was pondering retirement from the sport. "She's going to go for (the Commonwealth Games gold) again."
Mychasiw said Brooks was invited to run at several post-WCA meets, including the lucrative mid-September IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final, but the sprinter declined, choosing instead to re-group from the doping saga.
"She was crazy stressed," Mychasiw said.
"She told me that she was losing hair," the agent added. " ... She wasn't physically and mentally ready to race. She said, 'I think we should just call it a season'."
According to her coach, Jamaican Marlon Malcolm, the United States-based Brooks received a telephone call the day before a late July meet in Europe informing her of the positive test. The coach said Brooks, who through her agent declined to be interviewed for this story, was "stunned", cried, refused to train and wanted to withdraw from the meet.
"That was very hard for her," Malcolm said on Monday. " ... We couldn't practise ... We couldn't do anything, basically."
The toll lingered well beyond Brooks' return to Jamaica shortly after for a procession of disciplinary hearings and appeals which began on August 5.
"The damage was very high," said Malcolm. "Contracts gone down the drain. Money that could be made in the Worlds and also other meets also gone down the drain. Stopping her from running means wages lost and individuals are looking at her differently now."
Both Malcolm and Mychasiw insisted Brooks had been taking the same supplements for the past four years, which the agent claimed was checked by him to ensure they did not violate any International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) or World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.
Methylhexanamine is not on WADA's banned list, which originally led to Brooks and four other athletes who tested positive for the stimulant at the trials being cleared of wrongdoing by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission's (JADCO) Disciplinary Panel. However, JADCO, which took the urine samples at the trials, appealed the panel's decision, arguing that the stimulant had a similarchemical make-up to a substance banned by WADA.
But according to Malcolm, Brooks had been tested three times in Europe during the month and half immediately before Jamaica's trials, where on June 27 she finished third in the 100 metres, behind eventual WCA champion Shelly-Ann Fraser and silver medallist Kerron Stewart, to make Jamaica's team. The most recent test, he said, was done about two weeks before the meet at the National Stadium. Malcolm said Brooks was also tested in Europe in the weeks immediately following the trials. At no time, he explained, was she notified she had tested positive for any banned substance or that she was being investigated for banned substance use.
"None of them," the coach said.
The result from the test of her first or 'A' sample, Malcolm said, therefore came as a shock to the Brooks camp.
"I have no explanation," he said. "I strongly believe it was a mistake."
Brooks, as is her right, requested in writing that JADCO arrange to test a 'B' or second urine sample. Dr. Patrece Charles-Freeman, JADCO's executive director, said that letter asked for information about a "hearing", but did not state specifically that either Brooks or her representative needed to be present for the 'B' sample test, which is also the athlete's right under WADA code. The local agency authorised the Montreal, Canada-based testing laboratory to use another representative.
"If the athlete does not inform JADCO that they intend to be there, or that they intend to send a representative, then JADCO can request the lab assign a surrogate witness," Dr Charles-Freeman said on Tuesday.
Mychasiw, who said he is based in Montreal just minutes drive from the lab, insisted he was prepared to represent Brooks at the 'B' sample testing, but was not notified.
"Of course, I would have been there," he said.
Both Mychasiw and Malcolm claimed they first learned of the 'B' sample testing from JADCO's disciplinary hearing. The JADCO Appeals Tribunal cleared Brooks of the doping charge because neither she nor her representative was present at the testing.
"We were unable to impose a sanction on her, as there was an irregularity with the testing of the B sample that was raised by her counsel," Kent Gammon, JADCO's head of the disciplinary committee, explained in published statements. "Therefore, we were unable to conclude that she was guilty of an offence."
Meanwhile, Brooks's associates admitted that the doping saga was a huge setback for the athlete. Mychasiw said meet directors in Europe are willing to invite Brooks to compete. But Malcolm accused JADCO of "incompetence" and "ruining" Brooks's reputation.
"They ruptured their names on the circuit at the athletes' expense," he said.
But Dr Charles-Freeman brushed aside the coach's claims.
"I do not have to respond to Mr Malcolm," she said. " .. It think it is pointless."
Malcolm is also unhappy that the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) did not allow Brooks to compete at the WCA.
"They should have allowed her to run the 100," the coach argued. " ... A lot of athletes compete at the Worlds who are under investigation."
Mychasiw conceded that Brooks' reputation won't easily be repaired on the circuit.
"It comes with a shadow," he said of the doping saga.
However, he believes Brooks is willing to close that chapter.
"She is angry at how things transpired, but she's not holding any grudges," Mychasiw said. "She's ready to move on."
But the agent is still waiting to receive official correspondence from JADCO indicating Brooks was cleared. The four other athletes, who also tested positive for the stimulant at the trials, have been officially banned by Jamaica, although their cases were heard after Brooks'. Mychasiw said he needs the documentation for his records.
"Just something simple, so we have it on file," the agent said. "One page, one
paragraph, is all we wanted."
It would, he added, put an official cap on Brooks's disastrous - and abrupt - 2009 season and possibly work as a launching pad for next year, which includes October's Commonwealth Games in India.
"It's been a long mountain to climb," said Mychasiw on behalf of his client, "but sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward."

Saturday September 26, 2009
Published: Sunday | September 27, 2009/Gordon Williams, Gleaner Writer

fredag 25 september 2009

Caster Semenya, the poster victim

The South African runner is being used by those arguing gender is just cultural
You've got to pity Caster Semenya, the ambiguously sexed runner who won a women's world championship race last month - by quite a wide margin. The poor South African girl has been betrayed by her handlers and exploited by her own country. She has set off a huge debate about the uses and abuses of gender testing in elite sports. Her track career is probably over. On top of that, the entire world is curious about her genitalia. And now, she's become the poster victim for a bunch of folks who think that gender is just cultural, that our questions about Ms. Semenya are oppressive, sexist and racist, and that gender testing ought to be abolished.
"Results of the gender investigation aside, Caster Semenya's humanity has already been sacrificed to Western culture's desperate, frightened effort to maintain the fiction of binary, fixed gender," wrote Kai Wright at The Root.
"The salacious sports media and the puritanical zealots that run international track and field have joined forces to hit a new low," thundered Dave Zirin, sports editor of The Nation.
"To win, you need to start with an unfair advantage. Maybe Semenya has one, but I'm still not sure it matters," argued Craig McInnes in The Vancouver Sun.
Ms. Semenya is blameless in this matter. She was raised as a girl and identifies as a woman. At first, the villain was the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which ordered her to be tested after she won. The tipoff might have been that she looks like a man. She has a man's musculature, flat chest and thicker facial features. She has a deep voice, too. I'm ashamed to admit that when I saw her picture, I too rushed to judgment. "That's a man," I thought.
The South African government was outraged. It accused the IAAF of being sexist and racist. The women's minister said questions about Ms. Semenya's gender showed the "extent of patriarchy" in the sports world. The sports minister threatened a "third world war" if she was banned from competition. One magazine dressed her in stilettos and put her on the cover to prove how womanly she was. She looked like a man in drag.
Unfortunately, Ms. Semenya had already been secretly tested - by her own handlers - and the team's own doctor had urged them to withdraw her from the race.
Australian newspapers report that Ms. Semenya is, in fact, intersex. She has no uterus or ovaries, but she does have undescended testicles. People born with such anomalies are not rare. But they're not common, either. They have disorders of sex development that used to be known as defects. They are now cited as proof that sex and gender are entirely fluid, largely socially constructed, and that biology and DNA mean nothing.
Some people argue that these things don't even matter in the world of elite sports. "When training and nutrition are equal, it is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between some of the best-trained male and female Olympic swimmers," Mr. Zirin gamely wrote. He suggested that the idea that "women are somehow weaker and slower than men" threatens to catapult women's sport back into the Dark Ages.
Of course that's ridiculous. No woman will ever beat Michael Phelps, or even the guy who came in last. Those pesky male hormones will always make men significantly faster, stronger and higher than women are, to say nothing of more interested in beer and football. They aren't just another individual genetic advantage, like Mr. Phelps's gigantic feet. They are the deep, fundamental dividing line between the sexes.
It may be impossible to find a way for Ms. Semenya (who's been atrociously mistreated by the medal-hungry South Africans) to compete at an elite level. Is that unfair? Maybe. But it's even more so to pretend that it would be an equal contest. Women athletes shouldn't have to compete against people with a male hormonal edge. The next time we worry about how to be fair, maybe we should ask them.

By Margaret Wente
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

torsdag 24 september 2009

Mothersill's husband in doping scandal

Trinidad & Tobago’s Olympian Ato Stephens, husband of Caymanian sprinter Cydonie Mothersill, has been banned for two years following a doping scandal, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) disclosed on Friday.
In a list posted on the IAAF website on Friday, Mr Stephens was among 11 athletes who names had been posted due to doping violations.
Stephens, who failed to get past the first round of the 400m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was born Ato Modibo.
Stephens’ absence from the track this year had brought about speculations in Trinidad & Tobago, as it was clear that he was not injured. However, according to a source close to the Trinidad & Tobago federation, “we knew about his positive test, but the IAAF had asked us not to say anything.”
Stephens also represented his country at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and again in Athens four years later. He placed fourth at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.
His personal best in the 100m in 10.83 a race held in Clemson, South Carolina, on 12 April 2003.
In the 200m he had a personal best of 20.84 during a race held in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, 7 April 2007.
On 16 July last year, Stephens had 32.62 in 300m in Liege. In the 400m he ran a personal best of 46.0 in Blacksburg Virginia.
Other athletes announced in the two-year ban include Hamid Essine of Morocco, Alexander Bulanov of Russia, Oxana Grishina of Russia, Alexander Trembach of Israel, Hamilton Silva of Brazil and Corne Barnado of Republic of South Africa.
Published on Wednesday, September 23, 2009

By Mwangi Ngamate

Valverde won’t sleep in Italy during worlds

Alejandro Valverde doesn’t want any surprises from the Italians and will not sleep in Italy during this week’s world championships as planned.
According to the Spanish daily AS, Valverde and possibly other members of the elite men’s road team will sleep in a hotel in Switzerland rather than with the rest of the Spanish national team at a hotel already reserved in Italy.
The Spanish national team booked a hotel in nearby Italy last fall, but Valverde is looking for a hotel and plans to sleep safely within Swiss borders during the 2009 road cycling world championships, AS reported.
The recently crowned Vuelta a España champion is banned for two years from racing in Italy by CONI for what they say is proof he was linked to the Operación Puerto blood doping ring and wants to avoid any possible conflict from the Italian authorities.
An appeal by Valverde’s legal team to the Court of Arbitration for Sport challenging the jurisdiction of the Italian federation to impose a disciplinary sanction on a Spanish rider is pending, with a decision expected sometime this fall.
Spanish cycling federation president Juan Carlos Castaña told AS that the UCI promised him that Valverde has the green light to compete in the worlds.
“We registered Alejandro and there was no problem,” Castaño said. “I met yesterday with (UCI president) Pat McQuaid and he assured me that until CAS rules on his case, they are not going to act against him.”
Valverde is one of the favorites for victory in Sunday’s elite men’s road race.
“I am banned from racing in Italy,” Valverde was quoted in AS. “But I can go there for vacation, or to a hotel, whenever I want.”

Published: Sep. 23, 2009

onsdag 23 september 2009

Six suspects still in frame over Finnish Ski Association doping case

Former cross-country skiing head coach Vähäsöyrinki not heard because of health problems. The seemingly never-ending saga over allegations of widespread doping in Finnish cross-country skiing is now entering the consideration of charges phase.
Det Chief Insp. Pauli Huuskonen, who is in charge of the investigation, disclosed in the commercial Finnish television channelNelonen’s news programme Nelosen uutiset that six individuals are still being treated as suspects.
“The criminal offences in question are aggravated fraud and false disclosure”, said Huuskonen.
The suspects are the former cross-country skiing head coach Pekka Vähäsöyrinki, the then cross-country skiing boss Antti Leppävuori, the Finnish Ski Association's then managing directorEsa Klinga, former top skiers Marjo Matikainen-Kallström and Jari Räsänen, and the Association's managing director from 2001 until earlier this year Jari Piirainen. The National Bureau of Investigation (Finland’s central criminal police) has heard 27 people in connection with the case. Background information was given by athlete and medical witnesses. According to District Prosecutor Mikko Jaatinen, who has been assigned to the case, the consideration of charges will be completed in the spring, at the earliest. Of the six suspects, Pekka Vähäsöyrinki has not been heard because of his health problems. Vähäsöyrinki has been the principal of Vuokatti Sports Institute since 1998. He will retire from this post at the beginning of November. Even if Vähäsöyrinki is not heard at this stage, he will still remain among the suspects. According to Huuskonen, it was clear from the start that the case would advance to the consideration of charges phase after the completion of the preliminary investigation. This is because the investigation was prompted by the Office of the Prosecutor General to begin with.

tisdag 22 september 2009

Tidigare avstängd får hoppa i Globen

2004 fråntogs han OS-guldet i Aten efter dopningsmisstankar. I maj i år stängdes han av. Ändå tävlar Ludger Beerbaum i Stockholm Horse Show i november. – Han är en hedersman med stort H, säger organisationskommitténs ordförande Ulf Rosengren.
Tyske stjärnryttaren Ludger Beerbaum är visserligen en ikon inom hoppningen och har fyra OS-guld på meritlistan. Men guldet som skulle ha blivit det femte raka, i Aten 2004, förvandlades till brons efter att hästen Goldfever testats positivt för dopningsmedlet betametason. Som om inte det missade lagguldet vore nog hamnade Beerbaum dessutom i rejält blåsväder när tyska ridsportsförbundet i våras bestämde sig för att ta krafttag mot dopningen.
– Det som hände nere i Tyskland var ett virrvarr. Men han (Beerbaum) har ju aldrig blivit fälld för något och jag känner honom som en väldigt rekorderlig person, säger Ulf Rosengren.
På måndagen stod det klart att Ludger Beerbaum gästar Globen i Stockholm Horse Show. En kontroversiell inbjudan kan det tyckas, med tanke på tyskens bagage.
Efter dopningsmisstankarna 2004 – något som Beerbaum själv förklarade med att medlet ingått i en eksemlindrande salva – har Beerbaum vunnit både VM- och EM-medaljer. I maj stängdes han dock av sedan han i en tv-intervju halvt om halvt erkänt att han tidigare i karriären använt icke tillåtna medel.
”Förr var min inställning att det som inte upptäcks är tillåtet. Men det vi gjorde förekommer inte längre”, sade han då.
I EM i somras deltog han inte, men nu är 46-åringen tillbaka, och vann bland annat huvudtävlingen i tyska Donaueschingen i lördags.
– Han är en levande, och synnerligen aktiv, legend, säger Ulf Rosengren.
– Det som hände 2004 handlade om dålig kontroll från hans sida. Det var en stor händelse och ett stort straff, men jag tycker att hans förklaringar låter plausibla.
Vad svarar du de som finner det märkligt att han kommer till Stockholm?
– Dels är det som hände fem år sedan och fullständigt överspelat. Dels är han en väldigt högt ansedd person.

DN Publicerat 2009-09-21 18:34
Lisa Edwinsson

Foto: Walter Bieri / AP

måndag 21 september 2009

WADA Executive Committee Approves 2010 Prohibited List

Montreal, September 19, 2009 - The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Executive Committee approved today the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2010. The new List will now be officialized and published on WADA's Web site by October 1, 2009It will take effect on January 1, 2010.
The Prohibited List is one of the cornerstones of the harmonized fight against doping. It specifies substances and methods prohibited in sport. Its implementation is mandatory for organizations that have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code.
"The annual revision of the List is an elaborate and dynamic process involving international scientific experts and the solicitation of input from stakeholders so that changes are founded on expanding anti-doping knowledge, evidence from the field, and constantly growing understanding of doping practices and trends," said WADA's President John Fahey. "This process is highly consultative and WADA's role is one of facilitation. I am satisfied that, once again, the 2010 List reflects the latest scientific advances."
The development of the List begins with the circulation of a draft to stakeholders for comment. Comments received are considered by WADA's List Committee, who then presents its conclusions to WADA's Health, Medical and Research Committee. The latter in turn submits its final recommendations to the Executive Committee, who discusses the recommendations and makes a final decision at its September meeting.
Change of Status for Salbutamol
The 2010 List offers a number of changes compared to the 2009 List. In particular, the status of salbutamol, a beta-2 agonist, will change. Salbutamol - a substance considered as specified and therefore more likely to result in a sanction of a warning to a two-year ban in case of anti-doping rule violations - will be permitted under 1,000 nanograms per millilitre. Under the 2010 List, its use by inhalation will no longer require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) but rather a simplified declaration of use. This measure will allow the handling of salbutamol by anti-doping organizations in a more cost-efficient way.
In addition, the 2010 List will no longer prohibit supplemental oxygen (hyperoxia). The status of platelet-derived preparations (e.g. Platelet Rich Plasma, "blood spinning") has also been clarified. These preparations will be prohibited when administered by intramuscular route. Other routes of administration will require a declaration of use in compliance with the International Standard for TUEs.
Pseudoephedrine Reintroduced
Another noteworthy amendment is the reintroduction of pseudoephedrine to the List as a specified stimulant - a category of substances that is more likely to result in a sanction of a warning to a two-year ban in case of anti-doping rule violations.
Until 2003, pseudoephedrine was prohibited in sport. Pseudoephedrine was subsequently included in WADA's Monitoring Program in 2004. The Monitoring Program includes substances that are not prohibited in sport but are monitored in order to detect patterns of misuse.
Results of the Monitoring Program over the past five years have shown a sustained increase in samples containing pseudoephedrine concentrations of more than 75 milligrams per millilitre. The Program indicated clear abuse of this substance with high concentrations in a number of sports and regions. In addition, available literature shows scientific evidence of the performance-enhancing effects of pseudoephedrine beyond certain doses.
Based on literature and results of controlled excretion studies funded by WADA, pseudoephedrine will therefore be reintroduced in the List starting on January 1, 2010, with a urinary threshold of 150 milligrams per millilitre. Given the wide availability of medicines containing pseudoephedrine, WADA's Scientific Committees and Executive Committee recommended that the reintroduction of pseudoephedrine be accompanied by information and education campaigns by WADA's stakeholders.
New Scientific Research Projects
As is traditionally the case at its September meeting, WADA's Executive Committee approved scientific research projects for funding.
"Scientific research is one of WADA's key priorities," said John Fahey. "Our Research Grant Program allows us to enhance current detection means and to fund reactive research to ensure that quick response is made to new substances or methods that are being used by cheaters. It also contributes to anticipating doping trends and developing detection means before new doping substances or methods are made available to athletes. Our growing cooperation with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as drug agencies and evaluation bodies, is a good example of how we strive to stay ahead of drug cheats."
A record number of research proposals (88) were received this year from 22 countries, with 34 being selected for funding by WADA's Scientific Committees and Executive Committee. These projects will help advance anti-doping research in such areas as the detection of blood manipulations, the development of new technologies of detection and the implementation of further means for detecting a number of substances and methods currently abused by athletes or potentially interesting to cheaters. Project descriptions will be posted on WADA's Web site once the contracts have been signed.
Book on Ethical Issues
The Executive Committee approved a special book project to be commissioned by WADA as part of the Agency's tenth anniversary. This book - to be written by Dr Thomas Murray, President of the Hastings Center in Garrison, United States - will address the ethical issues surround doping and doping-free sport. It will seek to advance knowledge in the field of social science and to provide an alternative vision of the future of sport based on ethical reasoning and an appreciation of the forces that shape elite sport.
WADA Tenth Anniversary
The next meetings of WADA's Executive Committee and Foundation Board will be held on December 1-2, 2009, in Stockholm, Sweden. These meetings will be an opportunity for the Agency, which was founded on November 10, 1999, to mark its tenth anniversary.

fredag 18 september 2009

Shimano gets tough on dopers

Bicycle component manufacturing giant Shimano has issued an anti-doping statement saying that any of its sponsored teams found guilty of doping practices will have its sponsorship removed and all Shimano components will have to be returned.
It may seem odd that a component manufacturer should join in the fight against doping in such a firm manner, but the Japanese company invests millions of pounds in providing professional teams and riders with cycle equipment.
As such, Shimano ranks among the largest sponsors of professional cycling and the company evidently does not want to be associated with any drug-related scandal, particularly as it is now joint sponsor of Skil-Shimano, which is currently aiming for a ProTour licence.
"The two positive tests at Euskaltel-Euskadi, particularly when the team stood behind Mikel Astarloza, is the direct reasoning behind this message," explained Shimano's PR and Marketing Officer, Harald Troost.
"We won't accept doping full stop and I think we are the first company in the bike industry to make such a statement.
"We will continue our partnership with Euskaltel, but if there is proof of a team management's involvement with doping we will withdraw our involvement with a team," said Troost.
In future, any team wishing to open sponsorship negotiations with Shimano will have to show its anti-doping statement to the company for scrutiny.
Established in 1921 in Japan, Shimano now manufactures a whole range of bicycle components including gears, brakes, pedals, shoes and clothing. It is one of largest global manufacturers of cycling equipment in addition to being a leading player in the fishing tackle market. The company recently ventured into the rowing market.
The statement, issued on Thursday, read as follows:
With this statement, Shimano would like to make clear to all parties involved that we would like to strive for a fair and drugs free sport to protect the future of cycling for next generations. Besides the bad impact to the reputation of the sport, we all know Doping and Drugs are damaging and destroying the health and image of especially young people in and outside of the sport. Therefore we are taking a firm stand against doping in general and in the cycling sport in particular.
Basic guidelines in Shimano's anti doping policy:
• All our contracts and sponsorship-relations are made under the condition and in the believe that there is no doping involved in the particular team or with the individual athletes
• If the team management of one of our sponsored teams (no matter in which cycling discipline) is involved in any doping affair, we will stop our sponsorship of this team immediately
• If an individual rider is involved in any doping affair without the knowledge of the team management, the team will be given the chance to give a clear explanation and a future improvement & control plan to Shimano, upon that it will be decided to continue the sponsoring or not. If another doping incident occurs within the same team, we will keep the option of terminating our sponsorship contract
• Terminating a sponsorship contract means return of all Shimano materials or other contributions that have been supplied to the concerned team immediately.
This anti doping policy is already stated in our ongoing sponsorship contracts but Shimano feels it is valuable to emphasize this ones more to make it clear for everybody what is our opinion about the use of doping in sport. For all our future sponsorship negotiations it is essential for us that the teams show us their anti doping policy in advance.

Shimano Inc.

Thursday, 17 September 2009
Nigel Wynn, Cycling Weekly

onsdag 16 september 2009

No comeback for Mayo

Basque climber Iban Mayo says he won’t mount a professional comeback despite having served out his two-year racing ban for an EPO positive in 2007.Now 32, the once-feared climber called his controversial doping case a “witch hunt” and told the Bilbao daily El Correo he will not try to return to the professional ranks.
“I had already decided I wasn’t going to return after the two years’ sanction. I could do it, because I served out the punishment, but I don’t like the circumstances around cycling and I decided not to continue,” he told El Correo. “I have no intention of returning to race.”
Mayo’s case was controversial because the UCI re-tested a second sample to confirm the sanction. Mayo tested positive for traces of the banned blood booster during the 2007 Tour, when he finished 16th overall racing with Saunier Duval, but the follow-up B sample returned “inconclusive,” and the Spanish federation cleared him of wrong-doing. His first sample was tested by French authorities, but the follow-up, B-sample was tested in a Belgian lab because the French lab was closed for vacation. UCI then had the French lab re-test the B sample, which produced the evidence needed to slap Mayo with a two-year racing ban. I served out the punishment, but I don’t like the circumstances around cycling and I decided not to continue.
Mayo claimed the UCI breached anti-doping protocol by re-testing the second sample, but the UCI challenged the case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport and won.
Mayo’s racing ban ended this summer, but he said the bitter experience soured his desire to try to find a new team.
“It was very hard to leave cycling for this, especially with everything that surrounded my case. It was very strange, every time you think about it, you understand it less,” he said. “Three analyses is a very strange story, and because of this among other things, I decided not to come back, because I believe it was a witch hunt.”
It wasn’t the first time Mayo ran afoul with anti-doping authorities. In June of 2007, he was cleared of testing positive for testosterone during the Giro d’Italia because the UCI ruled he had not breached any doping rules despite high levels.
Mayo was once one of the most-feared rivals of Lance Armstrong, winning a stage at l’Alpe d’Huez in 2003 and barnstorming to victory in the 2004 Dauphiné Libéré. He said he will continue riding his bike as a “hobby.”

By Andrew Hood
Published: Sep. 15, 2009

"Mona Sahlin är bäst när hon är tyst"...

... låter rubrikerna efter gårdagens Korseld special.Ledarskribenterna brillierar inför nästa års riksdagsval. Jobben key, ruta ett är åter ruta ett. I dopingens värld är vi även här tillbaka på ruta ett: Tre månader fick de fyra jamaica atleterna som testats positiv för doping.
Drugs ban for four athletes
Four Jamaican athletes who produced positive tests at their National Championships in June have been suspended for three months.Yohan Blake, Marvin Anderson, Lansford Spence and Allodin Fothergill were reprimanded and given their sentences by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Appeals Tribunal for using the banned substance methylhexaneamine. The offences, which are of a minor nature, see the quartet banned from competition until December 14. A fifth athlete, Sheri-Ann Brooks, was earlier cleared of the offence after testing procedures of her samples were not undertaken in the correct manner. All five runners were withdrawn from Jamaica's team for the World Championships in Berlin until the decision of the appeals tribunal was announced.

(UKPA) – 9 hours ago
Foto: Yohan Blake Beijing 2008

tisdag 15 september 2009

Osympatiska Ankor...

...kvackade oroväckande nonchalant och otrevligt under gårdagskvällen då Tv3 hade premiär på Svenska Hollywood Fruar.
Don't judge women by their covers
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the bearded lady was a staple attraction of travelling human freak shows. But while these sideshows may have declined in popularity, a bearded woman - or any woman who exhibits masculine traits - is still a social aberration.
Take South African athlete Caster Semenya, who has become a modern-day curiosity. After winning the women's 800 metres at the World Championships in Athletics in Berlin last month, fellow athletes questioned her biological sex. Was she a woman? The International Association of Athletics' Federations ordered a series of tests.
Recent media reports allege these reveal that Semenya possesses both male and female sex characteristics.
She's a young woman with a possible intersex condition who produces a higher level of testosterone than so-called ''normal'' women. For this, she has suffered the indignity of having her core identity challenged.
In an attempt to prove she is "all woman", the South African magazine You decked her out in heels and make-up and put her on its cover. The African National Congress MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela slammed the publication for "making a spectacle" of Semenya and turning her into a "caricature". She is right.
Semenya's makeover reinforces our narrow-minded view of what a woman is - or should be. The message, ingrained in society, is: if you don't adopt the trappings associated with conventional femininity, you're not a ''real'' woman.
This notion leaves every woman who finds long hair, lipstick and a pair of 13-centimetre Manolo Blahniks to be about as useful as a fork to eat soup feeling like a failure, or even a traitor to her gender.
The emphasis on a woman's attractiveness or femininity means talent is often overlooked. Semenya is a case in point. Another example of this is the furore at Wimbledon earlier this year when it was reported higher-ranked female tennis players, including world No. 1 Serena Williams, were relegated to the outer courts while ''prettier'' players were favoured for the centre court.
Homophobia, of course, plays its part in society's revilement of women who don't conform to gender stereotypes. Legendary tennis stars such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova no doubt lost sponsorships because they were gay. But it's likely their physical appearance played a part.
If Maria Sharapova suddenly declared membership of the Sapphic sisterhood, it's unlikely she'd lose sponsors. Rather than cries of ''She's not a real woman'', we'd likely hear ''Can we watch?'' Lesbians - along with all other women - are acceptable to mainstream society if they're considered ''feminine'' enough. MTV's Ruby Rose is snapped by the paparazzi every day ''despite'' being a lesbian, because she's ''hot''.
But regardless of who they're sleeping with, successful sportswomen, businesswomen and female politicians all cop flack for looking or behaving in ways considered ''unfeminine''.
The idea of a ''butch'' woman who dares to reject feminine accoutrements and a passiveness generally associated with her gender sends tidal waves of fear thundering through the patriarchal psyche. It's time for the freak show to end. It's time to stop demonising women who don't conform to conventional feminine ideals.
The irony is that if a woman wears too little make-up, she's not a real woman, but if she wears too much, she's compared with a drag queen - that is, a man - albeit one who has taken femininity to the extreme. Talk about a rock and a hard place.
This isn't an argument against femininity itself. Many women, including me, revel in putting on a pretty frock, painting our faces and wrecking our spines by teetering around in fabulous stilettos. But that doesn't make us ''women'', any more than short hair and jackboots make a man.
Rigid gender stereotypes of women as feminine and men as masculine do a disservice to us all, as we struggle to live up to a particular image and are stigmatised if we don't.
No good can come of sending the message to young girls that, regardless of how intelligent or talented you are, your real worth is in how pretty you're considered to be. Or if you're not genetically ''blessed'' with acceptable standards of beauty, you'll be judged on how much effort you're prepared to put in to achieve a conventional feminine appearance - to ''make the best'' of yourself.
We need to shift our mindsets to allow for diversity in physical attributes and gender expression. So when sportswomen like Semenya come along, we can appreciate their exceptional talent instead of harping on about their appearance.
There has been much debate about whether Semenya is a woman, but the more important issue is to examine why she - and any other woman - has to have a makeover to prove it.

September 15, 2009
Katrina Fox is a freelance writer.

fredag 11 september 2009

Doping Buzz

"Caster Semenya a hermaphrodite" vs. "Results in November". The rumor mill starts spinning ---IAAF position: Semenya will find out in November
First, the IAAF have announced that the results will be available in November only, because this is when they have an executive council meeting. According to Pierre Weiss, Secretary General of the IAAF, "there will be nothing before that".

CAS decision will not come until October
Current Vuelta a España race leader Alejandro Valverde may be the subject of a UCI and WADA action trying to enforce a worldwide ban, but the Spaniard will almost certainly be able to contest this year's world championships and finish out the 2009 season.

Euskaltel-Euskadi stands by its rider
Basque Mikel Astarloza reiterated he's innocent following counter-analysis confirmation of a positive test for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO). Astarloza, who won Tour de France stage 16, dismisses any drug use and his Euskaltel-Euskadi team supports him.

Tour of Missouri concludes a difficult return
It seems only a short time ago that Floyd Landis was making his return to professional cycling at the 2009 Tour of California with the American-based UCI Continental team OUCH p/b Maxxis after completing a two-year suspension for a doping violation. Now, Landis is mid-way through one of his last races of the season at the Tour of Missouri, and he gaveCyclingnews a brief insight on where this year has taken him.

Play the Game is looking for contributors to our site on IOC's October summit
In three weeks from now, the IOC will make its entry in Copenhagen, when thousands of leading sports officials and media professionals will join the IOC Session and Congress from 1.-9. October. The meetings will bring about important political decisions and extensive debates on a number of essential issues for world sport.

Analysis: Armstrong’s Tour blood levels debated
There’s been a varied reaction to questions raised by a Danish anti-doping researcher about the blood values that Lance Armstrong exhibited during this year’s Tour de France. The scientist Jakob Mørkeberg and his supervisor Bo Belhage have elaborated on their details, the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has largely declined to comment, and Astana anti-doping monitor Rasmus Damsgaard has said that it is up to an expert panel to assess whether or not the values are unusual.

Anti-doping top priority: Macki
MUSCAT — Medical and Anti-doping will be heading the priority list for the 2nd Asian Beach Games in December 2010 according to The Muscat Asian Beach Games Organising Committee (MABGOC).

And finally...

Athletes argue against harsh penalties for party drugs
Professional sportsmen and women in Britain mounted a campaign yesterday to soften the penalties handed to athletes caught using recreational drugs.
Under new proposals from all the leading sports in the country, an athlete such as Matt Stevens, the Bath rugby union player, would not be given a two-year ban for cocaine use and treated like a criminal within the sport; instead, he would be given treatment, counselling and rehabilitated into the game far sooner.