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.”

By VeloNews.com
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.

torsdag 10 september 2009

The IAAF testing results on the way

Latest on Caster Semenya: Results pending as we look at the possibilities and the importance of testosterone
...And then finally, the test results from the IAAF are ever nearer to being announced. Last night, the local news said "within days", and then this morning, I read this piece from the Telegraph saying that the results may take a week to 10 days.

The possible outcomes: What is on the table?
So, in the lead-up to the results being known, I guess the following are the four options:

1) A conclusive negative finding: This allows Semenya to continue to compete, no problems or questions asked. It is the best result for Semenya, and for SA athletics. I dare say that if this happens, then SA has the next world record holder on their hands, assuming she's managed and coached well (these may be rather big 'ifs' given how management are going about things). I would also dare say that this is no longer an option, since a conclusive negative finding would not require any more delays in announcement. I'd therefore all but rule it out of contention at this stage.
2) An inconclusive finding: This is the worst-case scenario. It would allow Semenya to continue competing, which is good for her, and should be respected. But it won't be. Competitors will doubt, Semenya will compete under a cloud and it will be very difficult for all concerned, in the longer term. This is the "doubt" scenario I spoke of previously.
3) If I had to guess (and it is a guess), this is a likely scenario, given how difficult it is to actually prove performance advantages based on biology. It's one thing finding physiological differences, quite another preventing competition. So rightly or wrongly, it means Semenya competes with permanent doubt. Not pleasant for anyone, least of all her rivals (who are silent protagonists in this whole issue)
A conclusive finding of advantage: Whether due to a disorder of sex development that causes an intersex condition, or a medical problem, this scenario means Semenya has to either be treated (if possible) or cannot race against women in the future. Those are tough options for Semenya. With luck, it'll be the former option and she'll be OK to race after treatment. This depends on what condition, if any, is present.
4) Positive for doping. This has rarely been spoken, but certainly is implied by many articles that have raised the issue that ASA's head coach advisor is Dr Eckart Arbeit, the former East German doctor known for his involvement in doping programmes in the doping-era of athletics. That's not to say he's responsible, or that there is doping, but it remains on the table as possible. That is purely because of the rapid nature of performance improvement, which, taken in isolation, compel one to ask these questions below is a chart showing her progress between July 2008 and August 2009.


fredag 4 september 2009

Lance Armstrong slutade på tredje plats i sin comeback i Tour de France. Nu misstänks han för dopning – igen.

En av Danmarks främsta blodforskare, Jakob Mörkebjerg, har granskat Amstrongs blodvärden under touren och menar de visar på bloddopning.
Armstrongs blodvärden var i stort sett oförändrade under hela tävlingen, vilket är helt ovanligt.
- Vid hårt arbete som under Tour de France sjunker blodvärdena markant och det ser vi inte hos Lance Armstrong. Det kan förklaras med blodtransfusioner. Därmed inte sagt att han fått det, men det kan vara en förklaring, säger han till Danmarks Radio.
Undert Giro d'Italia sjönk Armstrongs blodvärden som förväntat.
En annan orsak till de oförändrade blodvärden kan, enligt Jakob Mörkebjerg vara diarré eller uttorkning.

Publicerat 2009-09-03 10:54 DN Sport
Foto: Bas Czerwinski / AP