More from WADA: Jamaica and Kenya
by on Tuesday, October 29, 2013  (3 comments)


The regulars know I don't want this blog to become the doping blog. I hate posting about doping because I think it detracts from the positives of the sport. That said, I've come to the conclusion that what the sport's doping problem needs is to have a bright light shining on it. If I can do some part to make the light shining on it a little brighter, I will. For the good of the sport.

On that note, a couple of items broke overnight that I thought were worth mentioning.

First, WADA officials are in Jamaica. This is good news. It will be interesting to see what comes of this but it's good to see that WADA is being proactive here in auditing a questionable anti-doping system. Of course, it's bad that WADA isn't getting answers. Is Kenya hiding something? Is Kenya's anti-doping agency complicit? Right or wrong, these are questions that are naturally going to be asked. I hope WADA applies pressure until they get answers.

Second, WADA is "very frustrated" with Kenya. This has to do with the lack of investigation into the controversy Andrew and I mentioned in prior discussions. Again, I consider it good that this is being publicly mentioned. It has seemed for some time that this controversy got swept under the rug. Hopefully, this is a sign that it will again get the attention it deserves. Of course, the bad part of this news is that WADA is not getting answers. Why? Is Kenya hiding something? Not getting answers naturally raises more questions. I hope good answers come soon.

As for the case in Kenya, I see a lot of people insisting that they are sure Kenyans are clean. I want to believe them. However, if they are so sure they are clean, there's one way to prove it to the world. Have a very stringent testing program and be as transparent as possible. If they are right and the athletes are clean, they have nothing to hide. In fact, I would argue they have every reason to be completely open and honest. Remove all doubt and suspicion by proving beyond any reasonable doubt that they are clean.

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Suddenly, Kenyan doping news is all over the place.

Kiplagat 'I Don't Think There Is Really a Problem With Drugs in Kenya'

Kenya under pressure to close doping credibility gap

Again, all they have to do is prove it. Offer evidence of your thorough program and clean results.

I'm with Ross Tucker on this one. I want to believe they are clean. I do believe that athletes who don't have the money for good nutrition and preventing diseases such as malaria don't have a vast, extensive doping program. That doesn't mean I believe everyone is clean but I don't think the problem is as widespread as some would claim. How widespread or isolated is it? It's up to the Kenyans to show they have been doing thorough testing and the positives that have been found are isolated incidents, not evidence of widespread issues.

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Not Kenyan doping news but here are some great quotes from former US Olympian Anthony Famiglietti talking to RML how easy it would be for him to dope today and get away with it and his interactions with Dr. Jeffrey S. Brown, the doctor that Alberto Salazar and his group, including Galen Rupp, use.

"I can't say (if the doping system can be tricked), because obviously I don't do that garbage. I have no desire to whatsoever. That's why I'm running local 5Ks for fun. I could be the hero again. It could be so easy now. I'm not on USADA's [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] list. I could take anything I want now and they would have no idea. I could have taken anything I wanted to leading up to the Olympic Trials and got off it two to three weeks before to get my qualifier. Run an American record and been the hero. Everyone would pat me on the back and say Fam's the man. I have no desire to do that. I could easily go do that right now. Who is to stop me? ...
As far as the top, top guys: You are talking about drugs that were popular in like 1991. You are naming drugs that we know about, because they have been around for decades since they have been discovered. They are doing things far beyond what we will even know. Not only that: they can use stuff that is legal now and they have been so educated on it that it's better than the stuff that's illegal. So let's talk about your thyroid. If you even out your thyroid levels and those endocrine hormones that regulate fatigue from overtraining, you will never crash. You will always continue to train, and you are talking about just one drug. If there's a cocktail of things that do that that are legal and in combination, that work perfect in harmony to make you recover like there is no tomorrow, then what does that make you? You aren't taking anything that's banned. How would you ever protect against anything like that? The only thing that would be able to create something like that is money. You'd have lots of time and lots of money to be able to come up with that.
Do the math on it.
I can't say what anyone else is doing. I have no idea. All is I can say with experience, is why would this person (Dr. Brown) put me on the medication that I didn't need unless he wanted to kill me or there is some advantage to being on it? It's either one or the other. There is no other answer for it. He was going to kill me, he was a complete quack, or he knows something that everyone else doesn't to benefit."

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It's amazing how many distance runners right now seem to have thyroid problems. It seems to be a public health hazard similar to asthma in sprinters. Therapeutic exceptions (or, in the case of thyroid medication, drugs that aren't even banned in the first place) are a major loophole. If someone truly has a thyroid problem or asthma, they should have the ability/right to treat it. However, it seems like whenever a treatment may offer performance benefit we get a surge of athletes inflicted with the disease.

As for Fam's point about what we don't know, that's another major problem. Great, now we can bust EPO cheats. Too bad the cheats have already moved on. Back when EPO was the popular choice, either most of us didn't even know about it or there wasn't a test for it. By now, the cheats are on to something new that we have no idea about or test for. Who knows what they are using now? That's one reason I like the biological passport. Even this isn't a perfect but watching for unusual changes in an athlete's blood work is far better than testing for drugs when the testers are always at least a step behind the drug manufacturers.

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