Of course, the Western media attack the messenger rather than the message when Russian hackers reveal that top US athletes (Venus and Serena Williams and teenage gymnast Simone Biles) have also been taking banned drugs. Of course the athletes involved claim that they never broke any rules and all their use of banned drugs were permitted and justified by genuine medical conditions. They all had “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” (TUE’s). Of course the Western media and sports authorities blame the Russians and imply that the revelations are all politically motivated.
Simon Biles took banned substances for ADHD. Is ADHD a “medical condition” or a genetic condition? Why only for ADHD? Why not permit drugs to compensate for any genetic condition? For any perceived “medical condition”, is it “fair” to other athletes that a natural or temporary disability be mitigated for some athletes by the use of drugs. Even if an athlete is genuinely sick, and therefore temporarily at a disadvantage, is it fair for that athlete to compete at all if drugs are used to overcome the disability? What if the drugs overcompensate for the disability? Why not then, permit drug use to compensate for all genetic disadvantages? All Usain Bolt’s rivals should then have been allowed performance enhancing drugs to give them a chance.
Radar: Serena Williams and Simone Biles tested positive for banned substances, but doping agents let them of the hook! That’s the suggestion of bombshell new medical records released by a Russian hacker group.
Hacking group Tsar Team, also known as Fancy Bear, infiltrated the the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) athlete database and released files that show tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams and teenage Olympian Biles all “received medical exemptions to use banned drugs,” according to The New York Times.
The hackers penetrated the database and managed to get hold of records that detailed “Therapeutic Use Exemptions” (TUEs). TUEs permit the using of banned substances due to athletes’ “verified medical needs,” the BBC reported.
Permitted doping is often exploited by national teams and their administrators. It has long been suspected that Norwegian skiers – who completely dominate the world of long distance skiing – have a very sophisticated system of using drugs – within the regulations – to give their athletes an advantage.
FasterSkier:As Norwegian skier Martin Johnsrud Sundby has decided to appeal his doping ban to the Swiss Supreme Court, stories have emerged suggesting that the Norwegian Ski Federation recommended that healthy skiers use salbutamol nebulizers – the same drug and method Sundby was issued a two-month ban for – as preventative therapy to maximize performance.
That suggests that a number of Norwegian athletes might have engaged in the same behavior which got Sundby in trouble in the first place. No other doping cases are known to exist from the Norwegian team. However, the International Ski Federation (FIS) rules mean that if an athlete had been caught with high levels of salbutamol like Sundby, it may have been kept quiet. After Sundby’s ban, men’s national team coach Tor Arne Hetland told FasterSkier that “we will not do the same mistake again.”
But what of the past? Norway’s TV2 talked with several cross-country skiers who say they were told by the national team to use nebulizers, even though they did not have asthma. A nebulizer delivers beta-2 agonists, drugs which help relax muscles in the airways. Such medications are banned for use by athletes up until a threshold dose.
TV2 would not reveal the identity of the athletes, but reported that one said they were “mildly surprised” to be offered the drugs even though they were not having difficulty breathing. In the same piece, national team director Vidar Løfshus said that this constituted “preventative care” to make sure that no athletes had airway obstructions.
It makes no sense to me that some privileged athletes are allowed legally to use drugs to compensate for some perceived “disabling conditions”. Either competition must be all drug-free or it must be without any restrictions for performance enhancing drugs. Of course the Olympics have, in reality, been PharmaGames for at least 4 decades. Baseball and American Football and weightlifting and wrestling and swimming are all sports where you have to be an expert in using the rules. In these and other sports, it has been common practice to to use drugs without breaking the regulations for quite a long time.
I am afraid the Western media do protest too much.