UPDATE: Guardian article (see below).
Following on from my previous post, the BBC had this today. It reduces even further the very little confidence I have in WADA and the way in which the “sporting establishment” have permitted “stars” to cheat.
Of course these doped up athletes could do nothing wrong because they were officially permitted to “do wrong”.
Legal but unfair.
Compliant but unethical.
Sir Bradley Wiggins has insisted he was not trying to gain an “unfair advantage” from being allowed to use a banned steroid before major races.
The Olympic cyclist told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show he took the powerful anti-inflammatory drug triamcinolone for allergies and respiratory problems.
Sir Bradley said he sought therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to “put himself back on a level playing field”.
TUEs allow the use of banned substances if athletes have genuine medical need.
Sir Bradley’s TUEs were approved by British authorities and cycling’s world governing body, the UCI.
What is worse is the manner in which the licence to dope is justified:
Sir Hugh Robertson, vice-chairman of the British Olympic Association, told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek: “Whatever you think about whether he should have been allowed to do this, the fact is the anti-doping rules at the time allowed him to do so”.
If Bradley Wiggins had not been a star, and from a “sporting power”, I wonder if he would have got dispensation to cheat.
Epilog: 26th September
The article in today’s Guardian is more of the same but it seems pretty clear that Bradley Wiggins was given official sanction to “cheat” by the UK cycling authorities.
Guardian: …… which invited more questions than it answered in dealing with the trio of therapeutic use exemptions granted to Wiggins in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to allow him to take the powerful corticosteroid triamcinolone, for legitimate medical reasons before his biggest races of the season. …….
…….. “This was to cure a medical condition. This wasn’t about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage; this was about putting myself back on a level playing field in order to compete at the highest level,” Wiggins said, explaining why he had received an injection for 40mg of triamcinolone just before his triumphant 2012 Tour.
He said he had “really struggled” with respiratory problems in the run-up to the 2012 Tour one of the high points even among so many in that golden summer for British sport. But he did not really explain how that tallied with the account he gave in 2012 in his autobiography.
Then, Wiggins said: “I’d done all the work, I was fine-tuned. I was ready to go. My body was in good shape. I’m in the form of my life. I was only ill once or twice with minor colds, and I barely lost a day’s training from it.”
Nor did he really manage to explain the contradiction between the “no needles” rhetoric espoused in the same book and the fact he received injections of a powerful drug just before the biggest races of his life; nor the fact that he has never discussed the TUEs in any of his books or since. His contention that he believed questions on needles to refer exclusively to doping is similarly hard to countenance.
It is time for WADA to be open about all athletes who have TUE’s. It’s difficult not to be cynical.