Posts Tagged ‘Sports Doping’

Selective memories: Both Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson were doped to their eyeballs but only Johnson is demonised

August 9, 2021

So another Olympic Games is over. A year late and with no spectators but pretty well organised (with a few minor hiccups). It confirmed my experience of superb Japanese planning and meticulous implementation as long as the plan is in force. It is when circumstances (accidents, weather) disturb the plan that the Japanese are not at their best. But the disturbances were relatively minor.

I suppose I am getting blase and cynical. The opening and closing ceremonies did not move me as they used to do in my youth. In fact I fell asleep watching the closing ceremony. (In my defense, it was after Sunday lunch).

Most of what I watched had Swedish commentary on the Swedish TV channels or English commentary on a well-known sports channel. The commentators did not distinguish themselves. The proportion of inane comments was very high and the proportion of ignorant comments was unfortunately even higher. Clearly they were sticking to their pre-prepared notes and had not the wherewithal to think on the fly and describe real events which deviated from their scripts.

The sight of men pretending to be women and competing against women in a few instances was not pretty.

I was particularly irritated by some of the hushed and reverent comments about Carl Lewis. Maybe they should have done their homework a little better. Like all history, Olympic history is just a story. What is generally forgotten by the predominant narrative today is that during the 1970s and 1980s the US cheated just as much as the Russians or East Germans did. Or as the Chinese did in the 1990s and later.

Carl Lewis was not quite the hero he was, and still is, made out to be. He was just as much a cheater as Ben Johnson ever was. 

Whether then, or even now where healthy athletes are provided exemptions from their home sports bodies and are allowed to take asthma medicines, cheating is always acceptable as long as it is not discovered.

This is an article from 2003.

 

Lewis joins Hall of Shame

ATHLETICS/US drugs scandal: The shocking revelation that Carl Lewis won two Olympic gold medals in 1988 when he should have been serving a drugs ban means the first three men who crossed the line in that 100 metres race in Seoul have now been implicated in major doping scandals.

The world knows Canada’s Ben Johnson, the first to break the tape, failed a drugs test. What has only now emerged is that, when the gold medal went to the second-place finisher Lewis, the American should not have been there because he had tested positive for banned stimulants at the US Olympic trials two months earlier. It means that the rightful winner should have been Britain’s Linford Christie, a man who himself had a narrow escape in Seoul and has a colourful doping history.

They were not the only runners in that race with drug-tainted histories. Dennis Mitchell, who would also have benefited if Lewis had not been there, by finishing third instead of fourth, had problems with the dope-busters.

But I like sports and watching sports. And I remain in my delusional narrative that Olympic victors are largely clean.


“Therapeutic Use Exemptions” just a euphemism for legalised drug use by athletes

September 14, 2016

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.

pharmagames

I am afraid the Western media do protest too much.



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