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07/08/2008

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Comments

sal m

rather than deal with the uncomfortable facts surrounding the torres story, this women columnist decided to play the gender card. probably because it's easier to dismiss critics this way by saying it's because she's a girl, and ignoring the realities involved with a 40+-year old who has done something no other clean 40-year old has done.

also this woman columnist must have been asleep for the past 5 years as male and female athletes alike have admitted and been punished for their transgressions. i'd like to know by what standard this columnist considers that roger clemens has avoided scrutiny or that barry bonds has somehow escaped the harsh light of inquiry by virtue of their maleness.

torres' acheivements are questionable because of what we now know about the nature of such remarkable feats that we have witnessed since ben johnson got popped 20 years ago. to not question what she's done is to be ignorant of what's has been going on under our noses for the past 3 decades.

Chris Hensel

PEDs have been part of sports for decades. I don't need the Sporting Press to tell me that this athlete or that athlete is doping. Athletics at the elite level is rife with dopers...and that includes Ms Torres, who is merely the most recent obvious example of an elite athlete that has found a way to cheat in the open, professing her purity as she does the impossible. The faces of the women she defeated in her Olympic Trial heats tell the tale.

And some day, maybe far into the future, we will all know how she did it. I am not going to waste time cheering for her now only to be disappointed later.

El Rico

It is so obvious she is using PEDs. But she is hot....so get it on Dara!

Judy Shu

Dara Torres is facing the questions that all athletes are now facing. Two years ago, this wouldn't have been a problem, but now after finding so many of our acclaimed athletes have questionable drug history, everyone is coming into scrutiny. If Dara was posting times that were equal to he prime, then maybe it wouldn't be such a question, but she is better at 41 than any other time. Very curious.

Don't make this a woman thing, this is an athlete thing.

Cal

I don't think there's any gender bias involved, but it's annoying to see Torres compared with the others. She may or may not be on steroids, but she doesn't fit any of the profiles. First, she has an extremely expensive personal trainer program that costs about $100K/year and does potentially explain her continued fitness.

Second, Torres, unlike Griffith Joyner, has been a top tier swimmer her entire life. She didn't suddenly become brilliant. She's always been outstanding in the same events. FloJo was an obvious example of doping, shooting from years in second tier to suddenly blowing away the world by seconds in sprints. This is a pattern that's extremely familiar in swimming (the Dutch woman, Michelle Smith from Ireland, and so on) and Torres shows no sign of this.

Finally, Torres' body hasn't altered dramatically over the years. She has voluntarily participated in doping studies. Her events are sprints, which are notoriously age-proof. Oldsters often get better because the events reward mental toughness.

Again, Torres may have the super-secret sauce. But there's simply no comparison to the other athletes she's being compared to.

Chris Hensel

-But there's simply no comparison to the other athletes she's being compared to-

Of course there is. The single most accurate indicator of PEDs use is
the dramatic and unprecedented improvement of performance as the athlete ages. Before PED's no athlete in any sport was stronger in their 40's AT THE END OF THEIR CAREER then they were in their 20's at the beginning.

And have you seen Torres?

mjosef

Thanks for including the pictures - she's the model, all right, for outrageous money in sports and PED's. Gary Hall Jr. makes excellent comments in the link, though he doth protest too much: even if there is one clean athlete in all of professional sports, one who uses no PED's, and one who uses no ultra-rich medical procedure, and one who uses no super-elite apparel or equipment advantage - if there is indeed one such noble and true hero or heroine, getting by on just talent and drive, why on earth would they associate, compete, derive money from such a dirty, corrupt enterprise? This goes for the owners, the marketers, the elite athletes - how can you can claim an ounce of integrity in such a rigged, blatantly lying enterprise?
That's my Olympic moment - but I'll still watch - go Luxembourg!

mjosef

Thanks for including the pictures - she's the model, all right, for outrageous money in sports and PED's. Gary Hall Jr. makes excellent comments in the link, though he doth protest too much: even if there is one clean athlete in all of professional sports, one who uses no PED's, and one who uses no ultra-rich medical procedure, and one who uses no super-elite apparel or equipment advantage - if there is indeed one such noble and true hero or heroine, getting by on just talent and drive, why on earth would they associate, compete, derive money from such a dirty, corrupt enterprise? This goes for the owners, the marketers, the elite athletes - how can you can claim an ounce of integrity in such a rigged, blatantly lying enterprise?
That's my Olympic moment - but I'll still watch - go Luxembourg!

Millard Baker

One of the commenters said that Dara Torres' body hasn't changed dramatically over the years (with the implication that since she hasn't gained a lot of muscle that perhaps steroids aren't involved).

Well, actually her body has changed dramatically since she last competed. She has LOST 10 LBS.

I find it hard to believe that all of a sudden after 25 years of being an elite swimmer, she just now decided to start using steroids and this accounts for her recent (personal) record-setting performances.

And if she's been using PEDs all along, did she recently find the magical designer steroid that has eluded all other swimmers?

Perhaps, the significant drop in bodyweight is one of the most notable variables leading to her personal best performances?

Steroid Nation

Torres physique does not appear to be compatible with the type of musculature that develops with androgenic-anabolic steroid use -- to our eye. No hypertrophy of the shoulder or pelvic girdle.

What appears striking -- as Millard points out -- is the incredible leanness of her physique. The photo above resembles anorexia nervosa more that it resembles a IFBB bodybuilder. How could an elite athlete maintain energy at that level of starvation?

Torres volunteered to participate in extended USADA testing, which would indicate she is unafraid of steroid testing; we would doubt she uses anabolic steroids. and thus has nothing to fear from traditional steroids testing.

What drug(s) promote extreme body fat loss while retaining muscle mass? What drugs might produce a physique where the internal organs almost pop out? And might such drugs be undetectable in traditional steroids testing? :-)

Millard Baker

It doesn't appear that extreme leanness would be beneficial for swimmers (perhaps only short distance) due to buoyancy factors; but Torres is clearly proving me wrong here.

Don't forget she has admitted the use of a performance enhancing drug albuterol (for which she has a therapeutic use exemption [TUE]).

Albuterol is a beta-2-adrenergic agonist that is used as a repartitioning agent. IOW, athletes retain muscle mass and lose bodyfat.

Another factor that could clearly contribute to her success is the Speedo LZR Racer.

http://www.steroid.com/blog/2008/07/02/swimsuits-and-anabolic-steroids-where-is-the-level-playing-field/

Steroid Nation

Torres is setting records in the sprints - 50M and 100M freestyle, so buoyancy might actually be a detriment. Without looking it up (sorry) if we were to design a swimming dragster, Torres might be the body design. All muscle and no fat. 6-0 tall with wide shoulders and big hands. We starting wondering if she might be that 500-year swimming freak...

We looked at her past times, which are world record quality as far back as 1983. Twenty-five years of records. No baseball player played 25 years in the MLB, then capped off a career with a banner year...juiced or not. So what Torres is accomplishing is rather remarkable whatever PEDs are going on (if any).

Albuterol use would be akin to Clen use. Can reduce fat. Will open up the airways too, which may be useful in a more aerobic activity; in the 50M swim, we wonder if the airways dilatation is much of an advantage.

[It is interesting that every running back in college (in the Big Ten at least) is diagnosed by the team's friendly medical school with 'exercise-induced asthma' har humpf. Legal beta-agonists for games, wink wink. (and every good running back legitimately has ADHD)]

We all know that 'older' men can develop big muscles, both with PEDs and naturally. However, what would be remarkable is the ability of those muscles to twitch as fast as they could when the owner was in his 20s.

For example the best masters sprinter in history appears to be Willie Gault. Gault ran something like a 10.2 in college, which is fast, but not Olympics 100M fast (he might have been a 100M champ if he devoted full time to track). Now at age 45+ he runs a 10.7/8. Not bad, but about 5% slower. (but the ladies still love him for his body and his mind)

Canuck Swimmer

Actually Mr. Baker Torres hasn't so much as lost ten pounds of weight than she's lost ten pounds of muscle she had in her second comeback at the 2000 Sydney Games. That's right - she's less muscular now than in 2000. With regards to her definition and overall lack of body fat this is entirely consistent with today's modern Olympic swimmer, though admittedly she's at far right of the curve for women. In the last few years the emphasis on building muscle has shifted from the shoulders and arms to a better developed core. And as far as body fat goes swimmers are only 3-4% higher than their distance running counterparts. That's what you get from swimming 60,000 meters or more a week complemented by hours of dry land exercises. What should be considered in evaluating Torres, however, is that while today's Olympian is typically in their teens or early twenties and have rigorously trained for at least ten years Torres has only been training for two years after six years of retirement.

Canuck Swimmer

What has really put the fat into the fire in the swimming world wasn’t Torres' 50 time, it was her 100 time. The fifty is the only swimming event which is anaerobic, all the other events vary from being at least partly aerobic to entirely so. It’s one thing for a forty year old to do well in the fifty, but quite another to do equally well in the 100. Consequently while I have some serious reservations about using athletics as a comparison sport for swimming I’m certainly against using track sprints – no aerobic equivalence. I’d submit a much better example than Willie Gault would be the great masters 800 meter specialist Johnny Gray, a four-time Olympian and 1992 Barcelona bronze medalist, because the 800 does draw upon the athletes’ aerobic capability. Johnny Gray never stopped competing throughout his career and in 2000, at the age of forty, ran a best time of 1:49.10 (indoor) versus his all-time best of 1:42.60. Admittedly this was a poor year, being the first after seventeen straight years he wasn’t in the USATF rankings. The year before he had run a 1:45.38 and was ranked #5 in the US. In 2001, his final year of competing, his best time was 1:50.40. There comes a time when even the great ones decide to hang up their shoes

The Name

I don't know if anyone is still following this thread [Gary Gaffney - do you read all your comments - is there some way to get in touch with you?], but, in addition to Dara Torres [who, at 41, is just way, way, way off the end of the bell curve here - Rowdy Gaines said that she posted the second fastest split in the finals of the Women's 4x100m freestyle relay tonight - only the girl who swam the anchor leg for the gold-medal-winning Netherlands team was faster, and, as Gaines pointed out, Torres was gaining on her at the end of the race], another one you need to keep an eye on is Stephanie Rice, out of Australia.

About 14 months ago [March/April 2007], at the age of 18 [just before her 19th birthday], she set her personal best in the 400m Individual Medley, at 4:41.12.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephanie_Rice

Now fast forward to August of 2008, and she just shattered Katie Hoff's world record, in a time of 4:29.45.

For her to lose 12 seconds at the age of 14 or 15 would be eyebrow-raising; at the ripe old age of 20 [when most girls' careers are winding down], it just about defies the laws of nature.

[If any of you are not familiar with the sport, the 400m IM is far, far, far and away the most grueling event in all of swimming - not even the 1500m freestyle or the 200m butterfly can compare to the brutality of the 400m IM.]

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I consider you are trying to contrast apples to oranges. Darra Torres is 40 and in well toned. That should not equal the assumtion that she is on drugs. Is there any reason for conjecture of cheating besides her age and success?

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