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February 2013

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« Slovenia runner Ceplak -- world record holder -- will sit 2 years for EPO suspension | Main | What's in your wallet: Süreyya Ayhan -- Turkish track athlete -- protested positive doping test, nailed by credit cards »



bill hue

The "finding" of a prohibited "high" T:E ratio (the result of which Dick Pound said would cause virgins for 100 miles to run away from Landis) was reversed by the original Arbitration Panel. While USADA might still be permitted to pursue it before the CAS, it is pretty clear from its briefing that it has little faith in the results of that test.

So, with LNDD unable to perform the initial T:E ratio analysis, one might wonder if the lab had the scientific skill necessary to adequately perform the more complicated test to determine whether the now determined to be "normal" T to E ratio contained testosterone from some source other than naturally produced.

The original Panel, by a 2 to 1 vote, (along essentially "party lines", with the ADA assigned arbitrator and the Federation appointed member in the majority and the athlete's represeative in the minority) found noteworthy fault in the lab's proceedures and methods, the WADA Code accepts such defects in the pursuit of dopers through its presumption of guilt and concluded that the testosterone came from an exogenious source, in violation of the Code.

Fair minded people, including USADA head Travis Tygart, acknowledge the athlete's right to bring the case to the highest appelate level.

So, on any level, upon the merits or law, it is not surprising that the loser of a 2 to 1 decision would appeal. And, again, to the fair minded, had USADA lost 2 to 1 and decided to fold but WADA, as it has the right to do under its Code, chose to appeal to CAS, such decisions would have not been surprising, either.

Steroid Nation

The PED appeals process constitutes a long and costly route, which leads to cynical blogs -- such as ours -- to take shots at an athlete who carries his case to the highest level of appeal. However, there is no argument that that appeals system should be available and should be protected.

In part, a cynical view of the Tour held by many sports fan is based on the excessively drawn-out forensics procedures of the doping violations. Sport is a diversion where wins and loses should be determined on the field of play; where victories can be determined by a stop watch or a scoreboard. That the victor is determined now by a forensic appeals process, although justified, is exasperating. Such is a deplorable aspect of modern sport where drug-cheats have preempted the joy of victory or the achievement of records.

The finding of a high T:E ratio (which isn't prohibited per se, but is accepted as a screen for doping) was not reversed; the arbitration board dismissed the finding on technical grounds -- the lab procedure did not meet WADA protocol standards. (this leads to an interesting question: if the screening test was dismissed, then isn't the issue finished at that point?)

The charge that the LNDD found evidence for synthetic testosterone was sustained. That decision holds; one cannot pick and choose which arbitration decision is accepted depending on which is favorable to a point of view.

With the split decision it is not surprising that Landis decided to appeal. (we would note dissenting voter Chris Campbell entered the Univ of Iowa the same year the editor of this blog did; we hold Campbell as an exemplary professional with an impeccable record. Campbell's dissention adds to the interesting nature of the hearing).

We conclude:
1. Is is extremely frustrating that the outcome of athletic contests now are determined by forensic proceedings where language, argument, and nuance may win, as opposed to the simple 'he who crosses the finish line first or scores the most points wins' clean result of game or a race.

2. As you say any fair-minded person would defend an athlete's right to appeal an adverse decision.

3. We wonder if Landis supporters would ever accept an adverse finding?

thank you, and keep up the good work

Bill Hue

My opinion is that the WADA anti-doping disciplinary Code as it currently exists is fundamentally flawed and at the risk of high-jacking your blog, I have written extensively on its proceedural flaws at Trust but Verify. When i see a fair system, fairly adjudicated, I will accept an adverse finding.
Unfortunately, this system is severely unfair and personally disappointing.

Steroid Nation

One thing paramount in academics should be to recognize greater expertise. We would welcome a nice summary of the flaws in the WADA system (not to consume your time but an opinion would be super).

We are not expert in WADA administration.

Again, thanks -- we need links!


I also find it hard not to be cynical about Landis and his appeals (particularly the whole LeMond incident). But any more, I'm becoming cynical about most everything and everyone - particularly when you see so many athletes with exemptions for exercise induced asthma. (Heh, naive me always thought I wasn't in good enough shape when I'd have trouble catching my breath midway through people-sports 10k's, etc. Maybe it wasn't more training I lacked.) I have no background in medical testing, so it's hard for me to find fault with the tests when I don't understand all of the technical aspects. For me, the troubling part of the whole ongoing Landis saga was the apparent inside information leaks and the appearance of behind the scenes string pulling at the lab.

Having said all that, I do believe that PED's were the fuel for Landis' miraculous ride the day in question. The authorities are catching many cheats, they really need to tighten up there systems and procedures so that:

1. Innocent athletes aren't either falsely accused (or sabotaged).

2. Guilty athletes don't use the loopholes to circumvent the rules.

bill hue

Sorry to take so long to reply:
Here's the link:


Thanks to both of you.

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