Anti-doping and the evidence card

Is it fair to ask for a little fairness when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs? In general, yes. But a lot of devils lurk in the details. Blame Luke Thomas for this post. The outstanding MMA analyst loves to raise tough questions about drug testing, so this morning, he retweeted an interesting series from Roger Pielke Jr., a Colorado environmental science professor who isn’t afraid to go against the grain — he’s been labeled a “climate misinformer” by Skeptical Science and wrote about his “unhappy life as a climate heretic” for The Wall Street Journal. He’s actually not a climate-change … Continue reading Anti-doping and the evidence card

Doping: It’s complicated

“Ban the Russians!” Like “Equal Play, Equal Pay” or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” it’s a catchy slogan, but it merits further investigation. Plenty of columnists have ripped the IOC for allowing any Russian athletes into the 2016 Olympics, arguing that the organizers should’ve issued a blanket ban in the wake of the McLaren report, which unveiled a shadowy state-sanctioned doping and concealment program not seen since the bad old days of East Germany. The ruling forced each sport’s federation to decide on Russian participation. All track and field athletes, all weightlifters and a handful of others were tossed out. But others were … Continue reading Doping: It’s complicated

How not to hold a press conference, C. Jeter edition

Before the actual soccer started, the most entertaining thing I saw at a 2011 Women’s World Cup venue was a press conference that included one Sepp Blatter and a couple of other dignitaries of varying connections to women’s soccer. They had Steffi Jones, the beloved former German player and president of the organizing committee. They had Tatjana Haenni, head of FIFA women’s competition. And for some reason, they had FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi of Thailand. Blatter artfully deflected questions about his old comments on women’s soccer and revealing clothes, and he declined to tackle the issue of Nigeria’s … Continue reading How not to hold a press conference, C. Jeter edition

Sorry we’re late, Adam — here’s your gold medal

Those of you who complain about drug-testing authorities going back and stripping away most of Lance Armstrong’s career accomplishments should enjoy seeing the other side of the process: U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson is now the gold medalist in the Athens (2004) Olympics, thanks to a re-test of Yuriy Bilonog’s thawed urine. That sequence of events sounds more archaeological than medical, but the IOC has acted to reassign the medals. One irony here: In 2004, Adam Nelson had one of the funniest stories about USADA out-of-competition testing. Who knew my hometown of Athens (Georgia, not Greece) was such a party town? So … Continue reading Sorry we’re late, Adam — here’s your gold medal

Lance Armstrong’s legacy falling like Berlin Wall

At what point does Lance Armstrong go from a being an inspirational figure to a sympathetic one? Six months ago, Armstrong was comfortably in the USA’s firmament of sports heroes. He had parlayed his Tour de France championships and triumph over cancer into an assortment of lucrative business deals and a reputation as one of the country’s leading cancer-fighters. Of the people whose names are synonymous with cancer organizations — Susan Komen, Jim Valvano — he’s the one who’s still with us, ready to speak about his experience. Sure, he had critics. But they were mostly shouted down, scorned or … Continue reading Lance Armstrong’s legacy falling like Berlin Wall

Livestrong’s legacy and Lance Armstrong

A thoughtful espnW roundtable on Lance Armstrong raised a good question: How valuable is Livestrong, anyway? (One question needs to be addressed: One participant says people might see Livestrong Park and wonder where the funds are going. But unless the reporting is wrong, the funds are going to other way.) The roundtable links to this Outside magazine story from earlier in the year that questioned a lot of Livestrong’s practices, from its strong-arm approach to the media to the nebulous emphasis on “awareness.” The latter is turning into a hot topic in cancer charities these days — is it time to put away … Continue reading Livestrong’s legacy and Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong case: Because you have no plans this evening

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has a long release about the Lance Armstrong investigation at its site. But wait, there’s more. The evidence of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team-run scheme is overwhelming and is in excess of 1000 pages, and includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities. The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the … Continue reading Lance Armstrong case: Because you have no plans this evening