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I heard that 9 athletes have been caught doping; I wondered if any were cyclists...no  1 An article went on to say, "The biological passport measures changes in an athlete’s blood profile and is already used in professional cycling. It will be utilized in testing in track and field, swimming, cycling, rowing, modern pentathlon and triathlon at the Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency announced in a news conference at Olympic Park". Two things struck me. Biological passport measures have been in cycling for some time (years?). But many sports have chosen not to bother with it; why not? When reports are made of cyclists doping, no mention is made that cycling is pioneering new measures? Cycling gets dragged through the mud time and time again but it seems that other sports have their heads in the sand. But of course, who from these 6 sports are going to put in an inexplicably poor performance! Or take a chance?

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drheaton [3318 posts] 4 years ago
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I don't think that cycling 'gets dragged through the mud' as much as the UCI chooses to drag it through the mud.

I've never understood why drugs stories at the Tour de France ALWAYS get released on rest days... it can't just be coincidence surely?

It got me to thinking and I think that the UCI chooses to release the major doping stories whilst the sport is in the spot light (basically every major story comes out around the TdF and TdF positive tests always come out on rest days) so that they can be seen to be taking the issue seriously after the sport being a 'doping sport' for so long.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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My question is, is cycling a 'doping sport' or is it just good at catching dopers?? You cannot convince me that other athletes are immune from the temptation of an almost undetectable drug that has proven performance enhancement?

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fiftyacorn [89 posts] 4 years ago
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I agree - no other sport pursues its athletes like cycling. I dont think cycling should stop this - but its time for other sports to step up to start catching their own athletes

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 4 years ago
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I think other sports are up to their eyeballs in it. Only in the last few years has cycling been worth anything financially to more than just the team leaders on the big teams. Many other sports have been rolling in cash and glory for a good few years.

Was it Contador (someone spanish, anyway) who while having a rant about his situation, commented that a footballer (think he played for Barcelona) tweeted that he had been to Switzerland to have his blood 'refreshed'? He'd had a full-body blood transfusion, announced it publicly, and no-one noticed! A cyclist would face a 2-year ban for that.

Anyway, back to today: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/25/sport/olympics-iaaf-doping-tobias/

"That method [blood passports] accounted for six bans, for Morocco's Abderrahim Goumri, Greece's Irini Kokkinariou, Turkey's Meryem Erdogan, and three Russians -- Svetlana Klyuka, Nailiya Yulamanova and Yevgenina Zinurova, the 2011 European Indoors 800m champion.

Along with [Nataliya] Tobias, fellow Ukrainian Antonina Yefremova was charged after synthetic testosterone was found in their systems, while Bulgaria's Inna Eftimova tested positive for a synthetic growth hormone."

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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I think a sport with a big wake up call coming is tennis. It is a sport with a clean image but with huge financial rewards for the top athletes; when was the last time you heard of a tennis player testing positive? When looking up facts and information on doping, tennis comes up time and time again. There is also a blog spot, "Tennis has a steroid problem" with explanations of how easy it is to pass a drug test. But tennis was not on the list of sports for enhanced dope tests?

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 4 years ago
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I held off mentioning Tennis, but there are rumours abound that Rafa Nadal was implicated during Op Puerto. I'd like to think a big wake-up call is coming but is it? The sport's governing body evidently think it's ok to turn a blind eye to the emergence of ridiculous muscles in the womens game.

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drheaton [3318 posts] 4 years ago
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The impact of drugs on a sport varies with each sport.

Tennis is a technique sport and while it is a physical game the physical side cannot make up for a poor technique.

100m sprinting though is pure physique and obviously drugs can have a mcuh greater impact on an athlete's performance.

I would say that sports which are not as heavily tested (football, tennis, badminton, table tennis, gymnastics?) are those where proportionally drugs will have a smaller impact as opposed to increased training or natural ability.

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yenrod [106 posts] 4 years ago
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'Sam1 tell me where I derive gud'blad rather than bad'blood like at home from de mule???'

- Dennis Munchow

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 4 years ago
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No, but physical strength + technique appears to be greater than technique alone. Even within a sport, there are many variables, a good thinking footballer doesn't run much (Sheringham carved out a few years extra on this basis) but a running central midfielder like Steven Gerrard has to be strong and very fit.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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I get the skill/endurance/strength equation. But have noticed that there seems to be a 'drug for all seasons' (or should that be for all sports?); even anabolic steroids developed specifically for sport, and to be undetectable by modern testing methods. It is clever stuff...

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 4 years ago
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SideBurn wrote:

when was the last time you heard of a tennis player testing positive?

Only one I can think of is Petr Korda who tested positive for nandrolone in 1998. I agree with your point though.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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yenrod; I love the quote but wtf?

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drheaton [3318 posts] 4 years ago
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The other thing to remember is that often many athlete's will dope in the run up to a competition then allow it to leave their system naturally well before they race. A sprinter (unlike a pro cyclist) will race two or three times in the space of 3 days maybe, each time only over a short distance. The doping they do is mainly in preparation and few would be still doped at the time of competition.

It's easier to catch cyclists because they compete over extended distances for days at a time so to stay at their doped level will need to keep doping through competition. Random testing and biological passports also help to keep track of the cyclists chemical levels and spot any odd results.

Implementing a biological passport would certainly help in other sports but it may not be the silver bullet. You have to remember that at the elite level of cycling there's a fair amount of money targeted at what in fairness is a relatively small field of athletes. I'm not sure who is responsible for paying for anti doping and testing but I'm sure it's not funded by national governing bodies like in athletics. That means that there is money to test properly, regularly. That money isn't there for all countries and competitors in other sports, do you think that the Kenyan Athletics authorities have the funds and ability to test all of their athletes to the same extent as Sky Procycling and the UCI test their cyclists? What about some of the really minor nations?

Then you've got the arguement that a system needs to be in place that is fair for everyone across the board, it wouldn't be fair if UK athletes are tested more often than other countries or are competing against athletes who haven't been tested to the same extent. That means you're operating a system which fits the poorest nations and isn't really fit for purpose.

If you were to implement a cycling style system for athletics with the national athletics federations footing the bill for testing their athletes you'd effectively price out some nations from competing because they would not be able to effectively test and regulate their athletes in the same way trade cycling teams and the UCI does. That'd scrap the whole ethos of the Olympics, that anyone from anywhere can compete.

Of course, the international athletics bodies could foot the bill... but they're more interested in squeezing out as much from the Olympics commercial rights as they can  14

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fatbeggaronabike [815 posts] 4 years ago
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If they introduced biological passports for football what would all the drunken fat slobs (oops I mean football supporters)do on a sat afternoon? because I seriously doubt they are enough clean players in this country to raise two teams, let alone a league.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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Anyone brave enough to suggest who will put in an unusually poor performance? I have got £20 riding on a certain person(s) failing to perform. Do not want to say who because I do not want to find my severed handlebars in bed with me tomorrow!

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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And it is not Cavendish! Or any other UCI sportsperson!

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bashthebox [751 posts] 4 years ago
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Tennis definitely has a problem. Without wanting to get into libel territory, I've chatted to a lawyer who was working on behalf of the LTA, I think, to - and I'm not sure if I've got this the right way round - keep the tennis players out of the headlines. Nxxxl has been mentioned, but apparently it went back a long way too... Sxxxras, Rxxxxski, many many more. Testosterone, I think. I bet there was more. But I'm sure tennis isn't alone. Cycling has got the toughest tests because it's probably the sport where you can get the biggest advantage, so doping was utterly rife. Other sports, the edge is more subtle. Except athletics. Which is clearly dirty as fuck still, from some nations.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 4 years ago
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Right, so I came back here in light of the accusations surrounding Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, to check that swimming is listed above. (If you don't know, she is 16 and has just swam quicker than any of the men, leading to comments from a US swim coach of 'disturbing' performances).

So far Olympics officials appear to be backing her - given that swimming is included in the blood passport programme, one would assume that she has been tested and confirmed clean. Thoughts?

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drheaton [3318 posts] 4 years ago
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I didn't see it but for a 16yr old girl to swim a 50m freestyle faster than Ryan Lochte is pretty impressive. Was it clean? We may not know for a few years. IOC is now keeping samples for 8 years in order to back-test samples when new tests are perfected or new doping techniques discovered.

As it stands she'll have been subject to any number of tests since arriving at the Olympics, and a fair few after winning her race, so if none come back positive we have to assume she's innocent and just very talented.

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Paul J [885 posts] 4 years ago
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She didn't swim faster than "any of the men". She swam a last leg that was *nearly* as fast as the last leg of a man, who was "cruising" on the last leg: 58.68s for Ye vs 58.65s for Lochte. Lochte's overall time for the race was still over 23s faster than hers (4m28.43s v 4m05.18s). Ye had actually gone quite slowly on her first 3 legs, and obviously had a lot in reserve for the final leg.

It was an eye-brow raising performance alright, but she didn't swim faster than the men. It doesn't per se mean she doped, just suspicious - another young Chinese swimmer tested positive for EPO earlier this year. She may quite plausibly just have gotten her pacing completely wrong - in which case, it means she's likely capable of a better overall time by going faster earlier, and ending up slower in the last leg.

Source: Science of Sport blog, http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/07/london-day-2-quick-thoughts.html

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jollygoodvelo [1426 posts] 4 years ago
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"...if none come back positive we have to assume she's innocent and just very talented."

I agree. At least, until she becomes a millionaire, has a celebrity lifestyle, starts a charity...

In other news, Caster Semenya.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 4 years ago
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Ah, fair enough Paul, cheers.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 4 years ago
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I have to say that I think Chinese athletes are probably a lot less likely to be involved in the user of performance enhancing drugs than most. Sport is seen as a symbol of national pride in China and is pretty closely governed by the authorities, more so than in most countries. The Chinese want to show the world that they can win on their own terms and definitely without the use of blood doping or drug use or anything that would undermine their credibility. The Chinese have a very different view from, say, the East European regimes of the 1970s and the way they regarded drug use for athletes. As she's won a medal she will be tested. I'd be very highly surprised if she tested positive. I think it was either bad grace or blind ignorance on the part of the American to speak out and I hope he apologises if (as I expect) the tests show she's clean.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 4 years ago
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Interesting viewpoint. I've been thinking the opposite, because they seem intent on demonstrating national power in the way the Russians used to.

Maybe you're right, but I would be utterly unsurprised to find a state-backed doping programme, sufficiently well-researched to avoid the testers.

Alternatively, there's always the old-school Chinese training programmes where they get the kids as little more than toddlers, full time in a martial arts/acrobatics/theatre etc school. Not very nice methods though.

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drheaton [3318 posts] 4 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Interesting viewpoint. I've been thinking the opposite, because they seem intent on demonstrating national power in the way the Russians used to.

Maybe you're right, but I would be utterly unsurprised to find a state-backed doping programme, sufficiently well-researched to avoid the testers.

Alternatively, there's always the old-school Chinese training programmes where they get the kids as little more than toddlers, full time in a martial arts/acrobatics/theatre etc school. Not very nice methods though.

I was going to say exactly the same. Either state backed doping or extremely brutal training regimes in place from early childhood would not surprise me.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 4 years ago
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Nope, I think the Chinese want to win, but not at all costs in the way the Eastern Europeans did in the 70s and early 80s. Yes, they pick out children with potential at a young age and begin training early. But I think using performance enhancing drugs would be considered a sign of failure by the Chinese. It's a cultural issue as it'd be a loss of face to use illegal measures. I would expect the Chinese authorities to have stronger rules against the use of drugs or doping than the IOC. Yes, the Chinese probably have leading edge sports science, but that's allowed in the rules. let's face it, one of the reasons team GB beat the Australians in so many cycling events in particular in the Beijing Olympics was because our sports science was better. That got up the noses of the Aussies every bit as much as the fact that Chris Hoy came back with so many gongs. But we don't refer to the sports science Team GB used then as cheating, do we?

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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It is quite depressing that we are discusing the possibility that a 16yo athlete may be doped...I hope she is clean and is proven to be clean; but a 4 second gain in swimming is huge. If she has doped (or been doped) then the latest testing protocol could already have been compromised.

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drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
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The most telling quote I've heard is from Ian Thorpe who said that his own times dropped by 5 seconds in a year in order to win his first Olympic gold as a teenager.

Plus, let's remember, Ye Shiwen's time dropped by 5 seconds from her pre-Olympic best which was set in the 2010 Asian Games so really it's dropped 5 seconds in two years.

That's no longer so dodgy.

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fatbeggaronabike [815 posts] 3 years ago
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I like a few others on here first read the report and responded (tongue in cheek in my case) but have now come back to see reactions following not only the swimming (I hope for the sport she is clean) but then we have the farce of the Badminton teams. my personal view on this is that it is clearly cheating and the teams involved should be disqualified.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder what the tickets cost for that badminton session? You would be mighty pissed to have paid a few hundred quid for a few seats, only to see that.

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