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UKAD: Armitstead didn't challenge 'missed' test when it was notified to her

World champion only took action after third occurrence meant she faced ban

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) says that world champion road cyclist Lizzie Armitstead did not challenge challenge the first of three missed out-of-competition drugs test last year when it was notified to her.

The 27-year-old, who rides for Olympic gold in the road race at Rio on Sunday, was provisionally suspended last month after missing two further anti-doping controls in the past 12 months.

Under Article 2.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code 2015 Armitstead, who accepted she was at fault for the two subsequent violations, faced a ban of up to two years.

> Armitstead faced two year ban after three missed drugs tests

However, she challenged the first violation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), claiming that the UKAD testing official had not followed the correct procedure when he arrived at the hotel in Sweden where she was staying before racing for her Boels-Dolmans team.

According to a statement released this morning on behalf of the rider,

CAS ruled that the UKAD Doping Control Officer had not followed required procedures nor made reasonable attempts to locate Armitstead. CAS also ruled that there was no negligence on Armitstead’s part and that she had followed procedures according to the guidelines.

Armitstead undertook in-competition testing the following day, as leader of the UCI Women Road World Cup.

The independent panel of leading legal experts from CAS promptly and unanimously cleared Armitstead of the asserted missed test.

That initial missed test took place on the morning of Thursday 20 June last year. Armitstead had correctly logged her location for that day on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ADAMS Whereabouts management system as the hotel where her team was staying.

The UKAD official reportedly arrived at the hotel and requested Armitstead’s room number, without explaining the purpose of the visit, and hotel staff declined to give out the information.

One attempt was made to contact the rider via her mobile phone, but it was set to silent while she slept.

The other two missed drugs tests took place respectively on 5 October 2015 and 9 June 2016, with Armitstead accepting responsibility for both, meaning she cannot afford another one within the next two months.

The statement issues on her behalf said the first of those was due to “an administrative oversight” in logging her Whereabouts, while the second resulted from a last-minute change of plans due to family illness.

Nicole Sapstead chief executive of UKAD, pointed out that Armitstead had been informed of the first two alleged Whereabouts violations at the time they were recorded, but chose not to challenge them, even though a third would automatically trigger disciplinary proceedings.

She said: "We respect the outcome of the CAS hearing against Elizabeth Armitstead.

“When UKAD asserts a Whereabouts Failure against an athlete, the athlete has the opportunity to challenge the apparent Whereabouts Failure through an external Administrative Review, before it is confirmed.

“Only when three Whereabouts Failures are confirmed is the case then put through an independent review to determine whether the athlete has a case to answer for a violation of Article 2.4 of the World Anti-Doping Code.

“Ms Armitstead chose not to challenge the first and second Whereabouts Failures at the time they were asserted against her.

“At the CAS hearing, Ms Armitstead raised a defence in relation to the first Whereabouts Failure, which was accepted by the Panel.

“We are awaiting the Reasoned Decision from the CAS Panel as to why the first Whereabouts Failure was not upheld.”

She added that knowing the location of athletes for out-of-competition testing “is a vital component of our intelligence-led testing programme,” and that they “have a fundamental responsibility to make themselves available and accessible for testing anywhere and at any time … [including] …  providing sufficient information to be located for testing.”

Acknowledging that mistakes can be made or plans changed at short notice, Sapstead underlined that UKAD “provide a huge amount of support to athletes throughout their time on the Whereabouts programme to ensure the information they provide is accurate and submitted in a timely manner,” as well as “additional, escalating support to athletes who incur Whereabouts Failures which is tailored to their specific needs.”

She concluded: “It is important to note that we will not publicly disclose provisional suspensions, or disclose details of cases, until an anti-doping rule violation has deemed to have been committed, at which point information will be published on our website.

“This is to ensure that the rights and privacy of everyone involved are respected and to ensure the case is not unnecessarily prejudiced.”

Armitstead, who won silver in the road race at London 2012 – Team GB’s first medal of the Games – was reportedly represented in her CAS appeal by a legal team supported by British Cycling.

But as blogger Inner Ring points out, the funding model of British Cycling, which relies on meeting Olympic medal targets, “sets up an obvious conflict of interest with a governing body’s financial interests becoming aligned with that of a rider rather than the more neutral position a sports administration is supposed to take.”

The blogger also questioned the reasons given for Armitstead’s withdrawal from La Course de la Tour de France, which took place in Paris on 24 July, reported at the time to be so she could focus on the Olympics – although it is clear now that she could not have ridden anyway, since she was provisionally suspended from 11 July.

Rower Zac Purchase, who won gold in the lightweight double sculls at Beijing in 2008 and silver in the same event in London four years ago, was among athletes commenting on Twitter about the news concerning Armitstead.

He said: “Given huge amount of resources @ their disposal, having multiple missed tests/filing failure is a monumental cockup! Imagine what we would be saying if she was Russian … #NotWorthIt #KeepSportClean.”

In June last year, three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome admitted he had missed an out-of-competition test which he said was due to staff at a hotel he was staying at with his wife Michelle refusing to let anti-doping officials see him due to a policy of not allowing guests to be disturbed.

> Froome admits missing out-of-competition drugs tests

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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55 comments

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cxmad | 7 years ago
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I have read one report of this situation that highlights that calling an athlete on their mobile constitutes an "announced" test, when a knock on the door is what constitutes an "un-announced" test....both of which are permitted.

From this report, I read that UKAD were intending to conduct the latter, but THEY FAILED, rather than the athlete, on this ocassion. Well done Lizzie for defending yourself on that point, and well done to the hotel for maintaining good security protocols for their guests

Everyone has family, and should a member of it need medical attention, or need to be rushed into hospital, then the last thing on MY mind would be that I was required to tell someone the intimate details for my change of plans....the family member's health, welfare, recuperation and rehabilitation is far more important....what if the shoe was on the other foot, and the testing official didn't call to rearrange a test because they crashed their car on the way to an "announced" test?

So, to get to my real point.....I BELIEVE LIZZIE IS A CLEAN ATHLETE / RIDER / CHAMPION, and that no amount of diatribe over this point, and that scenario, and unnecessary (petty) squabbling over who can / can't read is going to change that. 

#LIZZIEISCLEAN

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Dan S | 7 years ago
1 like

In case anybody is interested in the actual rules rather than a mere witch hunt, the WADA rules on whereabouts can be found here.

They don't appear to talk about reasonableness directly.  What they sy is that you have to provide enough information to allow you to be found and that it is only a failure if the athlete was at least negligent.  Presumably, therefore, the ruling was either that she did provide enough information or that she didn't but wasn't negligent in so doing (probably less likely).

The relevance of that is that there is a subtle shifting away from LA needing to blame the DCO.  It is not necessary to say "he didn't do his job properly", merely "I did mine".  Which CAS seems to have agreed with.  But probably won't tell us why...

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Colin Peyresourde replied to Dan S | 7 years ago
2 likes
Dan S wrote:

In case anybody is interested in the actual rules rather than a mere witch hunt, the WADA rules on whereabouts can be found here.

They don't appear to talk about reasonableness directly.  What they sy is that you have to provide enough information to allow you to be found and that it is only a failure if the athlete was at least negligent.  Presumably, therefore, the ruling was either that she did provide enough information or that she didn't but wasn't negligent in so doing (probably less likely).

The relevance of that is that there is a subtle shifting away from LA needing to blame the DCO.  It is not necessary to say "he didn't do his job properly", merely "I did mine".  Which CAS seems to have agreed with.  But probably won't tell us why...

And there you seem to grasp something of Lizzie's failures.

The problem is the level of hypocrisy about all of this. Each time Lizzie registered a failure she does not appear to have learnt a lesson. She continues to lack a sense of responsibility about the one main requirement that she has so that she can compete as a professional.

UKAD, as you will note, do not agree with the ruling and want to understand what their failing has been (presumably so that the next shil of an athlete who fails to do the one requirement of their job is banned).

We can only speculate how CAS came to their decision - but it is irrelevant. How has it come to pass that the World Champion has cocked up what very few athletes cock-up three times?

Speculation doesn't help, but there very little excuse for her getting herself into this position. If we do accept her word she has made plenty of excuses for herself.

That said, I am curious about this family emergency. It seems very mysterious given that none of her family have been hospitalised, died or arrested. What then required her to risk her whole career and reputation that would not wait a day? It's like reading the vague excuses of a school child that doesn't want to do cross-country or Maths. I cannot fathom what is was that required her to sacrifice her life's work. She's a lucky girl we are only trashing her reputation and that she still has her day job.

 

 

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Dan S replied to Colin Peyresourde | 7 years ago
1 like
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Dan S wrote:

In case anybody is interested in the actual rules rather than a mere witch hunt, the WADA rules on whereabouts can be found here.

They don't appear to talk about reasonableness directly.  What they sy is that you have to provide enough information to allow you to be found and that it is only a failure if the athlete was at least negligent.  Presumably, therefore, the ruling was either that she did provide enough information or that she didn't but wasn't negligent in so doing (probably less likely).

The relevance of that is that there is a subtle shifting away from LA needing to blame the DCO.  It is not necessary to say "he didn't do his job properly", merely "I did mine".  Which CAS seems to have agreed with.  But probably won't tell us why...

And there you seem to grasp something of Lizzie's failures.

The problem is the level of hypocrisy about all of this. Each time Lizzie registered a failure she does not appear to have learnt a lesson. She continues to lack a sense of responsibility about the one main requirement that she has so that she can compete as a professional.

UKAD, as you will note, do not agree with the ruling and want to understand what their failing has been (presumably so that the next shil of an athlete who fails to do the one requirement of their job is banned).

We can only speculate how CAS came to their decision - but it is irrelevant. How has it come to pass that the World Champion has cocked up what very few athletes cock-up three times?

Speculation doesn't help, but there very little excuse for her getting herself into this position. If we do accept her word she has made plenty of excuses for herself.

That said, I am curious about this family emergency. It seems very mysterious given that none of her family have been hospitalised, died or arrested. What then required her to risk her whole career and reputation that would not wait a day? It's like reading the vague excuses of a school child that doesn't want to do cross-country or Maths. I cannot fathom what is was that required her to sacrifice her life's work. She's a lucky girl we are only trashing her reputation and that she still has her day job.

 

 

Yes, I agree with most of that (where did you find out that none of her family was hospitalised etc?). That said, the family emergency is basically irrelevant since she accepts fault for that (although I did find the sympathy-seeking a little nauseating).

I'm not saying that this was anything other than a colossal cock-up. My only point is that you don't get banned for two colossal cock-ups. It needs three breaches of the rules and the only independent source we have says that she's point breached them twice.

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Dan S | 7 years ago
1 like

I've just read elsewhere that the reasoned decision does not generally get made public. That is very sad and I hope that in this case it does. If it genuinely wasn't her fault then she deserves to have that fact known. If it was her fault and CAS have fudged it then we deserve to know that.

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Awavey replied to Dan S | 7 years ago
1 like
Dan S wrote:

I've just read elsewhere that the reasoned decision does not generally get made public. That is very sad and I hope that in this case it does. If it genuinely wasn't her fault then she deserves to have that fact known. If it was her fault and CAS have fudged it then we deserve to know that.

I was under the impression Lizzie requested the not in public hearing option,it wasn't detailed on the CAS site the hearing was even taking place,it was only because it was subsequently leaked to the media,the whole info came into the public domain.

So I'm totally not expecting CAS to publish anything from the hearing or their deliberations, or for UKAD to discuss the individual case anymore

All we know now, is all we will likely ever know about it,whether that satisfies all peoples questions & is up to the individual

Avatar
Dan S replied to Awavey | 7 years ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:
Dan S wrote:

I've just read elsewhere that the reasoned decision does not generally get made public. That is very sad and I hope that in this case it does. If it genuinely wasn't her fault then she deserves to have that fact known. If it was her fault and CAS have fudged it then we deserve to know that.

I was under the impression Lizzie requested the not in public hearing option,it wasn't detailed on the CAS site the hearing was even taking place,it was only because it was subsequently leaked to the media,the whole info came into the public domain.

So I'm totally not expecting CAS to publish anything from the hearing or their deliberations, or for UKAD to discuss the individual case anymore

All we know now, is all we will likely ever know about it,whether that satisfies all peoples questions & is up to the individual

I think there's a distinction between having the hearing in private (which you'd expect, given that the suspension is private until after the ruling) and publishing the result. I know that doing so requires her assent. Not sure what else it requires.

Maybe it'll be leaked!

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Must be Mad | 7 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

The CAS ruling was a discretionary ruling on reasonableness. Right and wrong doesn't come in to it. You have to find the weakest point in procedure and influence the panel.

 "Right and wrong doesn't come into it"?? Listen to yourself. Lets just ban everyone weather they are guilty or not. Throw the rule book out the window, and no legal advice allowed.

Quote:

Funny you mentioned jingoism, was that irony? Maybe you don't know what it means. (lol?)

Yep, funny that

 

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to Must be Mad | 7 years ago
1 like
Must be Mad wrote:
Quote:

The CAS ruling was a discretionary ruling on reasonableness. Right and wrong doesn't come in to it. You have to find the weakest point in procedure and influence the panel.

 "Right and wrong doesn't come into it"?? Listen to yourself. Lets just ban everyone weather they are guilty or not. Throw the rule book out the window, and no legal advice allowed.

Quote:

Funny you mentioned jingoism, was that irony? Maybe you don't know what it means. (lol?)

Yep, funny that

 

 

Genuinely not sure you understand the language you're typing in. Not being facetious (well maybe a bit), but seriously - you're using words that have the opposite meaning of what you're trying to say (jingoistic), and you can't understand basic points which led you to make that cringeworthy knee-jerk reply. 

 

Calm down, go back and read the thread.

Avatar
Must be Mad | 7 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

the Facts/Evidence clearly state she did break the rules and was not available THREE times for testing. How much clearer can it be?

The facts which have been presented is that she was not avalible for TWO tests, which is not breaking the rules (yet)

Quote:

That CAS have backed this rider is ridiculous, if she were not the 'golden girl' of Brtish cycling right now with a massive international and domestic profile this decision simply would not have occured. You're delusional if you think it would and have not one iota of understanding of how politics works!

I am plainly strupid. Please explain why the cas rulling is wrong?

And please provide your detailed legal reasoning, not just a jingonistic 'well she's british, she must be cheeting' knee jerk reaction. I note that it was the UK organisation which wanted to ban her, and the international one which upheld the challange.

 

 

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to Must be Mad | 7 years ago
2 likes
Must be Mad wrote:
Quote:

the Facts/Evidence clearly state she did break the rules and was not available THREE times for testing. How much clearer can it be?

The facts which have been presented is that she was not avalible for TWO tests, which is not breaking the rules (yet)

Quote:

That CAS have backed this rider is ridiculous, if she were not the 'golden girl' of Brtish cycling right now with a massive international and domestic profile this decision simply would not have occured. You're delusional if you think it would and have not one iota of understanding of how politics works!

I am plainly strupid. Please explain why the cas rulling is wrong?

And please provide your detailed legal reasoning, not just a jingonistic 'well she's british, she must be cheeting' knee jerk reaction. I note that it was the UK organisation which wanted to ban her, and the international one which upheld the challange.

 

 

 

Disingenious. Each test missed is a breaking of the rules. And it was British Cycling you funded the brief and strategy from Morgan's Law (who're now gloating about it) to find a way to get any one of the strikes overturned.

 

The CAS ruling was a discretionary ruling on reasonableness. Right and wrong doesn't come in to it. You have to find the weakest point in procedure and influence the panel. 

 

Whether you buy into the subsequent sugar-coating of it all is up to you. Clearly, you do.

 

Wiser minds see it for what it is. A cyclist dodging tests with poor excuses and being funded by British Cycling to get away with it so they can get medals at the Olympics.

 

Funny you mentioned jingoism, was that irony? Maybe you don't know what it means. (lol?)

Avatar
japes replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
3 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Wiser minds see it for what it is.

you realise referring to yourself as a "wiser mind" makes you look like a complete arse, aye? 

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to japes | 7 years ago
2 likes
japes wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Wiser minds see it for what it is.

you realise referring to yourself as a "wiser mind" makes you look like a complete arse, aye? 

 

Referring to to the Olympic medallists who called the situation out of course. Cooke, Purchase, Kabush etc who know this game intimately. Some of which I linked to earlier.

 

Feel free to make a complete arse of yourself though.

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Dan S replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Referring to to the Olympic medallists who called the situation out of course. Cooke, Purchase, Kabush etc who know this game intimately. Some of which I linked to earlier.

Zac Purchase agrees with the CAS ruling.

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to Dan S | 7 years ago
2 likes
Dan S wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Referring to to the Olympic medallists who called the situation out of course. Cooke, Purchase, Kabush etc who know this game intimately. Some of which I linked to earlier.

Zac Purchase agrees with the CAS ruling.

 

Zac Purchase:

Given huge amount of resources [at] their disposal, having multiple missed tests/filing failure is a monumental cockup!

"Imagine what we would be saying if she was Russian... #NotWorthIt #KeepSportClean."

 

Again, the point is not about the CAS ruling being right or wrong, agreeable or not.

 

To even mention that is to not understand the situation or any critique raised. Very telling. Almost embarassing at this stage.

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Dan S replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:
Dan S wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Referring to to the Olympic medallists who called the situation out of course. Cooke, Purchase, Kabush etc who know this game intimately. Some of which I linked to earlier.

Zac Purchase agrees with the CAS ruling.

 

Zac Purchase:

Given huge amount of resources [at] their disposal, having multiple missed tests/filing failure is a monumental cockup!

"Imagine what we would be saying if she was Russian... #NotWorthIt #KeepSportClean."

Zac Purchase:

agree with ruling - DCOs have to act correctly. Tho disappointed that this situation has been reached in the first place.

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to Dan S | 7 years ago
1 like
Dan S wrote:
unconstituted wrote:
Dan S wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Referring to to the Olympic medallists who called the situation out of course. Cooke, Purchase, Kabush etc who know this game intimately. Some of which I linked to earlier.

Zac Purchase agrees with the CAS ruling.

 

Zac Purchase:

Given huge amount of resources [at] their disposal, having multiple missed tests/filing failure is a monumental cockup!

"Imagine what we would be saying if she was Russian... #NotWorthIt #KeepSportClean."

Zac Purchase:

agree with ruling - DCOs have to act correctly. Tho disappointed that this situation has been reached in the first place.

 

No-one cares about the ruling.

 

Everyone cares about Lizzie Armistead missing tests.

 

And we're all disappointed that this situation has been reached in the first place. I agree with Zac.

 

All except you and a few others who're all mixed up over some discretionary ruling that they think is the important bit. 

 

 

Avatar
Dan S replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
2 likes
Quote:

Zac Purchase:

agree with ruling - DCOs have to act correctly. Tho disappointed that this situation has been reached in the first place.

And we're all disappointed that this situation has been reached in the first place. I agree with Zac.

It may be that we've been at crossed purposes all this time. I also agree with Zac: it is disappointing that we're in this situation but the ruling is correct: if the tester didn't follow procedure then she shouldn't be banned.
I have no intention of defending LA beyond that point: the only independent people to hear the full story said that UKAD didn't follow the rules and therefore LA should not be banned, for all that her conduct in failing 2 further tests is disappointing.

Quote:

All except you and a few others who're all mixed up over some discretionary ruling that they think is the important bit. 

I only think the ruling is important because it says she can compete. That's at least a little bit important, wouldn't you say? The actual outcome? As to the actual facts of what happened, I just hope the reasoned decision goes into the evidence in depth so we can make our own minds up. Until then my view is that any definitive opinion as to the rights and wrongs is being made without all the evidence and is therefore premature.

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Dan S replied to tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
1 like
unconstituted wrote:

Disingenious. Each test missed is a breaking of the rules. 

No.  It's only a breaking of the rules if you are not available when and where you say you will be, in such a way that a tester can find you by taking reasonable steps.  Which CAS (again: the people who've actually heard the full story rather than a Daily Mail article and a few press releases) say she was.

 

Avatar
tritecommentbot replied to Dan S | 7 years ago
3 likes
Dan S wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Disingenious. Each test missed is a breaking of the rules. 

No.  It's only a breaking of the rules if you are not available when and where you say you will be, in such a way that a tester can find you by taking reasonable steps.  Which CAS (again: the people who've actually heard the full story rather than a Daily Mail article and a few press releases) say she was.

 

 

Each strike is a breach. You can't play with semantics and hope that Lizzie will look clean. She had three strikes and got banned.

 

One was overturned on a discretionary ruling on reasonableness with a nice bit of lawyering.

 

She did miss three tests. She will always have missed those three tests. You can bleat about it until you're blue in the face. Lizzie missed three drug tests.

 

 

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davel | 7 years ago
0 likes

It'd only be replacing one set of human errors/excuses for another.

If it's an app that had to be installed on the cyclists' phones, it'd be 'I forgot my phone/it died/I replaced it and forgot to reinstall the app/I was in a tunnel/the tester didn't request/read the signal properly' etc etc etc.

...Unless the signal was transmitted via a GPS chip inserted in the cyclist, and I can't see many volunteering for that.

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cqexbesd replied to davel | 7 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

It'd only be replacing one set of human errors/excuses for another. If it's an app that had to be installed on the cyclists' phones, it'd be 'I forgot my phone/it died/I replaced it and forgot to reinstall the app/I was in a tunnel/the tester didn't request/read the signal properly' etc etc etc. ...Unless the signal was transmitted via a GPS chip inserted in the cyclist, and I can't see many volunteering for that.

 

You do get a new set of possible failure scenarios with an app. e.g. "forgot to reinstall" as you say. However:

1) This is an extra thing. You only need to remember to use the app OR the old system. If something goes wrong then fall back to the way you did it before (e.g. SMS from a friend's phone). This just plugs some seemingly common failure modes - i.e. human memory for repetitive tasks. There are now less ways to innocently fail.

2) For at least a subset of athletes an app should be easier to manage. You only have to install it once and then remember to keep your phone with you and charged - which I expect a good chunk of them already do. People (inc. me) are so wedded to their phones they usually notice within 30 minutes if they have left it somewhere. It doesn't interfere with the other phone functions (e.g. being able to put it on silent to stop spammers waking you). Most people don't get a new phone that often so ongoing maintenance should be trivial - install once, agree to default settings and then leave it till it shouts at you. If they fail to keep their battery topped up etc then see point 1.

3) There are some technological measures that can be taken to minimise the impact of some of the scenarios you mention (e.g. if the phone doesn't have internet access and has moved substantially since it last reported its position (which, given it is presuambly only reporting during test periods, may have been the previous day), or its position is not where the athlete had manually supplied as their location according to the WADA server, or the WADA servers are all broken, then the app can sound an alarm telling the athlete to fix it/SMS in their location in the old way/ring someone). The "tester didn't request" scenario is easy enough. The system on the server end can log requests. The phones can report in during their testing period and this gets logged as well. If it comes to an appeal then all these logs can be put before the panel.

 

It isn't a perfect fix but it sounds to me as being much better than relying on a human to get it right every day. At least worth putting to athletes as a possibility. If athletes do still come up with a poor excuse, that may or may not involve imported steak, then we can still go back to the position of counting it as a strike against them.

Avatar
Dan S | 7 years ago
1 like

There are a lot of comments, here and elsewhere, along the lines of how stupid somebody has to be to allow accrue 3 fails.  They are probably right, although a family emergency may well mitigate that to some extent, depending on the exact nature of it, which CAS knew and we don't.   Nonetheless, she accepted the fault in that instance.

The real point is that stupidity, poor admin and carelessness are not reasons to brand somebody a cheat.  They are reason to ban somebody, because the rules say that if you miss three properly conducted tests then you're banned.  That's a rule and you live with it.  

The rules work both ways, of course: if the anti-doping officer doesn't follow their rules then their test isn't valid.  The simple fact is that here we do not yet know the fine detail of what happened in the first "test".  CAS did and ruled, as far as can be made out, that LA did nothing wrong.  It seems a little harsh to want to ban her for doing nothing wrong, even if she had two subsequent fails.  Other athletes don't get banned for two fails and neither should she.

Likewise her failure to challenge the first one properly may have been foolish, especially in hindsight.  Foolishness is not a reason to ban somebody and presumably had she challenged it in good time it would have resulted in the same ruling and she'd still only be on two failures.  Which doesn't merit a ban.

The real point behind the "that's very stupid" comments is the insinuation that she's doping, the sole evidence being that "nobody would be that careless if it's their job". 

Take a moment to think about that.  Think of other walks of life.  People are negligent.  Sometimes repeatedly.  I know a barrister who was in serious jeopardy of losing their right to practice because they failed to return a form to the Bar Council on time.  The next year they did it agian.  I know at least two others who regularly filed their tax returns late, despite it costing hundreds of pounds in fines.

I have seen literally dozens of people who accrued driving bans for going over 12 penalty points, consisting of 4 separate driving offences, even though they knew that they would lose their jobs if they couldn't drive.  How difficult is it not to speed?  Especially when you've already got 9 points?

 

What it comes to is this: CAS has ruled that her first missed test wasn't missed and she wasn't at fault for it, under UKAD rules.  Therefore she doesn't have 3 missed tests.  Therefore she shouldn't be banned.  Yes, she was plainly foolish in not challenging the first one at the time and in allowing the second and third.  No, you can't be banned for foolishness.  Yes, it is suspicious.  No, it isn't sufficiently suspicious to justify a factual claim that she is doping or avoiding tests.

 

Avatar
Colin Peyresourde replied to Dan S | 7 years ago
2 likes
Dan S wrote:

The rules work both ways, of course: if the anti-doping officer doesn't follow their rules then their test isn't valid.  The simple fact is that here we do not yet know the fine detail of what happened in the first "test".  CAS did and ruled, as far as can be made out, that LA did nothing wrong.  It seems a little harsh to want to ban her for doing nothing wrong, even if she had two subsequent fails.  Other athletes don't get banned for two fails and neither should she.

Likewise her failure to challenge the first one properly may have been foolish, especially in hindsight.  Foolishness is not a reason to ban somebody and presumably had she challenged it in good time it would have resulted in the same ruling and she'd still only be on two failures.  Which doesn't merit a ban.". 

Unfortunately the process of anti-doping control is stacked against testers. It gives every opportunity for leniency to the athlete, and requires a level of certainty from testers which can be clinically proven.

Most of the chemicals that athletes use to dope with are either the same as those already in their body, or they are quickly metabolised into naturally produced drugs. It is therefore key to tests athletes as soon as they are likely to have doped. (6am is therefore quite often the dopers preferred choice for anti-doping control as it always gives you the night to sleep the dope off).

But the point is that the 'whereabouts' rule and testing is key, because even though a tester may find that blood values are out of whack, because they can't demonstrate that they are beyond the extremes of human potential they can do nothing about it. Therefore if you are committed to a clean sport you know that being available for a test is of the utmost importance. And, because we are human they don't expect you to never miss a test, but they give you three chances. Because even if you are unfortunate on two you don't fail a third.....

There: I've explained it in a way even you can understand.....It doesn't matter if Armitstead doped or not, she has been incredibly cavalier about something she 'is committed to' and has risked her career on a role of the dice CAS arbitration and you have to ask the question why?

She is responsible for the trashing of her own reputation and she has yet to take responsibility for that. There are athletes that (while having previously failed tests) have not fallen foul of the rules are now banned from the Olympics even though they have 'complied' while little Lizzie, for the reason which appears to be 'I lacked the discipline to be a pro-athlete', gets leniency and allowed to compete. It's hypocritical and makes a mockery of any attempt to clean the sport up.

If you want a clean sport more tolerance is not the key. 

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cqexbesd | 7 years ago
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I know lots of people are saying "it's her job, how could she forget" and so on. However this is something you have to remember every day and as we should all know by now, any system that relies on humans getting it right 100% of the time is fatally flawed. It's like driving - sure you can drive without hitting anything but can you drive and _never_ hit anything? I think the statisitics speak for themselves there.

The point is to engineer people out of the system. Why don't WADA produce an app that allows the athletes to be live tracked during their testing period (only by the official tester of course). Why doesn't the app allow the tester to press a button so make the phone play an alarm at the loudest volume the phone can manage even if the phone is in silent? Why doesn't the app allow the tester to send a message saying e.g. "which room are you in?".

It won't solve 100% of the issues but it might solve a large chunk and its readily doable with todays smart phones. Of course it relies on athletes having smart phones but I'm not suggesting the old system be turned off - if someone still has a "feature" phone, or "lends their phone to a friend" they can still be required to use the existing SMS system.

Then we can all be legitimately cynical about people who forget to update their location.

(PS yes I have suggested such things to WADA but I'm just a random guy on the Internet - perhaps someone more important needs to suggest it)

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kcr replied to cqexbesd | 7 years ago
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cqexbesd wrote:

I know lots of people are saying "it's her job, how could she forget" and so on. However this is something you have to remember every day and as we should all know by now, any system that relies on humans getting it right 100% of the time is fatally flawed. It's like driving - sure you can drive without hitting anything but can you drive and _never_ hit anything? I think the statisitics speak for themselves there.

The point is to engineer people out of the system. Why don't WADA produce an app that allows the athletes to be live tracked during their testing period (only by the official tester of course). Why doesn't the app allow the tester to press a button so make the phone play an alarm at the loudest volume the phone can manage even if the phone is in silent? Why doesn't the app allow the tester to send a message saying e.g. "which room are you in?".

It won't solve 100% of the issues but it might solve a large chunk and its readily doable with todays smart phones. Of course it relies on athletes having smart phones but I'm not suggesting the old system be turned off - if someone still has a "feature" phone, or "lends their phone to a friend" they can still be required to use the existing SMS system.

Then we can all be legitimately cynical about people who forget to update their location.

(PS yes I have suggested such things to WADA but I'm just a random guy on the Internet - perhaps someone more important needs to suggest it)

Just to take a couple of your points:
There is no way you could have live tracking of athletes. Think about the basic privacy issues that would raise.
Sending a phone message to the athlete? As pointed out elsewhere, it appears testers cannot contact athletes by phone because that gives prior warning (despite what the the Mail reported in Armistead's first test)

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Dan S replied to kcr | 7 years ago
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kcr wrote:
cqexbesd wrote:

The point is to engineer people out of the system. Why don't WADA produce an app that allows the athletes to be live tracked during their testing period (only by the official tester of course).

Just to take a couple of your points: There is no way you could have live tracking of athletes. Think about the basic privacy issues that would raise.

Actually you probably could, but only on a voluntary system.  An option, for example, would be to offer athletes a device that allows UKAD to track them within a certain time period (probably longer than the one hour window, since the tester would need to be able to go there).  It's optional, and athletes can opt for the current system instead, accepting that they might accrue failures.  If you're on the tag, however, the tester can access your location (potentially any time?) and so you don't have to do whereabouts information.

It wouldn't get rid of all problems (e.g. the first one here, where it probably couldn't give the room number) but it would deal with a number of them (such as the second and third).

The whole thing would have to be seriously well protected, with audits of who accesses the information, checking against people assigned to carry out the tests and seriously deterrent penalties for abuse.  But it's not impossible.

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cqexbesd replied to kcr | 7 years ago
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kcr wrote:

Just to take a couple of your points: There is no way you could have live tracking of athletes. Think about the basic privacy issues that would raise.

I'm afraid I miss the privacy issues. If the athlete has already agreed to give their precise location to the anti-doping organisation for that hour then the ability to have it transmitted electronically vs manually sending via SMS is irrelevant.

kcr wrote:

Sending a phone message to the athlete? As pointed out elsewhere, it appears testers cannot contact athletes by phone because that gives prior warning (despite what the the Mail reported in Armistead's first test)

This article says:

Quote:

One attempt was made to contact the rider via her mobile phone

So either the article is wrong or the ability to ring an athlete is a useful feature. I don't know which but I guess the anti-doping authorities know so they should feel free to leave that feature out if they wont use it.

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Dan S replied to cqexbesd | 7 years ago
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cqexbesd wrote:

:

kcr wrote:

Sending a phone message to the athlete? As pointed out elsewhere, it appears testers cannot contact athletes by phone because that gives prior warning (despite what the the Mail reported in Armistead's first test)

This article says:

Quote:

One attempt was made to contact the rider via her mobile phone

So either the article is wrong or the ability to ring an athlete is a useful feature. I don't know which but I guess the anti-doping authorities know so they should feel free to leave that feature out if they wont use it.

Or the tester didn't follow the correct procedure. Given that CAS ruled that this shouldn't count as a missed test, we should probably bear that possibility in mind.

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kcr | 7 years ago
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3 strikes is a big deal, and I think there are some important questions to ask about this story, but some people are missing the point. Tests 2 and 3 are pretty straightforward. Armistead was fully responsible for missing them (and she is not disputing that). The system worked and she was caught for the missed tests.

Test 1 is the interesting one. The reported actions of the tester are a bit puzzling, unless they simply weren't doing their job properly. I would also like to know more about the mobile phone. The Mail reports that the tester tried to ring her, but Tom Fordyce, who used ADAM for a BBC story, said that testers can't use mobiles to contact athletes because that would give prior warning; they have to knock on a door. Who is correct?

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