The IAAF Gambit

by Rant on August 21, 2007 · 15 comments

in Doping in Sports

ESPN reported yesterday that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will lobby to increase the minimum suspension for a doping violation from two to four years when the World Anti-Doping Agency meets to consider changes to World Anti-Doping Code later this year. It’s an idea that may well be doomed to failure, but the IAAF is going to pursue it anyway.

Ever since the IAAF lowered the minimum penalty for a doping infraction from four years to two a number of years ago (before the advent of WADA), people within the organization has lobbied to raise the penalty back up. They’re still advocating harsher penalties. But it seems to me that implementing harsher penalties is much like a father who beats his child for misbehaving, and then when the child misbehaves again, he beats the kid twice as hard. It’s not going to work.

And in the past, it hasn’t worked. Consider: Back when Ben Johnson started using steroids in 1981 or so, the penalty that the IAAF imposed on those caught cheating was a four-year suspension. Did it stop Johnson from doping? Or any other athletes? No. It didn’t. Given the notoriety of Johnson’s case in 1988, using the IAAF’s current logic one could argue that four years was too little. Perhaps the penalty should have been eight years. Or ten? Or a lifetime ban?

Can anyone honestly say that any of these penalties is more effective at stopping doping than the current penalties? I don’t think so. And here’s why: For all but the most exceptional athletes, a two-year ban is pretty much the end of their athletic career. Unless you get caught doping at a very young age.

Why? Because for most athletes, the most effective way to stay in shape for competition is to compete. Take away two years of competition, especially in one of the endurance sports, and you’re taking away a huge amount of high intensity competition (training, if you will) that will take a long time, if ever, to bounce back from. Yes, there are a few athletes at the top of their sports who might be able to sit out two seasons and still come back in top form, or pretty close to it.

(Floyd Landis, who is currently sitting out a de facto suspension of indefinite length is one of the few who could come back to compete at such a level. Witness his result at the Leadville 100, if you don’t believe me.)

But for the vast majority of athletes, a two-year suspension is the end of the road. So if a penalty that’s already enough to kill an athletic career can’t stop people doping, how likely is it that a penalty twice as long, or four times as long, or however long you want to make it is going to accomplish something that seems so elusive: the end of doping in sports.

There are other problems in the current anti-doping system that need to be ironed out before anyone seriously considers raising the minimum suspension. First is that the adjudication system needs to be made more rational. An inflexible system does not have the tools to deal with complex situations. And most doping cases are complex.

In rare instances, a reasonable result occurs. Or, at least, a semi-reasonable result occurs. When Alain Baxter tested positive for methylamphetamine at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, the ultimate ban that he received was reduced from the mandatory two years. His suspension, I believe, was six months. Still a lot of time off considering the nature of the offense, but nothing like a two year ban. And, given the timing of his suspension, he was able to return to competition the following season.

He still had his bronze medal taken away, and the penalty was still pretty severe, but it could have been worse. Many arbitration panels would have thrown their hands in the air and said, “We think the system stinks, but our hands are tied. We have to give you a two-year ban. Sorry, old chap.”

Even if the adjudication system is fixed there’s another part of the system that needs attention. The labs and the tests. This is not to cast aspersions on all of the labs, or even all of the testing procedures. But right now, eight years after WADA first came onto the scene, one of their primary goals — the harmonization of drug testing protocols, procedures and standards — has not yet been achieved.

It would seem fairly simple. For all the tests that exist, there should be an approved method, with standards for interpretation of data that ensures the same data would lead to the same conclusion no matter who was processing the test. And beyond how the data is interpreted, there’s the matter of test accuracy. How accurate should tests be?

Every year, WADA labs the world over process several hundred thousand tests. How accurate should they be? If the current tests were uniformly only 90% accurate, that means the wrong results would number in the tens of thousands. If they were 95% accurate, the number of wrong results could be of the order of 15,000. And if they were 99% accurate, there would still be several thousand wrong results. Would you want to be one of those wrong results? Only if you were doping and they didn’t catch you.

But what if you weren’t doping and the tests said you were? I doubt you’d want to be lumped in to the wrong results category then. Especially if, as a professional athlete, your livelihood depended on it.

There’s a lot to be fixed in the anti-doping system right now, even before we get to the debate over how long a minimum penalty should be. But if four-year bans didn’t work to prevent doping in the past (and one merely needs to spend some time researching the history of doping to find out that harsh penalties did not work way back when), then why should we believe it’s going to work now?

But by putting forth the proposal that the minimum suspension should be raised to four years, the IAAF can claim that at least they’re trying to do something. It all looks like window dressing to me, while no one is really thinking seriously about how to combat doping, or even whether it should be combated at all.

Prohibition didn’t kill booze. It only made drinking more appealing. And in the end, the only thing it did do was hand organized crime a way to increase their business and their influence. Prohibiting the use of performance-enhancing drugs hasn’t stopped doping, either.

Whatever the solution to the doping problem is, the IAAF’s proposal deserves to be defeated, if only because it fails to address the real problem and offer a real solution. Whatever the solution is, going back to solutions that didn’t work in the past is no way to solve anything in the present.

On an entirely different note …

Folk/rock musician Dan Bern has a new song on his MySpace page called Bike. It’s a paen to a younger age when the world seemed bigger and life was more carefree and the possibilities of where your bike could take you were endless. Catchy little number. A good antidote for when all the doping scandals and the interminable wait for the Landis decision gets you down.

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Morgan Hunter August 21, 2007 at 11:35 pm

That is beautiful put, Rant.

I agree with all your points and observations. It seems to me that the problem lies with how people think about rules.

Like law – Rules cannot make people not cheat, or not break the law. We are going to have to make an effort to get past the idea that law and rules have this in mind. It is the general populations’ belief that this is the aim of law and rules. While it is “nice” to wish for – it is not realistic.

Why do we feel uncomfortable with the fact that there will be cheaters? I think it is because, as you so clearly point out Rant, people think that the law and rules will stop cheating.

Let us try to understand that this is a naive expectation. If one accepts that cheating occurs, the only thing that is important is that we have a way that is fair and just in catching and excluding the “cheater”.

You are absolutely right – the testing must be held to the highest standards that present knowledge can provide. That it isn’t – is an indication that there are those who do not want it to be effective.

Okay – I can also accept this. I don’t have to like it. My not liking it motivates me to do something about it. This is one thing I can do, I write to this blog to seek out people who can do more then just rant.

Mr Circuit Court Judge – your honor – if you have a moment – could you give us your thoughts? I am not a specialist in jurisprudence – you are – have you any suggestion on a legal approach to addressing the present problem?

Larry – you are a lawyer – you must know about legal ways to approach this – I would like to know your thoughts, please?

What ways do we have to legally get our voices heard so we may react democratically to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) new efforts?

OR do we need to react? What does our reaction gain for our cause? Or is it a distraction from doing something else that would get us closer to changing the present situation?

Rant – it seems to me that the more work you get piled under the better your stuff is…it is and I am just trying to give you support with feeling overloaded. Hang in there. Its got to end sometime…really…
(°L°)
9:14 am — Austria where they have no kangaroos.

William Schart August 22, 2007 at 11:48 am

Rant:

I have many of the same thoughts as you. Severe punishments have a rather spotted history of stopping the violations they are intended to stop. It is naive to think that a longer ban will stop doping, at least in and of itself. Right now, in cycling at least, there is the impression espoused by many that a large percentage of pro cyclists dope and hence many are getting away with it and the only way one can hope to compete is to dope. So Lance and Floyd are presumed to have doped since they won.

Now, now one really knows just how many in the peleton dope; not the riders past and present, not the team officials, not the UCI or WADA or ASO. Unless you see another rider actually take a banned substance, you don’t know for sure. A rider might make some cryptic remark you interpret as a sign he dopes, but maybe not. A rider might even try to fool you he is doping, trying to psych you out.

Now lets play out some scenarios. 1. Suppose that the small percentage of riders caught this year is indicative of the extent of the problem. But if a rider thinks everybody else is doing it and the only way he can keep up is to dope himself, he will be awfully tempted to dope, whatever the penalty. Not being competitive is itself often a career ender. But if that rider is confident that most doping riders will get caught, and that most riders are clean, there is much less pressure on him to dope. 2. Suppose that 170 of the 180 some odd riders who started this year are doping. For the most part, they are getting away with it. Odds are in your favor to dope, especially for most of the pack, who will not either win a stage or hold the Yellow Jersey, and so avoid most of the testing. If I can have a 3 or 4 year career, make and save some money, a long or even life ban may be worth it.

So I think more testing has to be done, not just the stage winner, GC leader and one or two random riders. At least make everybody give a sample and not indicate who is going to be tested. Use a screening test which is known to give few, if any, false negatives, and implement procedures such that a rider who suffers a false positive has a fighting chance of countering it. Have the B sample tested at a different lab, and have a C sample that the rider can have tested where he wants and can use the results in a defense. Allow riders to challenge the science of the testing, of course by using qualified experts. This will have the added benefit of improving testing procedures as qualified scientists point out flaws in current procedures.

I am not sure what we can do about this. I am sure that the IAAF as well as the UCI consider that their constituents are the various national federations, not the individual athletes. Since the last racing license I held was issued by the ABL of A, I don’t even know what, if any, rights an individual rider has regarding changing the rules. A lot of people bitching to the authorities involved may or may not have any effect, especially if we have no vote.

just bitch slap me please August 22, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Rant, you are right on. The thing is athletes are not the scientists that think these things up, they are just the consumers. They get told by a trainer or manager or whomever that Dr. X has the real good juice and there is no way they will get caught. It doesn’t matter if the penalty is 2 or 4 years, they still think they WON’T get caught, and that is all that matters.
If your REALLY wanted to get their attention, then enforce a lifetime ban on the first documented infraction. But then it just gets back to the real bug-a-boo, how reliable are the tests and the testers? Do you want to execute someone ’cause the French don’t know how to run a lab?
It seems to me 2 years is plenty fine, and spend all of that extra energy on developing redundant testing pathways such that a person has to be found guilty by two different labs, both of which show appropriate chain of custody of the materials. All of these labs should be double checked all the time with known controls (both normal and spiked) so that we know they all work on the same level. Today, we do not know that.
When the hell is the Landis decision coming???

Morgan Hunter August 22, 2007 at 2:00 pm

I don’t know if any of you had run into this little blurb – I believe that perhaps this may just have something to do with Floyds slow Arbs process…Jbsmp.

Charles Pelkeyeditor, VeloNews.comFiled: August 22, 2007

McQuaid said that the UCI called for an independent audit of the sport following the testosterone positive of 2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis. That audit, McQuaid noted, will be finished in five to six months.

McQuaid said he intends to take the resulting report seriously.

“If he recommends a reduction of the number of race days in the grand tours or an increase in the number of rest days, or fewer mountain stages, it should be considered,” he said. “I can already predict, though, that the organizers won’t like it and we’ll encounter another controversy.”

Perhaps William the riders have no actual rights – As you have pointed out – the UCI was formed for the various national federations – most likely because the federations were having “trust” problems back in 1900 – our sport has indeed a very “colorful history” as far as who wins and who loses..

By forming their own union, the riders could do what the UCi tried to pull on the Tour – No riders show up to race…you have no race – the federations/ organizers would have no choice but to give in to the riders demands – after all – without the riders there can be no racing…

just bitch slap me please August 22, 2007 at 2:31 pm

Hey, wait a minute:
**
“”Iban Mayo’s B sample from the Tour de France, where he tested non-negative for EPO, was opened yesterday in the University of Gent, Belgium in the presence of a specialist, at the Saunier Duval rider’s request. It will take the laboratory three days before the result is known, with an announcement expected by Friday.””
**
How come Floyd couldn’t have his B samples tested by someone other than LNDD?? Why is Mayo special? Another case of anti-American bias from the Euro’s!!

Larry August 22, 2007 at 5:02 pm

2 years versus 4 years? Rant, if you’re right that a 2-year penalty will effectively end the career of the sanctioned athlete, then it doesn’t matter whether you increase the penalty to 4 years. It’s a little like convicting a criminal to serve consecutive life sentences — if you increase the maximum penalty from 5 consecutive life sentences to 10 consecutive life sentences, then (putting aside considerations of possible parole), you haven’t effectively increased the penalty.

There are a number of considerations that go into setting a fair penalty, and deterrence is just one of them. However, I disagree with those who say that anti-doping penalties cannot be an effective deterrent. I think that doping is a decision made by the cyclist, based on his own calculation of what’s in his best interests. (I mean, this is not a crime of passion!) If doping will prolong a career, or allow a cyclist to ride on a higher level, that’s a significant benefit to be weighed against the risk of being caught and the penalty imposed if you’re caught. It’s a pretty classic “is it worth it?” kind of decision, the kind we make every day when we engage in risky behavior. Naturally, we don’t always correctly weigh the risk against the reward (if we did, there’d be no drunk drivers), but even if our calculations are often wrong, we nevertheless make the effort to make the calculation. Increase the perceived risk, and you WILL affect the behavior involved.

As Rant points out, however, increasing the penalty from a 2-year suspension to a 4-year suspension may not increase the perceived risk. So, if we’re going to try to affect the way cyclists think about doping, we probably need to consider a different approach. One approach is the one taken (I think) by UCI, where a cyclist loses a year’s pay if he’s caught doping. Another approach is criminal sanctions. I think the sight of having one of the cyclists at the Tour taken away by French police was pretty impressive.

Of course, a big part of the risk-reward calculation is not just the penalty for being caught, but the risk of being caught in the first place. If there’s only a small chance of getting caught, then a lot of cyclists may cheat, regardless of the penalty. Conversely, if getting caught was a near certainty, you probably would not need much of a penalty to deter doping. So … it should be obvious that the effort to catch more dopers would probably have a much greater deterrent effect than the threat of a large penalty if caught.

Please note, I’m only talking here about the deterrent nature of the penalties for doping. As I’ve stated previously, given the considerable risk that the doping police will screw up their tests and accuse the wrong people of doping, I don’t want to see any increase in penalties. This is my own risk-reward calculation: the risk of severely punishing innocent athletes is not, in my estimation, worth whatever benefit we’d realize from an increased doping penalty.

Rant August 23, 2007 at 4:51 am

jbsmp,

Sorry about your comment getting stuck in moderation. Happens sometimes, and I don’t know why. Just a guess on the Mayo test. Perhaps certain organizations are beginning to vote with their feet and move away from a certain lab. Or perhaps the Landis case has had an effect, causing the system to beome a little more … for lack of a better term … scientific. Just a guess.

Larry,

The risk-reward discussion you wrote up is interesting. Every time I line up for a race (not often, but used to be) I’m taking a risk. Every time I carve a corner at 30 m.p.h. in a pack of other racers, I’m taking a risk. Every time I step out the door to go for a ride, I’m taking a risk.

Cyclists take risks every day. And the further up in the racing food chain you get, the bigger the risks you have to be willing to take. So engaging in risky behavior like doping isn’t as far a stretch, given that racing — especially at the elite levels — is a very risky game to begin with.

Like you said, if there’s a high certainty of getting caught if you dope (and good enough testing that there are only extremely rare false “catches”), then that changes the whole risk-reward calculation on doping.

Morgan,

Interesting about McQuaid’s audit. I hear that he may even be willing to negotiate the structure of the ProTour. Now, if only the Tour organizers can show a bit of movement on their side, perhaps something good can happen.

– Rant

Morgan Hunter August 23, 2007 at 6:17 am

I have no idea why some one in his position would want to make this statement about something that “he hopes to present to a client”: — “I can already predict, though, that the organizers won’t like it and we’ll encounter another controversy.” – This is like waving a flag in front of a bull when your on his side of the fence…

It is very likely because of Floyds’ very public hearing that Mayos’ people did go to another lab – should be interesting to see the “reaction” from the powers that be – you do realize of course that they are within there rights to completely ignore the results of the other lab – because it is not a sanctioned lab – I’m just assuming this – because as I know – ONLY approved labs can test for the races – and no approved lab would “step out of line to check on another approved lab…

(°L°)

Larry August 23, 2007 at 7:00 am

Rant, that’s a very good point about cyclists being risk-takers by nature. Does that mean that we’d have to amp up the penalty to get their attention? Maybe not. Yes, there are the risks attendant to travelling downhill at car-like speeds, on a wisp of a machine and wearing nothing more protective than lycra. You’re risking injury and even death … but that’s part of what makes the cyclist a special human being. Contrast being caught as a doper, where the risk is disgrace and the loss of your career. That’s another kind of risk altogether. I’m not a cyclist … but perhaps cyclists are no more willing to risk disgrace and suspension than would be the average person.

jbsmp, Mayo’s “B” test is taking place outside of France because, by the time Mayo requested the “B” test, the French lab was closed for vacation. If you’ve ever been in France in August, half the country is on vacation. They take it very seriously. Rant, you’re right that some organizations are beginning to vote with their feet — the French Open (tennis) elected to have their drug testing done in Montreal.

Morgan, as a lawyer I OFTEN use the ruse “you probably won’t like this” before presenting a proposal in negotiation, particularly if I’m dealing with someone who seems to be inclined to disagree with me no matter what. If you say to someone who is contrary by nature, “you probably won’t like this idea, but what if we try X?”, then you’re presenting the contrary person with TWO statements, and he can only disagree with one of them. Moreover, you’ll often find that the contrary person is VERY reluctant to agree with anything you say about him! So if you can give the contrary person a choice where he must either (a) agree with your characterization of him, or (b) agree to your proposal, he’ll often choose (b). This strategy sounds crazy, I know, but damn if it doesn’t work way more often than it should!

Morgan Hunter August 23, 2007 at 8:12 am

I am not unfamiliar with the technique Larry – remember – I’m married….(°L°)….my reaction to McQ statement is that it is tossed out to a newspaper – it just isn’t smart – especially if he is trying to bring about changes…More then likely Larry, when you use the term – you are doing so on a one to one basis, no? I am certain that you also know the “nodding in positive” trick – before you even start to make any statement…by the way – closet space still adequet, I hope?

One other thing – I personally do not think that the Tour is too long, too tough, too anything, really…yes – it is not for the average person – but then pro riders anre not the average people, you know – a small millennium ago when I was in shape, my heart rate would cruise at 3o – I would have to go and tell the meds when I had a “normal check up” that I was actually not dead…

there is also one other danger in using and accepting that premise that there is a quality in the race itself that is “causing” people to dope/cheat –

Among other things, people dope because they think they will better or they need a little extra that their training is not getting them to. I have not often heard it stated – but you can dope all you want – and still not be a world class rider if you don’t do the training. I am always amazed by the presentation of the whole doping situation as if – when you dope – you get the “right” combination and man, you are superman….(°L°)…you do realize this does not happen, right?

As far as my concern about doping goes – IT IS DANGEROUS – life changing , and it can destroy you. The most racers I’ve run into – not that many really , but the ones I did, were just guys who loved riding, they got to be pro’s because they had put in a LOT of MILES – because they liked it – they wanted to be even better….

One thing seldom ever mentioned Larry, is that training, which is what most riders do – tends to be pretty all consuming – seldom do you see some guy training and reading a book on biochemistry, nuclear medicine, or how to raise chickens or for that matter, “How to be a Good Doper and Never get Caught!” – you just don’t. Many of the riders are really okay guys and girls – but due to what they do – they are living “sheltered lives”.

There is a continuous tendency in people to vilianize the riders. These guys are not some bunch of Brooklyn heavies hanging around…most are so involved in the racing – they have no other life…yeah – maybe they get really jazzed by making some real bucks the first time in their whole life..and all they have to do is pedal their butts around on some slick machine…

I guess though it makes people feel better to think they have the riders sort of figured out – but I personally think it a mistake.

William Schart August 23, 2007 at 9:00 am

There are two elements in assessing risk: how likely is the thing is question to occur, and what will happen if it does (in comparison to what would happen if it doesn’t). When you do the speed limit plus five on the interstate, you do so in part because you figure the risk of actually being pulled over by a cop is low, even though the potential penalty (fine, points on your DL) can be relatively severe. Would you still do it if the penalty was a 2 year loss of DL? Perhaps, at least in some cases. You might have to factor in how often do you see a cop on the interstate, and how likely they are to grant you that 5 extra. During the time of the double nickel at least one state more or less said they weren’t going to ticket anyone exceeding the 55 limit by a certain amount, can’t remember if it was 5 or 10 or whatever.

So a rider doing benefit/risk analysis of doping has to consider how likely he is to get caught, the penalty if he is caught, and what will be the downside if he doesn’t dope. If he’s young and strong, he just might figure he has what it takes to win clean and what to prove it. Doesn’t want to confuse the issue by using “outside help”, sort of like when Ulrich waited for Armstrong when he tangled up with a spectator and fell. Jan could have been thinking “if I attack now, maybe I can get enough advantage to win, but I want to win because I am the better rider, not just because I took advantage of a temporary misfortune that struck my competitor”. But maybe if he is not so strong, looking at the possibility of losing his place on the team, or maybe getting caught by the time limit in the Tour, you might look to a little extra help to get over the hump. Or maybe your Jan and after 7 years of bumping heads with Lance, you figure your last best chance is in 2006 and just maybe you’d better visit that doc down in Spain or you’ll never have another chance of wearing Yellow in Paris.

The way I see it, for many riders the chance of getting caught is so small that whatever the penalty, there is little deterrent from the penalty. Look at the testing scheme in the Tour: The stage winner, the GC leader (BTW, anyone knows what happens when the stage winner is also the GC leader) and one of 2 random riders. Most of the peleton will never win a stage or be in yellow, so the only way they get tested is if they are unlucky enough to be one of the random riders. With 180 some odd riders, not much chance. So why not dope, you can probably go for several years before you might get caught. I suspect that the average career is not that long anyway, so if you can extend that for a year or 2 before getting tossed, your ahead of the game anyway. Maybe the idea of paying a year or 2 salary back in fines will help, but then it didn’t stop those 4 riders this year.

Then there is the whole question of whether or not people act rationally. I sometimes wonder, people seem to do some very dumb things. One wonders why those 4 riders doped when there was such an big deal about stopping doping, what with that oath and all.

Morgan Hunter August 23, 2007 at 10:02 am

William, is there no difference between doing 60 in a 2,000 pound vehicle and convincing yourself that you “may get away with it”? Compared to a rider gambling because as you say – he may be past his prime or he was just not good enough to be top -without juice?

Just in case you assume I am thinking of riders as “Just some innocent, inexperienced boys” – you read me wrong. I am not for doping – as far as dissecting the psychological motivational drives behind someones – “doping” – I believe that may be done on a broad general basis – but not with absolute assurances that such assumptions are real and applicable to each individual. Therefore I would hesitate to discuss it as if I was discussing hard facts.

William, I respect your representation and the hard logical way you are able to dissect it and present it – your logic is ineffable. But at the same time – having worked in Montana as a guard in a youth prison – I beleive that the law sometimes is applied, as Rant points out – beat the kid and beat him 3x as hard if he does it again.

As to why those 4 riders doped – Perhaps for all the reasons you said , or they believed that some kind of fix was in, or – or – or…from this point outside – it seems absolutely idiotic….maybe they were just idiots?

Morgan Hunter August 23, 2007 at 1:32 pm

William, there is one thing that I would like to add – I did not say this in my response to you – because I did not wish to give the impression of starting an attack on you.

As the situation is today in cycling – I cannot in all honesty say I “believe” every doping report being put out. Sadly the state of affairs has left me with more then a mere bit suspicious and miss trustful of all the testing results. As any judge would instruct me if I was sitting in a jury – if I have reasonable doubt, then I must “vote” in this manner – if I was sitting in a jury and someone asked what my sum thoughts were about the labs, the organizers, the UCI, WADA…I would have to in all honesty say I have great doubts, and given what facts are presented – there is no way to make a decision – other then what would be considered partisan and biased.

So – I feel that your asking about those 4 riders – should be responded to – I say, I cannot – I cannot possibly say I could in all honesty say that they did or did not dope – If what I understand about the Landis case – and what I have learned during it, reading transcripts and contemplating it – I cannot say I would trust any lab at the moment – especially one that is supposedly “sanctioned” by WADA.

I do not like this state of affairs anymore then you, I am certain – but it seems to be the way it is. Ultimately I would rather let a doper get away – then to completely ruin an innocent persons life, work ability and means of livelihood.

William Schart August 23, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Morgan:

In no way do I feel you are attacking me, we are just expressing different opinions on different things. The whole point I am trying to make is that the idea that we can solve problems by just ratcheting up the penalty enough is overly simplistic: it’s not just a case of “can I do the time if I’m caught for the crime?”

I also agree with you that issues raised during the Landis hearings cast much doubt on at least the LNDD, and perhaps others as well. At least the spectre is raised that other labs might also have problems. Plus we don’t really know for sure that the scientific basis for the test themselves is all that good, and this cannot be challenged by an athlete. I have read that the test used to screen Landis’ A sample was not designed for that purpose. How do we know it actually does what WADA claims it does, in a reliable way?

One philosophical basis of the US criminal justice system is the idea that it is better that 10 guilty people go free than one innocent person be penalized. I fear that the WADA has turned this around, that it is better that 10 innocent athletes be victimized than one guilty doper go free. Now, I wonder how that plays into a risk assessment, if I just may get burned even if clean, why not ride dirty and at least get the benefits of what you just might do down for anyway?

Morgan Hunter August 24, 2007 at 12:18 am

As alway William – it is a pleasure to read your thoughts.

Laundry airing is not a pretty business is it. You are right William – I also feel that the WADA has turned this around – it makes me so riled that I have difficulty in speaking in a civilized manner – you know what really bugs me too – HOW ON EARTH did this happen? How? – It cannot be that ALL of WADA is populated my Nazis – I use the term in the generic sense of course. It boggles my mind.

I am left with no way to really decide anything, every pronouncement seems to destroy someones life and the accusers seem to have no fear of recourse, every action seems heavily motivated by personal or political power gains…it feels like we have traveled back in time and the inquisition and the Salem Witch trials are the law…

You are also on point re the situation leading riders to the thinking that “well- if I’m accused I may as well” – it is monstrous. And it makes me more determined then ever to do something about it. As much or as little I can.

I am very glad that we understand each other and I look forward to more discussions with you – as ever they are exhilarating.

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