Tuesday, October 1, 2019

V 9 N. 31 Salazar Busted

                                                                                                       October 1, 2109
                                                                                                       Courtenay, BC
Alberto Salazar along with his endocrinologist associate Jeffrey Brown, got busted today for illegal, and I will add unethical use of his Gilbert Chemistry set to enhance performance of athletes who were not named in the action by the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA). Should I have phrased that opening sentence to read   "finally" got busted?  It seems like this has been a train wreck waiting to happen for a long time.  But the well and powerfully placed often have a way of insulating their actions from the general public and escaping reality and the law for a long time until they eventually crash and burn.  Some even choose to openly flaunt their lies.   We could generalize about that regarding national politics in a number of nations these days.  But we are a track blog, not a political blog.  We believers have to understand, but not accept,  that you can cheat your way to stardom and stay at the pinnacle, but eventually  you will fall and fall hard.  Lance Armstrong is a case in point.  Albeit it can be said that Lance did some good with his cancer foundation.  In fact a good friend argues very passionately that she would not be alive today if it were not for Lance Armstrong and the assistance his foundation has provided to her.  What can be said of Alberto and his band of merry men?  Is anyone avoiding that final lap of life thanks to them?

I may be wrong on this but I think the lads were tinkering with testosterone levels in certain athletes.  It was alleged a few years ago that they may have been experimenting on their own family members to find how much testosterone can be added to a person to bring them  to just below the max levels that are permitted to be carried in the human body during athletic competition.  Now is that a reasonable morality?  It seems that many famous scientists in the past experimented on human guinea pigs including themselves and even their unknowing house guests in the quest for knowledge and scientific breakthroughs.  See "A History of Just About Everything" by Bill Bryson.    I would suspect that if Salazar and his associates were doing this, they had to be testing the amounts and delivery methodology in all their athletes, because each person reacts differently to drugs administered to them.  To get it 'right' you have to experiment and dial it in to pass the testing protocols.   If they went over those limits in the 'lab' then they would need to hold back the athlete  from competition and  testing or tell them to avoid at all costs being tested by USADA or WADA agents who are lurking and looking for them for random testing.  Armstrong and other cyclists were known to keep very irregular schedules and multiple residences all over Europe and thus their whereabouts were often unknown when the collectors were trying to find them for a random sample. If you tell the athlete what is the testing schedule, it makes it easier to manipulate their levels pro tem.     We know that Christian Coleman recently  missed some testing but was eventually cleared to compete, but exactly why I haven't understood.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, because if someone of this high a profile was cleared at the last minute, there must have been some valid reason and the authorities took a serious look at the situation.  At least I hope so, because if not, our sport might as well pack it in and go to the next tiddly winks contest.

We've been dealing with this kind of behavior for a long time.  In the 1960's and  70's certain throwers were cheating.  In 1984 a number of American champions were known to be using masking drugs to hide their use of illicit drugs.  It was not secret to the USOC that this was going on.  But if you went back to the turn of the previous century ie. the 19th century, trainers were juicing their athletes quite openly with such drugs as strychnine.  In the 1970s all of us were drinking coffee before long distance races, because we understood that caffeine would liberate free fatty acids into the blood stream as an alternative energy source.  It wasn't illegal, but was it immoral?  Today nutrition is a much bigger part of distance running than it was thirty years ago.   What we were less aware of was caffeine's diuretic effects that could produce early dehydration, and water stations were rare in those days compared to modern times.  So we often ended up hurting a potentially good  performance out of ignorance.  At that time blood doping was also a popular thing to be doing, but was recycling one's own blood to increase the number of red blood cells immoral? It would seem that if something was taken out and put back in, the morality question became rather fuzzy. It eventually was outlawed, and certain Finnish runner(s) were strongly suspected of using this technique, though it was very  hard to prove.    Today one can have the same effect of boosting red blood cells  by injecting erythropoetin, also an illegal practice.  RBC levels are now part of the monitoring protocol and RBC count histories are kept on international class athletes.  If your RBC count varies too much especially around time of competition, you may get a 'red card'.

What does it mean to cheat to win?  You can't make a lot of money in track and field these days compared to other sports.  Not like you can in football or international soccer, basketball, or professional cycling.   So reasons for cheating seem to be mainly to be perceived as a winner, an Olympic Champion, a World Champion, a World Record Holder, so long as you don't get caught.  Maybe a few dollars will come your way with some endorsements if you are pretty or have a nice personality.  I honor and respect the clean athletes, losers and winners, because I know that they know themselves.  Unfortunately I don't know who they are.   Well I guess the cheaters may know themselves as well,  but they are probably in major denial.   Today and in the future, will anyone ever think of Armstrong as a winner?  Life is fleeting, fame is even more fleeting.  I've sometimes advocated that we run two races for each event at a track meet.  One heat, no one will be tested. You can put whatever you want into your system.  The other heat will be for self declared 'clean' athletes.  It might seem like declaring virginity at a whorehouse convention.  But the testing will be heavy on those athletes who declare themselves clean, and a violation would condemn the  cheaters to life in the other lane.

The next question is will the public pay to see a clean race or a juiced race?

Waiting for your comments.
George Brose

Salazar and Brown Busted   clik here for AP Story.

Coe Orders NOP Athletes to Dissociate from Salazar The Guardian Oct. 2, 2019

Suspicion From Former Runners Led to Salazar's Suspension from Eugene Resister Guard Oct 2, 2019  here is listed what at this time appears to be the full story on why the suspension was made.

IOC Calls for Review of ALL Salazar's Athletes The Guardian Oct 3, 2019

Comments from readers:

Very interesting George !  Until around  1970-1980 nothing was really systemically done at international level for disqualification of cheaters  

                                          of Eastern  part of Europe ... Jose Sant

Mr Brose--I hope you are doing  well. I have taken a very hard stance on the use of performance enhancing drugs in all levels of competition in track and field!  If a competitor  is found  to be using  the drugs they (he or she) should be banned for life from the sport. There should be no appeals at all. The USADA does a great job of testing. 
Why you ask about my stance on this subject ?  Because 50 yrs ago jumpers and weight men from the Univ of Kansas  started using steroids and their performances dramatically increased  over a year's time frame.  For me who saw it first hand,  there is no wavering about the penalty of a life time ban from track and field!  
Mike Gregory

I read your article last night and it has been on my mind all day. 
It is a tragedy that people, and organizations, in their single-minded winning-at-all-costs mindset, can get so preoccupied with the need to win, that they lose all perspective of the costs to them associated with the risks they are taking. 
I think it was Julius Caesar who said “All glory is fleeting”, but I don’t know if anyone famous has been quoted saying “All disgrace is everlasting”.
I don’t want to get into what Salazar did, or what the athletes he coached did, or what the ruling bodies did or did not do.  I just think everything to do with it is stained, and I see it as a tragedy, especially for the athletes and coaches that do play by the rules.
I hope you are doing well.
Les Disher

ed. note  Les is 60-64 age group Canadian record holder for the marathon.

Whatcha think bout’ all this ? Were you suspicious all along or just the last few years ?
Gawd, I hate this.

Steve Price

George and friends

Well Alberto S. is not alone. I noted on my Facebook Friends that Wilson Waigwa of Kenya and El Paso, who was a faithful Tiger Shoe and equipment wearer from about 1972-1976 ……...
commented that this is a serious problem in Kenya too; but, difficult for drug testers to make appropriate contact and take action in the remoteness of the Rift Valley.                            (Maybe hide and seek! - Kind of like USA sprinter, Christian Coleman)

I have often wondered whether the Jamaicans are ingesting more than just sweet potatoes.!

Organized Track and Field is just chasing it's tail in many places and with many athletes.
My. Guess is that Alberto Salazar is just that much easier to track and track down than many users.
His persona of arrogance, may make him more desirable to target as well????

John Bork
(What do I know)

One of the problems in Kenya is the state can't afford a testing lab locally.  Then many of the local 'officials' are milking the athletes of their winnings to stay eligible for representing Kenya at the WC and Olympics.  Fortuately these men and women are still able to get out to other competitions and make money, but it in no way implies that they are staying clean.  In fact illegal additives may be more rampant there than elsewhere as it is the only way seen out of poverty for so many of their athletes.  George

Nice job George he is destroying the sport that has already changed enough.  Marc Arce

I hated writing about this issue, especially after posting the obituary of a man like Tom O'Hara last week.  He was such a modest, humble person and a true asset to the sport.    This is 180 degrees the opposite.    George

Well written commentary on the news that broke out on Salazar. I don't like the chemicals used to enhance performance but where is the line, as you wrote about coffee, when athletes drink certain drinks to replenish their electrolytes or take supplements like whey or anabolic recovery drinks/pills?  There's pre-workout and post-workout. I never thought blood doping was cheating. To me it is reusing your body - similar to these recovery or pre-workout enhancements. Your own blood - if you are healthy - is a more natural way to recover or prepare your body for competition than these chemicals that meet the thumbs vote.
I think long gone are the absolute pure athlete. There is so much science, technology, big data and analysis on performance and ways to improve that performance. I can imagine competitions where you have to distinguish humans verse robotics within a human body - something we're closer to achieving than we realize!

Susan A.  

Sure makes you wonder about any athlete associated with the program.  If the coach is rotten how come no athlete has been found  rotten?    Probably because there was some admission or hint of guilt by Salazar or disgruntled former athletes during the arbitator's inquiry or at least a suggestion of having done something that can be associated with an illegal act. .   About two years ago I attended a conference of sports arbitrators and mediators in Vancouver.  There were  speakers from WADA and one of them said in reference to athletes who get caught with too much illegal substances in their bodies, "There are only two types,  cheaters and dumbasses."    George

No real surprise since he has been suspected for some time now.  I think the long arm of Nike has kept him from punishment but evidently that has ended.  Several have quit the NOP, allegedly for unnamed reasons. 
Bill Schnier  

Throws a bad light on everybody who has been near him except Dick Beardsley.  George

Salazar sounds just like Trump in his response. Bruce Kritzler

I understand Rudy Giuliani will take a break from his present client to represent Salazar.  Roy

Very well-played this.  Does this now mean that Al Sal will join the whereabouts protection program?  Paul O.

With the IAAF World Champs meet being contested, the exposure of all this came at such a bad time...
 .with everything draping over the next Olympic Games. We may never see the return of a “clean” environ. 
Someone will always be looking for drugs et al that will aid their performances. It’s been this way for a long 
time I am sorry to say. Tell me more bout’ Jared Ward.  Thanks   

Steve Price
 I definitely hear you about the poor light it shines on the sport.  But he's a cheat and his athletes have been
 going along.  I do believe there are athletes sitting in the wings that have achieved things legitimately 
deserve this.  Most of all, I think it continues to shed light on Nike (which you know how I feel about them) 
and the fact that they are also supporting the "win at all cost" mentality of Alberto and the NOP.  

Maybe I'm too "dreamy" about it all, but when there are guys like Jared Ward facing guys like
                        Galen Rupp and Mo Farrah.......I'd prefer to see the latter guys get nailed.

Ryan King
Jared Ward is a marathoner at this point.  Went to Rio and finished 6th.  Been behind Rupp the last few years after he started running marathons.  Squeaky clean guy.  I've gotten to know him and have been a huge cheerleader of his........because he's fast and competitive, but mostly because he's a fantastic human being.  He's spoke to our XC kids a couple of times and he's simply a great role model.
(Although he did get himself in trouble for running a fun run in a costume when he was at BYU, shameful)

Whether it's Allison Felix as of late, the Gouchers, or many of the other "ex-Nike" athletes, they almost all have a story of how Nike wasn't looking out for the sport.  So as far as I'm concerned, busting them is welcomed.  I just wish the report would have also named some athletes.

When Euliod Kipchoge tries to run a sub 2 hour marathon, Nike doesn't talk about drug testing......they focus on the shoes he's wearing.  Is that supporting the sport, or supporting their marketing interest?  Don't get me wrong, I'm as much of a capitalist as anyone, but Nike has corrupted our sport, bought and paid for the USATF, and encouraged people like Alberto to exist.  

George's question in his blog post was interesting.  "Would people still pay to watch a clean race?"  I think they would, if it's all clean.  There are still phenomenal athletes out there, who work hard and accomplish big things.  But if Castor can't have inflated testosterone levels as a female, then neither should a male athlete, especially if there are rules about it.  

Ryan King

George – a well written article on a very testy subject.  Who else will be dragged into this one?  I fear for our new Canadian Marathon record holder Cam Levins but do not know any details whatever.  Keep the good stuff coming.  Have passed it on to a couple of people.
Best wishes.
Geoff Williams

I think Cam Levins may have left the NOP.   George

Good article, George!   Bill Blewett

And in Alberto Salazar's Defense:

It is hard to believe that Alberto Salazar was busted on doping charges to athletes. He is a Christian. 

When I was on medical leave in the U.S. I was fund raising for shoes and running apparel for my athletes in Sierra Leone, When I called Nike, I was directed to Alberto. Hell of a nice guy. He arranged for me to get some out dated running apparel donated to my runners. 


When it was mentioned that NOP might have been using a cream based testosterone it reminded me of the case of Barry Bonds using a cream as well.  Here's what I found on a quick google search.
See text in red below.
Warning!!! Do not try this at home.

As detailed in Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wasa and Lance Williams

by Mark Zurlo

Winstrol (Stanozolol)
In their book Game of Shadows, Mark Fainaru-Wasa and Lance Williams allege that Barry Bonds used a number of different steroids in his pursuit of the all-time homerun record, ranging from common steroids used by many bodybuilders to designer steroids specially created for Bonds to be undetectable in tests. Bonds was indicted on five felony charges in November 2007. These charges, the result of a four-year federal investigation, include perjury and obstruction of justice. The indictment says the government can prove that blood seized in a 2003 raid of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and tested positive for steroids belonged to Bonds.
Following the 1998 season, Winstrol was the first steroid Bonds allegedly used. It is popular with bodybuilders, but Bonds felt inflexible and had trouble with shoulder tendons while on the drug. It is best known to have been used by disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson.
Also popular with bodybuilders, Bonds reportedly used the drug in injection form. It is often used to treat anemia.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
According to Game of Shadows, Bonds used HGH, an undetectable steroid, as a cocktail with a number of other performance-enhancers. HGH is known to strengthen joints and tissue, and allowed Bonds to maintain muscle without any heavy lifting during the season.

The Cream
A testosterone-based substance reportedly given to Bonds by Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Lab Co-Operative (BALCO).

The Clear (Norbolethone or THG)
Also reportedly supplied by Conte, the Clear was used by many of the world's top Olympic sprinters, including former 100-meter world record-holder Tim Montgomery. The drug was developed for medical reasons during the 1960's but never mass produced because of safety concerns.

Known to increase the effectiveness of using HGH
Also known as "Mexican beans," these steriods take effect and leave the user's body quickly.
Steroid normally used to improve the muscle quality of beef cattle.
Bonds allegedly used this drug, prescribed to women for infertility, to regain the ability to produce natural testosterone. Bonds often ignored his trainer's advice to take time off between cycles to allow this process to occur naturally.
Another way a coach and athlete can get around over or under some of the doping hurdles is 
if they follow some of the following protocol regarding infusion therapy for 'legitimate' illness.
 I am transcribing this advisory note.

                                   International Association of Athletics Federations

                                                        Advisory Note
                                            Infusion Therapy of Athletes
                                         IAAF Medical & Anti-Doping Commission

Intraveous infusions are prohibited in- and out-of-competition.  The 2007 Prohibited
List.  M2.  Chemical and physical manipulation , 2., states:  "Intravenous infusions are
prohibited, except as a legitimate medical treatment."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has established several criteria for defining
"a legitimate medical treatment."  The IAAF Meical and Anti-Doping Commission
supports these criteria, and will apply them for evaluating whether IV treatment is 
medically legitimate or not:

(1) The medical treatment must be necessary to cure an illness or injury of the 
        particular athlete;
(2)  Under the given circumstances, there is no valid alternative treatment available,
         which would not fall under the definitionof doping;
(3)   The medical treatment is not capable of enhancing the athlete's performance;
(4)   The medical treatment is preceded by a medical diagnosis of the athlete;
(5)   The medical treatmentis diligently applied by qualified medical personnel in an
          appropriate medical setting;
(6)    Adequate records of the medical treatment are kept, and are available for

There have been suggestions that at least one of the NOP  athletes was treated for
asthma using potentially performance enhancing medication as way of side stepping the 
intent of this note.  This allegedly went on from teenage years to adulthood.

Number 6 may be where the NOP got nailed.

Let us just hope that athletes who have previously bailed and those who are under advice to
dissociate from Salazar's influence are able to find new coaches, new quarters and get their
heads together to move on.  In four years most will probably be beyond their best years.


Anonymous said...

And nike had no clue?

Unknown said...

I am advocae of banning any US track athlete ( high sch, jr college, universty and olympic level )for life if the USADA finds use of llegal drugs. All US track athlets must be tested annualy and ther test results entered in a Natl data base.

George Brose said...

To: Anonymous
Unfortunately annual testing is not even close to being enough. Much more freequent testing both in and out of season is necessary to keep up with the cheaters.

Geoff Williams said...

Thoughtful comment like that which George is promulgating ( together with those from his colleagues) is a rarity in todays atmosphere of antagonistic tweeting ( no names-no pack drill as we used to say in the RAF)but it is nonetheless welcome. This whole story is one that hurts anyone who has ever put on spikes at any age and any level. Like many of you I was born in an age when we did not think of "enhanced" efforts in sport but now it must colour our thinking whatever the shape and size of the venue. I could watch a Bannister or an Elliott or even an Iron Curtain athlete like Zatopek and marvel at their skill and not worry about what they had been "taking". Maybe I and all the others were naïve but I sure hope not. Now I always worry that even a Canadian hero like De Grasse is not all he may appear to be. We Canadians like to think the best of everyone ( that does not include politicians). I find this spreading to other sports. I have loved watching Rugby Seven a Sides for the past few years. The proponents at the highest kevel are superb athletes-but why should they be "clean". ( maybe not enough betting on the sport or lack of the vast piles of cash dangld before them.) Perry Baker of the US team is one of the most outstanding athletes I have ever seen as is Ghislaine Landry of the Canadian ladies team-but how can I tell what goes on in the dark behind the stadia where they perform their magic? Do we stop watching and just follow our grandchildren ( those that have not been recruited by Barcelona FC at age 10?

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