October 1, 2109
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.
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:
Whatcha think bout’ all this ? Were you suspicious all along or just the last few years ?
Gawd, I hate this.
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
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.
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
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
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.Tom
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 inby Mark Fainaru-Wasa and Lance Williams
by Mark ZurloAnother 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
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
(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.