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Drug Rage: Salt Lake City Olympics 2002
By:  Craig Storey   (2002/02/25)

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Drug Rage
Craig Storey (2002/02/25)

[Latest News], [Cheaters], [Champions], [Facts], [Hemoglobin History], [Rumors], [Opinions], [ACTION - Contact Info: WADA/IOC/FIS/COA], [Tainted Olympic Results], [Feedback], [WADA's Reply]


Latest News

Some added hope things will be resolved
Scott to get new medal?
Up to 100 test at SLC show EPO use
Battle Over Testing
Lahti 6 news
Opinion on latest news about the Finnish scandal
Finnish scandal Muehlegg may lose job
Bjoerndalen weighs in
Canadian's join lawsuit
Watched all winter!
"Aliens told me to!" - BBC
Muehlegg Appeals
IAAF to test for EPO
Jacques Rogge comments from Norway
Muehlegg regrets
Russian's appeal
Norway to challenge IOC, Norway to Muehlegg, Norwegian Stars Add thier support
10-50% may have cheated!
IOC Official Press Release - Lazutina, Danilova, Muehlegg
IOC Official Press Release - Austrian Blood Bags
Blood Transfusion Equipment Botvinov's?, Leading Austrian's sit out Lahti WC
2 More Cheaters Caught
Harsh words from Rogge on Cyclist Axed over Drug Possession
Lazutina and Danilova Fail B Test.

Cheaters

"I don't care about the silver. It is bad news for skiing. I am firmly against doping. Apart from the fact that it is cheating and is a danger to your health, it is very bad publicity for the sport."
- Johann Muehlegg, Spain, after the disqualification of Jari Isometsa for a positive drug test at the 2001 World Championships. Muehlegg's bronze medal was promoted to a silver in the individual pursuit as a result of Isometsa's disqualification. (Info on Muehlegg.)
"It was a shocking experience. That tragedy on Thursday made me more determined to work hard. The rules need to be changed. Unfortunately we cannot change any rules. In that sense, I feel lawless. ... It's hard to get to the people who make decisions."
- Larissa Lazutina, Russia, before testing positive for darbepoetin. (Caught in 1995?)
We are set to come to Salt Lake City with our hands clean.
Nikolai Durmanov, Russian Olympic Commitee official, January 23rd, 2002. (Full Story)
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Richard Pound today asserted that "The Drug (Doping) problem at the Salt Lake Olympics appears vastly improved over previous major world and Olympic competitions. The deterrence of more than 3600 out of competition unannounced tests over the past year with all athletes knowing they were subject to testing, increasingly strong athlete support for a level playing field, testing during the Games themselves, and a new anti-doping culture with strong International Olympic Committee (IOC) support help to explain why there were few athletes found positive and even those were fully exposed."
- Dick Pound, WADA Chairman, February 24th, 2002. (Press Release)

So the Olympics that started in a bribery scandal, were plagued by a judging scandal, have ended in a doping scandal. There is no way that these can be remembered as the fairest or cleanest games ever. Far from it. But my concern is not how the Salt Lake City Olympics will be remembered. My concern is that something be done to clean up sport, especially cross-country skiing. Now that the closing ceremonies are over the media is returning to it's professional sports focus (Apparently today's Globe and Mail has nothing relating to the scandal!) and the IOC/FIS won't face the same pressure the IOC/ISU felt when the figure skating scandal was taking place. What we saw in the case of the ISU was that public outcry produced results. Now it's time for the skiing community to provide the pressure for FIS to make changes. Here's how! Before you do that there are some points worth mentioning. Please read on.

Related Articles: More Cheaters in Salt Lake City??, It's all downhill for cross-country (Eurosport), CBC - Cross Country Wrap: Scandal on skis, Says He Did Not Take Any Drugs, Olympic Bribery Article Archive

Champions

I think we have Beckie Scott to thank for continuing to pressure WADA. We certainly can't thank Dick Pound, WADA Chairman. Before the Games began he claimed that the more than 3500 out-of competition tests proved that cheating isn't rampant. His claim was that only one out of one thousand athletes use performance enhancing drugs. When Beckie continued to publicly press the issue, that WADA needed to do more faster to clean up sport, Pound basically told her to she was ignorant and should shut up unless she can produce proof. Well now there is the proof. Proof that 7 of 12 races at the Olympics were tainted by drug cheats winning medals. Undeniable test results that show a pre-meditated intent to cheat. Now those rude rebukes to Beckie's comments should be replaced with apologies. Besides apologies Pound owes Scott a gold medal! Not to mention the medals owed to several other athletes.

Related Articles: Latest Statement from Pound, Pound's Behaviour Appalling, WADA Pre-Olympic Announcement, Dick Pound's Comments to Beckie, Doping Problem "Vastly Improved" Article on Beckie's perseverance

Facts

Muehlegg, Danilova and Lazutina are cheaters and as such should forfeit all medals from the Olympics. The Russian Olympic organization plans to appeal the decision. I think, just like the Finns at last years World Championships, the entire Russian team should be tested. Their historical skiing dominance cannot be used to prove their innocence. I don't buy the statement that they were 'clean' in the other races and neither should you. Here's why not.

They took a drug similar to EPO, called darbepoetin (Brand Name Aranespš), which is banned under the Prohibited Substance and Methods List (Section E). In the medical documentation for darbepoetin (FDA Report) it states:

Sufficient time should be allowed to determine a patient's responsiveness to a dosage of Aranespš before adjusting the dose. Because of the time required for erythropoiesis and the red cell half-life, an interval of 2 to 6 weeks may occur between the time of a dose adjustment (initiation, increase, decrease, or discontinuation) and a significant change in hemoglobin. In order to prevent the hemoglobin from exceeding the recommended target (12 g/dL) or rising too rapidly (greater than 1.0 g/dL in 2 weeks), the guidelines for dose and frequency of dose adjustments should be followed
Again, just like with Finnish hemo-HES doping scandal, medical professionals had to have been involved. To avoid the side effects mentioned in the FDA report (heart attacks, seizures, etc..) the cheaters needed to slowly build up their hemoglobin levels before the Olympics under medical supervision. This was premeditated cheating, even if the drug wasn't on a banned substance list. The intent to cheat by pharmaceutical means is clear.

Related Aticles: Muehlegg's Contract with Spain, Blood, Pure and Corrupt - Donald M. Christie Jr., MD, FACP, FACSM (www.skifaster.net), A global strategy for prevention and detection of blood doping with erythropoietin and related drugs, Drug poses health risks for cheaters, Cyclists "Blood Doping" leads to Brain Clots, BBC Article on darbepoetin, Anti-Russain Bias, Russian Skiing Dominance (Wintersport article), Russians plan to appeal, Russians Under Pressure, Norwegian Views, WADA Program Plan (PDF), BBC Article on Scandal, Towards Athens, Finnish Coach Investigated

Hemoglobin History

Organized blood tests for hemoglobin values in cross-country started from the world championship in 1989 in Lahti. The tests themselves have been around for decades. Values in 1989 had somewhat of a decrease based on domestic numbers from a limited number of earlier tests (domestic tests taken in some countries). Numbers based on Swedish skiers in 1987 and 1988 were 15.3 for men and 13.8 for women. The same numbers for Finnish skiers were 15.3 and 14.4. The numbers increased around 8 percent when these skiers moved up to and trained at high altitude levels.

Menís numbers:Womenís numbers:
Pre high altitude15.314.4
At high altitude: 16.615.2
Return to sea level: 15.915.1

1989 VALUES:

The Hemoglobin values recorded at the 1989 world championships in Lahti were the lowest values for the next 12 years to come.

 
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