Friday, July 04, 2008

Fallout V

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Breitbart reports Olympic gymnast Morgan Hamm has tested positive for triamcinolone acetonide at the US Championships in May, had results nullified, and from USADA received a ... warning? He is apparently still going to Beijing. There are parts of the story that are clearly missing.

SFGate/AP says Hamm is a TUE paperwork infraction. AFP says his Olympic spot is in jeopardy, as does Guardian/Reuters.

NYT/Macur says he worked it out with USADA:

To avoid a doping violation charge, an athlete must prove he did not intend to enhance performance. The penalty for using those substances could be anywhere from a public warning to a two-year suspension. To make his case, Hamm sent his medical records to the United States Anti-Doping Agency and included letters from his doctor and physical therapist.

“There was proof that it was for legitimate medical reasons and he had a doctor’s prescription,” Travis T. Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, said in a telephone interview. “We were more than comfortable with giving just a public warning.”

So Travis can be accommodating, when he chooses to be.

LA Times/Elliot says he should be thrown off the Olympic squad, and responds to suggestions she's being too harsh.

The CyclingNews says that Michael Rasmussen will predictably appeal his two year suspension to the CAS. Good luck with that.

In later CyclingNews Team CSC has published the the results of its internal anti-doping program.

Letters to CyclingNews this week find many in response to the Landis decision published Monday, a few of them found fault with the CAS. Bill Kinkead wrote:

The only thing that can be said about the "Court" of Arbitration for Sport is that any judicial body that has Dick Pound as a member and seriously considered him as a candidate for president is as fair and impartial as the Volksgerichts of the Third Reich.

ESPN/AP says that British sprinter Dwain Chambers is appealing the BOA's lifetime ban.

NYT/Gina Kolata (reg req'd) talks about keeping cool while competing in heat, and has one scientist pouring cold water over the idea of pouring cold water on yourself -- like Landis did on Stage 17. He may not be thinking of doing it constantly.

WADAwatch posts the first of a series of entries analyzing the CAS decision in the Landis case, which is a must read for those who are interested in the legal implications. Ww wonders about the following:

Quoting the Decision's paragraph:

259. There is a clear distinction between administrative deficiencies, bad laboratory practice, procedural error, or other honest inadequacy on the one hand and dishonesty or bad faith on the other. Some of the Appellant's expert witnesses appeared insufficiently aware of this distinction.

Does that strike any other reader similarly? First off, all but the first (“administrative deficiencies”) are outlawed by the WADA CODE. Bad laboratory practice? Check the CODE, and the ISL: not allowed.
Procedural error? Presumably, if meant about labs, these are not acceptable by the CODE or ISL (which refers constantly to the ISO 17025:2005).


And later notes bad precedential implications:

Offering the sporting world a sense that 'anything goes, in our labs: anything is permissible, EXCEPT proven dishonesty or bad faith', is not an impressive tag to graft onto the term “WADA–accredited”. Yet CAS has achieved precisely this.

Emphasis added, and we'd have written it, " except PROVEN dishonesty of bad faith." But the point remains they have left the athlete to prove (to an undefined standard) that the lab has been dishonest rather than simply violated clear rules in The Code -- because there are no clear rules The Code, only guidelines, mateys. Yo Ho!

We'll leave with this:

[P]aragraph 259 insulates WADA–accredited labs from multiple types of errors, and in fact nearly created a new worldwide term: 'Standard Operating Mistakes' (“SOM”?)

And as a public service, WADAwatch translates a current interview with Marshall Saugy, who last year said that 80% of the peloton was on something.

TXT: The juridical aspects of the blood passport equally pose certain questions. Without proof of administration of substances, don't we risk observing more and more such interminable procedures such as that of Floyd Landis?

MS: Effectively, that is one of the key points that will have to be resolved as rapidly as possible. We must find a different route to prove manipulation.

TXT: So, what would this other route consist of?

MS: Certain jurists estimate that instead of penal sanctions, it may be better to apply medical sanctions. As such, on could instead retire racers from a competition if their blood characteristics are suspect. We have to find a just solution, so as to avoid to enter into judicial procedures of incredible length and which put down the credibility of the antidoping fight, as it was in the Landis affair.

We favor "no-starts" for passport irregularities, with no finding of an AAF.

Rant today must be feeling the freedom of book completion with a three-fer, looking at "Lab B's" director Schantzers cry of "foul" on the Danish EPO test study report; A look at Kashechkin's case, with more sympathy than we've yet to muster, though it sadly looks like the same old run-around; And then, there's some race in France starting this weekend.

Racejunkie looks at this year's the Tour de France classifications, and it's not just another banal preview either:

Yes, another year of two-wheeled thrills, disgusting scandals and sighs-o-relief-by-the-unbusted-guilty has gone by, to the certain relief of a good half the peloton, and another 3 weeks of guts, glory, and homologous blood doping is about to begin--it's time for the Grand Boucle!

The CaliRado Cyclist writes about the expectations of a "clean" Tour de France this year.

The New Common Sense
says the Landis team showed beyond the shadow of a doubt the numerous shortcomings of the anti-doping establishment, but it still wasn't enough:

In any other endeavor, showing the worthlessness of the evidence against an individual would tend to exonerate that person. But in the world of the doping police, it is not enough. Landis and his legal team showed beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the wrong software was being used in the LNDD testing machines, that those machines were not properly set-up, that the laboratory technicians had an imperfect working knowledge of procedures, and that documents had been altered destroying any provable chain of evidence. The CAS acknowledged this in issuing their ruling, noting that "less than ideal laboratory practices" were in use. In reality what they were saying is, that while Landis may not have been proved guilty, he certainly wasn't able to prove his innocence. And perhaps the strangest thing that the CAS has done, they have ruled that Landis must pay $100,000 to the USADA for legal expenses. I doubt that is a judgment that is enforceable by law, at least not in the United States, but it can be used as a method to permanently ban Floyd Landis from cycling if he refuses to pay up.

Sprinter Della Casa does an excellent mulling of due process as it ought to be, in a post titles, "Doping - Standards Apply To Everyone". He probably didn't get the memo award that decided standards don't apply to Labs. They're more like guidelines, after all.


Russ said...

Friends and Fellow Americans in particular! Happy Independence day !

I have had a far too busy week and am only starting to catch up with the reading, just finished Larry's piece prior to Judge Hue's.

Perhaps I should have responded there but this is the 4th of July and that makes this the right spot.

I participated, a while back on DPF in an exchange with a French man who responded to my question for a straight up evaluation of Le Equip and eventually learned something that I have wondered for years about the difference between European and American thought patterns.

In the case of sport, the French man, and most other Europeans who chimed in, wanted things to proceed in the untarnished appearance. It seemed preferred to sweep things under the carpet in the interest of letting the party go on. This was, expressly, at the expense of truth and fairness. The contestant was bad for making news, for speaking up, etc.

I think it is up to Americans and only a few Europeans such as Ali and Marc to carry forth with this battle. I hope the above paragraph explains why, I am not so eloquent as most here.

Again, Happy 4th


Eightzero said...

It is still unclear to me if non-payment of the award of $100k to USADA would require refusal by USA Cycling to issue Floyd a racing license. USAC's policy indicates USAC "USA Cycling shall impose any
sanction from the adjudication process when permitted under the USADA protocol and in accordance with the UCI approved sanctions." USAC, being a NGB, this rises to the level of state action, and denial of a valuable property right should be reviewable by a US court (likely CO federal district court) of competent jurisdiction.

I kinda like the sound of Floyd being in a US court. Particularly when there is some real doubt about those ISL violations being in accordance with UCI approved sanctions. Does UCI really agree that violations of ISL is OK?

wschart said...

Won't we have to wait until the ban expires until we see what happens (assuming there is no court action on either side prior to that time)?

Ali said...


Thanks for the OK ... I try my best. The only problem with general inclusions like "Americans", is that you drag tits like Richard Young into the mix.

Or should I say Richard "Darth" Young, for he is the architect of all bad things here. He's got all exits covered, because he designed the maze.

I would explicitly excliude him in your list of good people, because he really isn't good ... he's a bad bastard.

Unknown said...

Like you, I've long thought Richard Young has no idea who his parents are.

Russ said...

Ali and all,

To paraphrase Abe Lincoln
'Let every mother suckle her child on her knee on the love of the law' or something close to that.

There are things in Americans heritage that spawn a desire for truth and justice but alas, it is withering here and there are plenty of weeds on this side of the Atlantic.

I guess I got carried away since it is July 4th (still is here) :-).

Thanks for pointing out about our own 'Darth'.


nahual said...

I think the fourth of July would be a most appropriate day to decide to pin the hides of USADA, WADA, UCI, and CAS to the door of "can do no wrong" and declare freedom from their dictums and self inflating gas bags.

This at the moment is Floyd's fight, but for our time we are all engaged whether we like it or not.

And I too suggest and support an action in U.S. court where due process is the remedy to announce and condemn the capricious and arbitrary conduct of the ADA's, UCI, and CAS.

If Floyd asks for assistance I am ready to answer his call.

I realize I'm summoning the spirit of Martin Luther as well as our Founding Fathers, and I'd argue the sanctimonious decrees from CAS etc. demand a full frontal barrage of outrage,condemnation,rebuttal and an end of the affiliation to Olympic sports regulations for professional cyclists.

Again the question at the moment for me is what does Floyd want to do?

Unknown said...

Of course Tygart worked it out with Hamm. It's the Olympics. There can't be any bad publicity for the Olympics.

Plus, who thinks about gymnasts except every 4 years...

He might lose his paycheck otherwise.

Ali said...


Your point was accurate for most of the good people in America, of which there are many. I've been there and I was more than happy with the way I was treated. I left with a genuine respect for Americans, which I hadn't had before visiting there.

Happy (belated) 4th of July !