November 24, 2005

More On …

I won't be doing much blogging this weekend. I'll be doing some of that sports volunteering I talk about sometimes. So here's a little dump from my "draft post" pile that should provide some interesting reading, and tie up some loose ends that I've left dangling. I'll warn you up front that most of these stories have to do with doping, but I think that there are a few fresh perspectives on that well-worn topic.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport conducted 1081 drug tests in July, August, and September. About half were exclusively Canadian athletes. Of the 1081 tests, two resulted in doping violations: one for EPO and one for refusing to provide a sample. That's a catch rate of 0.19%, if you're scoring at home (follow up to On Doping Rates and Sample Size.)

The International Herald Tribune reports on what Bode Miller really thinks about doping in sport (follow-up to Getting the Drugs Out of My System):

In an Olympic season that should introduce Miller, the best all-around Alpine skier in the world, to a much broader audience, he has decided to start it all off by becoming the only prominent winter Olympian to be bold or benighted enough to argue for a more laissez-faire approach to doping.

The USOC now has its own official supplier of nutritional supplements (follow-up to Doping and the "Culture of Pills and Powders"). I originally spotted this in the New York Times, but the article seems to have gone away. Here's a quote I grabbed from the NYT piece:

The U.S.O.C. recently reached the agreement with Ajinomoto, a Japanese food company [Amateur: the world's leading manufacturer of Aspartame], to market an amino-acid replacement product called Amino Vital. It is a cautious step into the minefield of the supplement business, one largely unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and the cause of untold numbers of failed drug tests.

Some former East German athletes are now suing the German Olympic Committee for damages related to the GDR's state-run doping program; here's the story from CBS News and The Scotsman (follow-up to Damages). On a related note, here's an in-depth article about the quest to erase East German accomplishments from the German record books (follow-up to Getting the Drugs Out of My System).

The Boston Globe has a story on the recent breakthrough in steroid detection (follow-up to Getting the Drugs Out of My System):

Authorities have long based their efforts to find evidence of doping through chemistry, with labs searching an athlete's blood or urine for chemical compounds known to enhance performance. But designer steroids such as THG -- the substance at the center of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative doping scandal -- are crafted to be invisible because authorities don't know to look for its particular chemical markers.

Speaking of beating the tests, Dick Pound is still insisting that there is no problem with the urinary EPO Test (follow-up to More on Urinary EPO Test). Then again, what else can he say?

"Of course WADA can't back down," said one European sport official, who requested anonymity. "How can they back down on a test they've used to ban people for years? If they come out and say, 'Our test has got flaws,' how many millions are people going to sue for?"

Leaving the topic of doping now, Italy is offering huge cash rewards to athletes who win medals at the upcoming 2006 Olympics — $180,000 for a gold medal. You already know that I think that this is money poorly spent (follow-up to Amateur Athlete Funding Q&A).

And finally, some Scots' dreams of an independent Olympic team died in parliament some time ago (follow-up to Not-So-United Kingdom). Since then, the Scottish governing body for soccer has decided that their organization will not have anything to do with fielding a GBR soccer team in 2012, and Scottish players will not be eligible. I'll be curious to see if any legal action results.

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