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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Anti-Doping News

Today's New York Times reports that Trevor Graham is being investigated by the same federal grand jury which will soon indict Barry Bonds. Graham, as you may remember, was Marion Jones' coach during her peak years and was the man who anonymously sent the THG-filled syringe to USADA, and currently coaches co-WR holder Justin Gatlin. Graham did not testify to the BALCO grand jury and so cannot be charged with perjury, but he likely made false statements to federal investigators and could be charged with that and/or obstructing justice.

What did he lie about? A certain Angel Guillermo Heredia, 31, of Mexico and Laredo, Tex., maintains he supplied Graham and many of his athletes with steroids, HGH and EPO. Graham told the feds he'd never met the guy. Heredia says he has photographic evidence to the contrary.

Here we have a little more circumstantial evidence against Marion Jones. There are still a few pollyannas out there who argue it's all about nothing, but the noose gets ever tighter. From a teacher's perspective, there ARE people who seem to always find themselves surrounded by troublemakers even if they themselves are not, but those people are universally dumb. Of all the criticisms leveled at Jones, stupidity has never been one of them.

On a related note, today's stage in the Tour de France was a thriller. I've been cheering for Floyd Landis because he rides for the team who makes my hearing aids. Yesterday he totally bombed and fell from the lead to 11th, more than 10 minutes off the lead and seemingly totally out of contention for the podium, never mind the overall win. Today he attacked early and climbed back into third, only 30 seconds off the lead.

How does this have anything to do with doping? Easy. The Tour lost all of last year's top five riders either to retirement or Operation Puerto, and only one rider in this tour has ever finished on the podium in Paris. Yet it is the most exciting in years. While the race lost most of its stars, the sport itself is just as interesting as it ever was. Being tough on doping has cost them nothing.

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