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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Anti-Doping News

Most every paper in the country ran a short wirestory on Marion Jones today. Most didn't go much beyond saying this:
Marion Jones used several different performance-enhancing drugs over a substantial period of time, according to a detailed doping calendar that was part of several pages of court documents released Friday.
The San Francisco Chronicle tells us a bit more.
To demonstrate the extent of Jones' use of banned drugs, the government filed a set of doping calendars and ledgers that were seized in a raid on the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in Burlingame in 2003.

An accompanying affidavit by IRS criminal investigator Jeff Novitzky said the documents showed Jones regularly used the undetectable BALCO designer steroid known as "the clear," along with human growth hormone, insulin and the blood-doping drug erythropoietin, or EPO. To ensure that she could beat tough Olympic drug tests, Jones had her blood tested for steroids by a private laboratory, the documents showed.
Most sports fans read this as merely info that Jones was doping, which we all knew already. The Chronicle actually does an unusually good job of journalism by carefully explaining why this info has come out: Jones is being sentenced for perjury, and the documents show that she "engaged in a concentrated, organized, long-term effort to use these substances for her personal gain, a scenario wholly inconsistent with anything other than her denials being calculated lies."

So over at the T&FN message board, attack dog Epelle actually posted the documents referred to above. Those calendars are not news; we knew about them some four years ago. But back then Jones' defenders said they could have been created by anyone who had it in for her. To say that now is ludicrous; federal prosecutors don't take risky items to trial as evidence.

But in the bigger picture, it should be noted that the number of times bold accusations of doping are made and do not ultimately turn out to be true are few and far between. Back in the 1986-88 time period, Carl Lewis made statements about steroid use that in retrospect could only have been directed at Ben Johnson. At the time he took a lot of flack for it, but he turned out to be right and I can't recall anyone apologizing to him about the whole thing. And this is only one example.

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