The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Anti-Doping News

Marion Jones sentencing:
Six months in a minimum-security prison (which ESPN's legal analyst said was unlikely to be any less than four months of real time), plus two years probation and 800 hours of community service; must report by March 11. ESPN has the video.

The judge did not go easy on her; he was making noise about consecutive sentences for the two charges, but he went with concurrent instead. Still, she got the top end of the recommended sentence. His statements indicated he thought doping was as egregious a violation as the two counts of lying, even though she was not charged for it.

Error: ESPNews reported that she has been "wiped from track's record books". What records did she have? She never held any World, US or collegiate records. She does have some high school records, but I'm not aware that they have been struck.

There are a lot of people who think this kind of thing is bad press for track. Personally, I find it dismaying that ESPNews reneged on their promise to carry the sentencing live, and that O.J. Simpson's latest troubles quickly knocked her off their "Breaking News" graphic. Our scandals can't even compete! I tell ya, track gets no respect, no respect at all...

That gets the headlines, but it's not really that important. The news that is very important is the new Partnership for Clean Competition, a collaborative anti-doping effort between the USADA, USOC, MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and PGA. Baseball and football will pump $6 million into research (i.e., new doping tests) over the next four years--chump change to them, but huge in the anti-doping world. By comparison, WADA has spent $31 million on research in its entire seven-year existence.

Whether or not the pro sports organizations actually adhere to the USADA/WADA code is of little importance to me. More important is what they can do for track. This partnership exists only to fund drug-test development; first up is an HGH test. We all know just how badly this test is needed, but even my eyes were recently opened as to its ease of availability. When a local Toledo bar was searched for evidence in a relatively routine DUI/homicide case, police stumbled upon HGH, syringes, clenbuterol (the drug for which Katrin Krabbe was busted), and "an unknown clear liquid".

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