Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Beijing Positives and Fear and Self Loathing in Adelaide

Not sure what to say about this just yet.

The TDU Director excels himself. Self loathing perhaps. You can hear it here.

Beijing drug cheats still being caught

The World Today - Wednesday, 29 April , 2009 12:44:00

Reporter: Simon Santow

PETER CAVE: The boast last year that the Beijing Olympics was one of the cleanest games in decades is looking a little hollow this lunchtime.

New testing on samples taken during the competition last August has uncovered a further six alleged drug cheats.

And it's being reported that amongst the cheats there is a track and field athlete who won gold as well as a silver medallist from the cycling arena.

The International Olympic Committee has hailed the results as proof that it's getting harder to hide from ever improving drug detection technology.

At the same time sports scientists are warning that athletes and their coaches are constantly searching for new ways of gaining an unfair advantage.

Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: In the world of elite sport, the current illegal drug of choice is a blood booster known as CERA.

And it's CERA, that's been found in the samples of six Beijing Olympians. Samples that were retested by the International Olympic Committee in the first few months of this year.

Sports scientist and anti-doping researcher Robin Parisotto.

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Blood boosting is the practice of introducing blood into, or new blood into the body or actually stimulating the body to make new blood on its own.

SIMON SANTOW: And what advantage does that give an athlete?

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Well, essentially, with more blood you can carry more oxygen and with more oxygen you have suddenly a lot more stamina which is great for endurance events.

SIMON SANTOW: And typically, what sort of sports has blood doping been used in?

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Well, primarily it has been associated with cycling. Pretty well everyone knows track and field, any endurance events like marathon running, biathlons, triathlons, those sort of events.

SIMON SANTOW: Robin Parisotto is heartened that even several months after the Beijing Games finished, cheats are still being uncovered.

ROBIN PARISOTTO: I think it is a fantastic development and it certainly shows a new way of thinking and a new way of tackling the doping problem.

SIMON SANTOW: Olympic officials now keep samples for eight years to allow for advances in testing and to warn athletes that cheating will eventually catch up with them.

While the names of those caught this time are yet to be publicly released, media around the world are reporting they include a cyclist who won silver, and a gold medal winning track and field athlete.

All up 5,000 competitors were tested during the games and since the beginning of the year about a fifth of those frozen samples were re-tested for CERA using technology found to be effective in weeding out cycling drug cheats in recent months.

MIKE TURTUR: It sickens me and it angers me that these athletes try to worm their way out of being detected. I am glad to see that these athletes are being found and there are no other compromise that can be made and these idiots that do cheat, really are the criminals of sport.

SIMON SANTOW: Mike Turtur won a gold medal for Australia in the 1984 Los Angeles Games in the 4,000 metres team pursuit cycling.

These days he's the race director for the cycling race Tour Down Under. He's also the regional representative on the board of the world cycling body, UCI.

MIKE TURTUR: There will be more cheats detected. There is no question because this is human nature that we are talking about and fame and fortune does some unique things to people. They lose perspective of reality and they get consumed with their own thing.

SIMON SANTOW: He says he's still shocked that cyclists who cheat haven't got the message about doping and testing.

MIKE TURTUR: I can't find the words to describe these idiots. I mean the fact of life is that they will be caught sooner or later and the storing of samples is a huge advantage in respect to that. But drug cheats, in my view, are people that have a serious problem.

They are the most selfish people that you can be associated with because they don't care about anything except themselves.

SIMON SANTOW: Sports scientists such as Robin Parisotto believe that cheating will go on because the odds are still stacked in favour of the clever cheat.

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Just in the case of blood doping with the detection of six new positive cases with a new version of EPO called CERA doesn't mean that there is no other drugs out there.

SIMON SANTOW: In the race between the drug detectors and the people prepared to use the drugs, who is winning at the moment?

ROBIN PARISOTTO: Look, I would have to say that the testers are really gaining some ground on the cheats, but this needs to be tempered by the fact that just with blood doping agents, there are at least 80 other agents out there which I am not sure there are tests for at the moment. So there is always going to be a battle.

PETER CAVE: Anti doping researcher and sports scientist, Robin Parisotto ending that report from Simon Santow.

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