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Category: Triathlon

Let’s Talk about DOPE

The triathlon world and Lance Armstrong supporters are abuzz with the news that the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) has just decided to open an investigation into Lance Armstrong and the possibility that he used performancing enhancing drugs during his professional cycling career and his Tour de France victories.

As a recent law school graduate and recently licensed attorney (Florida), I would like to clear up some misconceptions with the legal implications and subsequent ban from competition in Ironman races. (Actually this Slowtwitch article does a great job of explaining the “ban from triathlon” but I will get to that later. If you are only concerned about his ban from Ironman races, just read this Slowtwitch article.)

So here it goes……

In February of 2012, federal prosecutors closed a two year probe into alleged doping by Lance Armstrong. The probe was instituted by the United States Attorney’s Office to determine whether to bring formal criminal charges against Lance for the alleged doping. There are numerous parties that have alleged Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs during his time as a professional cyclist. Former teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton have come out with the most notable allegations as of late. There are many other allegations and potential connections to doping that I do not have the time to dig up. Sorry.

So, even though the US Attorney’s Office has not decided to bring criminal charges, the USADA has apparently been interested with evidence that has been dug up in the process. The USADA has no power to prosecute Lance criminally. However, the USADA apparently has the power to investigate to determine whether Lance used perfomance enhancing drugs as a profesional athlete. I am sure there is some Federal Statute that created USADA and then bestowed it with some actual power to see that professional athletes do not use performance enhancing drugs in professional competition. Once again, I apologize that I do not have the time to dig that up either. Eventually the USADA charges will be presented to a three member panel of arbitrators that will hear evidence from USADA and Lance in order to make a determination whether he used performance enhancing drugs.

The resulting “ban from triathlon” is non-existent. World Triahtlon Corporation, the company that puts on Ironman races, claims it is required by its rules regarding professional triathletes to ban Armstrong from competing in its races due to the open investigation by the USADA. WTC has stated:

Our rules, as stated in the WTC Professional Athlete Agreement and Waiver, dictate an athlete is ineligible to compete during an open investigation. Armstrong is therefore suspended from competing in WTC-owned and licensed races pending further review

Just what that means is unclear. WTC may have the potential to review his case before Ironman France on June 24, which Lance was expected to compete in. And for the last time, I apologize that I do not have the time to dig up and read the WTC Athlete Agreement. If Lance was paying me for that…it would be a different story altogether. Moreover, Lance can still compete in triathlon but I seriously doubt an athlete of his caliber actually cares to compete in triathlons without the prospect of qualifying for and racing in the legendary Ironman World Championship in Kona.

With that being said, I also seriously doubt WTC actually wanted to institute Lance’s ban from Ironman races considering all the interest from TV networks and sponsors that Lance was creating. This rather expected phenomenon has been dubbed the “Lance factor”.  His participation was only doing great things for the sport of triathlon.

Now turning to the man we have all been talking about. Lance has responded to the recent charges from USADA stating (among other things),

I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an  endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than  500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental  distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about  USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or  innocence.

What do you all think of the recent charges by the USADA? Do you think he was using performance enhancing drugs? Are you tired of hearing about this?

And for the million dollar question: Would your opinion of Lance change if it is determined by an arbitration panel that he did use performance enhancing drugs even though there has never been a positive drug test?

Macca is Back

Some of you are wondering where Chris Macca McCormack even went? Well, he did not actually go anywhere but we haven’t heard too much from him in his year-long bid to make the Australian Olympic triathlon squad. However, Triathlon Australia (TA) recently announced the triathlon  team and Macca was left off the list. TA decided to go with Brad Kahlefeldt, Courtney Atkinson and Brendan Sexton instead. He was offered a reserve spot but declined the offer.

What did Macca have to say about the bad news?

This weekend, Macca will return to long distance racing at Ironman Cairns in order to validate his slot for Kona, Hawaii in October.

He had no problem shifting his focus back to long distance racing rather quickly. Even before the news of the Olympic selections came out, he was pretty clear that he would like to make a return to Kona for the IM World Championship.

Also, Triathlete Europe caught up with Macca recently and they even got to talking about a certain man named Lance Armstrong and his recent return to the sport of triathlon.

What are your thoughts about Lance Armstrong coming back to the sport?
MACCA: There’s so much talk and hype around Lance, and everyone’s pussy footing around the bloke. I think it is great that Lance is coming back to triathlon and racing Ironman. It’s great for our sport. I know he wants to be a contender but I am ready to race him and beat him.

Can Lance be a contender?
MACCA: There’s a lot of hype. I want to smash him. Look at his times. He’s probably a minute down on the swim on the fastest guys. I know he will ride to the front, he should – he’s best the cyclist in the world and has seven Tour de France wins to prove it, but this is triathlon and he has to run. I look at my strengths and his, and he won’t be able to run with me. Look at the performances in all his races. His run has fallen apart in the latter stages of the run in every race. I run for dough and he doesn’t run as well. I look forward to it. You can’t do that if you want to win Kona. Lance I am better than you. Bring it on. I can’t wait to race him.

Macca left with these thoughts “Its back to my day job of racing long”

Well Macca, your antics have been missed.  Welcome back !

Keep Moving Forward

Photo of Julie Moss at Ironman Kona in 1982, undoubtedly one of the iconic moments in triathlon history. Here she is near the finish of one of the most grueling endurance events in the world. With a short lead, Julie could no longer run after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26 miles so she tried walking. Her legs buckled. So she tried to stand and walk again. Her legs buckled yet another time. So she did the only thing that she was able….she crawled to the finish line even after being passed at the very end! She showed amazing fortitude in the face of a struggle. Read Julie’s thoughts on that race here.

What is it that motivates you to keep moving forward?