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"Shin Splints"
A Blog by Doug Logan

Braiding the noose

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The following is the complete text of a speech that USATF CEO Doug Logan delivered Thursday afternoon, January 22, 2009, to Focus on the Future, a gathering of the dietary supplement and healthy food industries in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Any public speaking instructor will tell you that when you begin a speech, especially before a group of people you don't know, you should start with an anecdote or a lighthearted observation as an ice-breaker. But the topic I am addressing today is too urgent and too important not to put it out there at the top. It is anything but light-hearted.

Performance-Enhancing Drugs are threatening to choke the life out of the sport that I serve and love.

And in many ways, the supplement industry has been assisting in braiding the noose.

When I became CEO of USA Track & Field in July 2008, I came from an "outsider" position. I was a fan of the sport and a runner myself, but had never participated as a truly competitive athlete. I had no friends, and no enemies. (I can assure you, THAT has changed substantially in the last six months.)

I saw the sport as the public does: as a sport where it seems that nearly all the top stars of the last 10 years have been caught using drugs, were strongly suspected of using drugs, or were in prison. Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin, Tim Montgomery: These once-great sprinters continued the poisonous legacy of Ben Johnson. In track and field, if your 100-meter superstar isn't clean, the sport isn't clean. 99 percent of athletes could be clean, but it wouldn't matter. Their transgressions overshadow and overpower the accomplishments of even Edwin Moses and Michael Johnson, in the memories of most.

Changing the sport's culture regarding drug use was my first, and remains my most important, objective as CEO. Punitive measures alone cannot eliminate or even substantially reduce the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in this or any other sport. Only when you create a culture where cheating of any sort is reviled by the very athletes who stand to "gain" from it, can you succeed.

Cheating is a cultural problem that is not specific to the United States. Humans seem hard-wired to push the rules as far as they can, and even to actively try to break the rules without getting caught. Kids have been cheating on tests as long as there has been pen and paper; spouses have been cheating on each other since the first "I do's", stock brokers have been cheating since Wall St. opened its doors, resumes are regularly composed of lies and the tax filing period is open season on the truth.

In the world of sports, pushing rules to the brink is part of participating. How hard can you elbow an opponent before you are called for a foul in basketball? How much jersey-grabbing will draw that dreaded "holding" flag in football? How low can you go in punching your opponent in the ring? How many strokes can you shave off your scorecard when your golfing buddies aren't looking?

Cheating in the realm of Performance Enhancing Drugs, however, takes this impulse to a much different level, and with far-ranging consequences.

Nowhere else in the world is the culture of "Faster, Higher, Stronger" so revered and pushed to such extremes. The use of steroids and other Performance Enhancing Drugs is the ultimate perversion of another popular phrase in sport: "What does not kill you makes you stronger." People want to train harder, be stronger, be bigger, run faster. It's not just athletes who follow that credo, and not just males. Recent studies have shown that middle-school girls use Performance Enhancing Drugs at higher rates than their male peers.

I encountered this phenomenon of pre-pubescent PED use last summer, when I was attending a youth track & field event hosted by one of USATF's sponsors, the Hershey Chocolate Company. One of our elite athletes who was participating in the program as a mentor told me that she was out for a training run with one of the nine-year-old finalists. During the run, this nine year old asked our athlete about steroids and said she heard that they would make her stronger. Nine years old! And, at a meet that was organized by a candy bar company!

In what culture, and in what kind of sport, does a nine-year-old know about steroids and ask about them? It is in a culture where supplements are peddled as the way to attain lost youth, aid digestion, increase muscle recovery, decrease wrinkles, lose weight, "gain inches," and eliminate toenail fungus.

Any American who pulls up a story on Performance Enhancing Drugs on one of our major newspapers' web sites is greeted with an ad for Human Growth Hormone. The irony of such advertising goes beyond farcical to the level of tragicomedy. The story reads "Oh the shame of using drugs!" while the ads that support the cost of publishing the story are peddling an illegal hormone.

This pro-supplement and pro-drug national culture has affected sport in multiple ways. For a sport like track and field, which for years has actually tested its athletes for Performance Enhancing Drugs -- something that up until recently, relatively few sports could say -- it means that cheaters got away and the innocent were caught.

Cheaters got away and the innocent got caught.

Prior to the BALCO breakthrough in 2003, drug testers had always been woefully behind the cheaters. They still are, even though our scientists and labs are closing the gap. With BALCO, anti-doping scientists reverse-engineered a test for "the clear", and the result was catching cheaters who had no idea they were being tested for their Victor Conte-peddled drug of choice. But up until that point, the cheaters were more sophisticated than the testers. In most cases, dedicated cheaters took the steps necessary to avoid detection.

When you look at drug positives in track and field pre-2003, you see a pattern. Lots of nandrolone. Lots of "cold-medicine" positives. One European distance runner infamously argued that the drugs in his urine came from a nefarious and conspiratorial enemy tainting his toothpaste. Some cheaters really did get caught. But other athletes got caught up by their supplements. Taking something from GNC that they thought to be "clean", they got popped for a substance they had no idea was even in their bodies to begin with. Nandro undoubtedly was actively used by cheaters, but it just as undoubtedly was an unlisted additive in supplements taken by athletes, bodybuilders, teens and students. Avoiding detection for nandro isn't hard, but you have to know it's in your body first.

There is no denying that some manufacturers of supplements, admittedly few in number and on the fringe of the industry, regularly "spike" their product with Performance Enhancing Drugs in order to give the incredulous benefits that they advertise. And let us not forget that the results that come out of these actions are not merely limited to a suspension or a disqualification of an athlete. The deaths of Kori Stringer and Rahsidi Wheeler are still fresh in our minds and attributable to the ingestion of supplements with no medical or nutritional advice.

Where were the regulators?

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, our sport would regularly get coverage in the national media, but for the wrong reasons every time a high school athlete got popped for a drug in their supplement, or for their asthma medication, or their ADD meds, the sport got another front-page black eye. We didn't need any help with our shiners. The athletes who were cheating were bludgeoning us just fine. But with powerful Inside-the-Beltway friends such as Senator Orin Hatch on their side, the supplement industry has consistently lobbied against any federal regulation whatsoever.

I guess congratulations are in order to the supplement industry on its successful lobbying campaigns. Just don't expect a thank-you note from athletes who got caught for unintentionally taking a PED, or from the families of Kori Stringer and Rahsidi Wheeler.

In the last weeks we have a fresh example of the need for regulation. According to last Friday's New York Times, federal agents have raided Ergopharm, a supplement manufacturer and distributor where the former BALCO chemist, Patrick Arnold, now works. According to the Times, "Federal authorities are trying to determine whether Arnold has put banned substances in the supplements his company sells." Now, let me get this straight. Why in the world would a manufacturer of safe and healthy products hire a chemist who served three months in prison in 2006 in connection with the BALCO case? This is the same company that distributes a supplement called 6-OXO Extreme that they describe on their web site as "the most effective and safest testosterone booster ever". Two weeks ago Philadelphia Phillies reliever .J.C Romero tested positive for the anabolic steroid androstenedione after using 6-OXO Extreme and was suspended for 50 games.

In today's world, anything and everything is on the banned list for Olympic athletes. Because studies have shown that sometimes different pills in the same bottle of supplements contain different, tainted ingredients, we and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency actively advise athletes not to take supplements of any kind. Athletes live in such fear of tainted supplements that some don't even take multivitamins. Think about that: An athlete, whose livelihood rests on the ability to maximize the performance of their bodies, cannot even take the basic supplements that the little old lady on the end of the street has a right to take. One of our throwers takes only a multivitamin and creatine, and he has EVERY SINGLE CAN, every jar tested for PEDs before he ingests them. A gold-medal hurdler takes only a multivitamin, and it is the same mutli he has taken for more than a decade. Terrified of the consequences of a tainted supplement, he is terrified to change.

Earlier this month, I received a letter from a company offering to partner with us to test supplements. Because of the pro-pill culture of this country, and because of the refusal of our government to regulate what Americans are putting into their bodies, it is left to us to clean up the mess.

While this battle for "clean" supplements rages on, I focus on waging the battle for the hearts and minds of our athletes, coaches, agents and support staff to win the culture war against drugs. I am a person who likes simple concepts. This is pretty simple. I have two words for any person who uses, promotes or tacitly endorses the use of drugs by any athlete. GET OUT! Get out of our sport and out of our competitions.

Let's face it: The NFL can afford to have a drug problem. Major League Baseball can afford to have a drug problem. Track and field can't afford it. If our sport doesn't set a course of brazen, vocal intolerance toward drugs, the viability of track and field on a go-forward basis is compromised. I have a moral obligation to do my best to beat drugs to the punch and metaphorically stomp the life out of drugs, drug cheats and their enablers. This course of action is needed from both an ethical and a business standpoint. Some potential sponsors will not touch any of our male sprinters, for fear of a drug scandal. Even we as a federation think twice about which athletes we promote, offer to sponsors or have at press conferences.

Media coverage of our sport adds to the urgent need to create a cultural shift. All too often, the only time track and field is on the front page -- or even the inside page -- of a newspaper or on ESPN's Sports Center is if it involves drugs. Without drugs, our sport is all but invisible to the press. They have no interest without scandal. We must once again make our sport the compelling, believable, hero-inspiring sport it was decades ago, when it was among this country's top sports. Unless the public believes in what they are seeing on the track, we are not sport, we are spectacle. We are a freak show of pharmaceuticals.

Until recently, we as a sport haven't done much to try to help turn this tide. Even though many athletes and fellow coaches in America knew he was dirty well before his recent federal conviction, Trevor Graham was honored as USATF's Coach of the Year in 2002. As a federation, we were either ignorant, stupid or were avoiding the issue. Even today, coaches who had drug cases when they were athletes are earning a living. Athletes employ these coaches despite -- or maybe because of -- their drug-riddled past. One such athlete-turned-coach, Antonio Pettigrew, was our USATF representative to the USOC Athlete Advisory Council until he testified at Graham's hearing that he had used drugs. A nicer guy than Antonio is hard to find. Yet the truth can't be ignored: if an athlete is with a dirty coach, the dirt almost certainly spread. When a mean, nasty, egomaniac tests positive, everybody says they knew it was coming. But when a "nice", cordial, god-fearing charmer takes a bullet, you know you've got a problem. We've had several of them.

Athletes themselves knew who was dirty and who was clean, but nobody "came clean" about it. In fact, clean athletes had friends who were dirty athletes. By looking the other way, we created a permissive culture that provided a catalyst for more cheating. By the time the 2000 Olympics came along, the unifying belief shared by athletes who cheated was that if you wanted to win, you HAD to cheat. It was the only way. Coaches bought into it and turned away from being good technical coaches and instead learned how to be good pharmacists. Good pushers.

I am happy to report that I have seen real progress in our fight, even in my brief time with USATF. On my first day on the job, I sent to President Bush a strongly worded letter imploring him to deny Marion Jones' request for leniency or a pardon. That letter resulted in a few emails accusing me of racism, inhumanity and showboating, but it resulted in far more emails from mothers who told stories of their daughters tearfully ripping down posters of Marion Jones off their bedroom walls.

Our athletes seem to know and understand that when one of them gets caught as a cheater, they all lose. They lose their collective reputations, and they lose financially as corporate sponsors shy away. As a result, we have heard many more athlete voices speaking loudly and clearly against any un-named colleagues who might be using or be thinking about using PEDs. Our medal-winning stars such as Allyson Felix and Adam Nelson are earnest and believable when they speak to the media and school children about drugs. One of our gold medalists, Dee Dee Trotter, even started a nonprofit organization called "Test Me I'm Clean." USATF has a community-outreach program aimed specifically at deterring the use of PEDs, and we have taken action to ensure that coaches whose athletes cheat are denied USATF benefits. In the wake of BALCO, USATF instituted an anonymous "tip line" where callers could report what they believed to be cheating. That tip line has resulted in doping convictions.

There are positive signs internationally as well. One vociferous former member of our Board of Directors always said that when the rest of the world starts implementing more stringent anti-doping protocols, Team USA's performance would improve on the international level. It was, he said, a mathematical reality. I can report that since the advent of WADA in 1999 and 2000, Team USA's medal counts on average have risen from 16-to-19 medals per championship to 20-to-26 medals.

After decreasing the punishment for a first-time steroid offense from four to two years several years ago, our international federation is now leading the lobbying effort for a return to 4-year minimum bans. The British Olympic Association levies a lifetime Olympic ban for the first infraction, a policy which I thoroughly support and will work to implement on this side of the Atlantic.

Drug testing continues to make strides in the effort to catch cheaters, and where science has not yet caught up, we are employing powerful scare tactics. In October, the International Olympic Committee announced it would re-test urine and blood samples from the Olympic Games in Beijing for, among other drugs, a new generation of the blood-boosting drug EPO. There are some athletes sleeping with one eye open until those tests are done.

The World Anti-Doping Agency talks about freezing samples for years, so that they can be retroactively tested for any number of currently undetectable substances, once the tests are developed. As genetic manipulation looms as a growing threat in the doping world, taking and saving hair samples from athletes from childhood onward can help detect genetic "doping."

Will these tests come to fruition? Whether or not they do is almost secondary to the effect of the threat. If we don't get you now, we'll get you later.

BALCO showed above all else that drug testing alone can't catch cheaters, and just because an athlete tests negative doesn't mean they aren't cheating. With that caveat on the table, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that we have seen a substantial decrease in the number of track athletes with positive drug tests. According to U.S. Anti-Doping Agency information, we had four doping positives in the last two years. Of them, two were for asthma medications, one was for blood pressure medication, and the fourth was for cocaine. The non- analytical positives, such as Marion Jones' were admissions to transgressions in prior years. Let me stress again, we still have a problem of monumental proportions. Despite the results in testing I just mentioned, we cannot yet assure our fans that we are running a clean sport and therein lies the tragedy.

I am personally committed to doing our part to reverse this cultural perversion. Our partners in this war, USADA and WADA are waging the battle with ground breaking science and techniques. The supplement industry can do its part in assisting us in the fray. The next time, do not be so quick to oppose reasonable and responsible federal regulation of your industry. Those who conduct ethical and legal businesses will ultimately benefit from the tightening of laws and increased scrutiny. If you say you can self regulate, then, by gosh do it! Cast these outlaws from your midst as the money changers were biblically cast from the temple. We are cleaning our house; get your brooms out and clean yours!

There is no doubt whatsoever that as long as humans are involved in sport, drugs and other forms of cheating will be part of them. But we all have an obligation to minimize their impact. Clean supplements, good coaching, advanced testing and a clear moral vision are what will propel our sport and other sports out of the "doping era" and into an era where human athletic achievement will once again be celebrated for what it is.

It is an era when the best man or woman -- not the best chemist -- will win.

COMMENTS
Thank you, Doug, for waging this most important battle against performance enhancing drugs(PEDs)! Their use is the worst sort of cheating, lying, and stealing from honorable competitors. I was an amateur cyclist in the 1980s, making the US national team in 1986. At this time, the conversation in the elite domestic peloton was that if you chose to turn pro and head to Europe, you would be highly pressured to take PEDs. After a bad bike racing crash, I switched to racewalking, winning the national 50K in 1993 and placing 19th in the World Athletics Championships in Stuttgart that August, as a clean 37 year old. In light of all of the positive tests in track and field since then (even in racewalking), I wonder if some of those finishing ahead of me might have been doping. Now I am the father of two USATF-member sons. The oldest is about to enter high school, after being undefeated in distance running at his middle school. The youngest is about to enter middle school, after placing 5th in the Bantam 200 meters at the USATF Jr. Olympics this past summer. My fervent hope for them, and for all young people in our great sport, is that drug testing professionals will soon become so adept at catching the cheaters that no one will be tempted to use PEDs. I wish I could more ambitiously hope that the character of the current generation of young people would so exceed that of the preceding generation that none would violate their personal honor by cheating with PEDs. However, when I consider the dominant cultural ethos so well described in your above address, I can only have confidence that the efforts of the guardians of the integrity of our sport will vanquish the efforts of the cheaters, leaving the playing field a place that is finally and reliably healthy, joyous, an undeniably level! Jonathan Matthews Helena, Montana jmatthews@carroll.edu
Posted by: Jonathan Matthews on 1/22/2009 3:09:02 PM PT
Your comments are on point. Thank you for leading the charge. Now, publish the names of supplement companies and their tainted products, as they become known to USATF so that we can knowingly avoid them.
Posted by: Chuck Williams on 1/22/2009 6:52:32 PM PT
My friend, Olympian Pat Connolly, has had a difficult time keeping a coaching job because she has actively fought against the use of drugs. I have found that to be a shame.
Posted by: Claire Mack on 1/22/2009 7:47:08 PM PT
Doug, Thank you for your strong support in the war against doping, but more still needs to be done. We have not completely cleaned up our own house. Two recent chairs of the Athletes Advisory Committee have had doping issues and very little was said about it. For many years the AAC seemed more interested in defending dope cheats than advancing legitimate interests of the athletes. At the last Annual Meeting I believe some action was taken to prevent individuals with doping issues from holding positions within USATF (I can't quote it because the new rules aren't posted yet on the website) but our stance should be even stronger. Everyone found guilty of a doping offense should be EXPELLED from USATF for at least the period of their suspension and barred from any position of trust or responsibility for a long period of time, perhaps life.
Posted by: Wayne T. Armbrust on 1/23/2009 8:52:43 AM PT
Kudos to you and USATF for taking this stand and engaging in the fight not only for clean sport, but for the hearts and minds of our youth. Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director, US SwimmingA
Posted by: Chuck Wielgus on 1/24/2009 6:37:26 AM PT
Doug, your message is poignant, accurate, and courageous. Above all, doping is cheating...cheating the individual, his/her competitors, and the sport. For you and USATF, "zero tolerance" is clear and unequivocal. Bravo, Doug...don't stop! This is the only way forward for track & field and all Olympic sport.
Posted by: Dale Neuburger on 1/24/2009 3:29:51 PM PT
Doug and perhaps others with knowledge of the subject, can you provide any guidance regarding what if any asthma medication is considered 'allowable' for Track and Field athletes. As a supporter of youth track and field, I wish to inquire about a couple of inhalers that are commonly utilized by asthma suffers: Albuterol and Primatene. Are these inhalers legal or illegal for use by Track and Field youth athletes who are also asthmatic?
Posted by: Don Perry on 1/25/2009 2:58:11 PM PT
Doug, Keep this thread alive and make sure it permeates the fabric of the entire USATF community. I am glad to see someone with the courage to take this stance. Do keep in mind you may lose a few of our "great" coaches if they take your advice and "get out" This is the same stance I have been blackballed for since the 80's. You have my support!
Posted by: Randy Huntington on 1/26/2009 9:00:36 AM PT
If the cheaters have always been a step a head of the testers, then we should ask the Federal government to subsidizes a few of our great research universities so that we can get the testers two steps ahead of the cheaters. I believe the new administration in Washington DC is trying to create more jobs and is giving out lots of money to do so. It never hurts to ask.
Posted by: Dennis J. Grady on 1/26/2009 2:33:17 PM PT
We have to get serious about enforcement, with sanctions against not only the offender but his or her entire team or club. That way team members mutually ensure that everybody plays by the rules. See "The Doping Dilemma" in Scientific American April 2008.
Posted by: Zev Stern, Ph.D. on 1/26/2009 6:15:26 PM PT
I am behind you on this. I totally agree with the Brits, one infraction and out you go. We need the same policy here and will support your effort in that direction. I could never step on the starting line knowing I have an illegal edge and I don't want to step on the line with anyone that has gained an edge on me in this way. I do believe athletes need to take more responsibility on what they put in their body and investigate the ingredients in any supplement they choose. There are healthful and nutritious supplements on the market without taking anything questionable that may result in a drug violation. USATF has a hotline to answer any questions regarding banned substances and atheltes need to familiarize themselves with everything they use, including cold medicines and other over the counter drugs. If there is anything I can do to help, just call on me Doug. Posted by: roy pIrRUNg on 1-26-09 10:03 PM CT
Posted by: roy pIrRUNg on 1/26/2009 8:07:02 PM PT
I am behind you on this. I totally agree with the Brits, one infraction and out you go. We need the same policy here and will support your effort in that direction. I could never step on the starting line knowing I have an illegal edge and I don't want to step on the line with anyone that has gained an edge on me in this way. I do believe athletes need to take more responsibility on what they put in their body and investigate the ingredients in any supplement they choose. There are healthful and nutritious supplements on the market without taking anything questionable that may result in a drug violation. USATF has a hotline to answer any questions regarding banned substances and atheltes need to familiarize themselves with everything they use, including cold medicines and other over the counter drugs. If there is anything I can do to help, just call on me Doug. Posted by: roy pIrRUNg on 1-26-09 10:03 PM CT
Posted by: roy pIrRUNg on 1/26/2009 8:07:02 PM PT
OK now. Let's all take a deep breath and calm down. Our manic mantra of "PEDs bad, so ban all users!" is a one-dimensional, black-and-white and immature look at an issue with many dimensions and shades of meaning. Just one example: What do you do with a lady in her mid-50s taking a tiny dose of synthetic testosterone to treat her severe symptoms of menopause? She tests positive for PEDs at a meet in 1999 and is banned for two years! Send granny to the slammer? Of course, I'm talking about the Kathy Jager case, which is summarized best in this article: http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/2002/07/31/jager/ But truth be told, many banned substances have legitimate life-saving uses and are critical as quality-of-life medications to many masters athletes. Another example: An M55 thrower in Britain submits a TUE (waiver request for taking doctor-prescribed medications), is allowed to compete, but later is banned for two years anyway. Throw Grampa in the slammer! Here's a summary: http://masterstrack.com/blog/003949.html Doug Logan is not unaware of this dilemma. In my interview with him last September, I asked about this very issue, and he replied: "I have focused to date on anti-doping efforts on the elite level, but my gut tells me that the issue is far different in masters track. I am not familiar enough with the masters anti-doping issue to speak definitively. . . . Every American over a certain age understands that for most people, medications become part of everyday life. Given how comprehensive the current testing menu is, it seems there are potential issues of resolving medical necessity and drug-testing realities." So let's not hyperventilate too much. Doping isn't as simple as the crowd would have you believe.
Posted by: Ken Stone on 1/27/2009 4:23:19 AM PT
While I see Kens point about "Granny being busted", the discussion, I feel is really directed toward elite athletes, who are in the public spotlight,are the role models for developing athletes, and who are most likely to be snared in the PED web. I am a USAT&F official and also a private pilot. Anyone who is a pilot is familiar with the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) that are published every year, with changes, and you are expected to update every year and be aware of the changes and in the case of an enforcement action by the FAA, ignorance is no excuse. However, the FAA in collaboration with NASA has a program whereby, if you think you may have violated an FAR, you can self-report to NASA by submitting a form detailing the date, possible infraction, and the circumstances of the potential infraction. As long as the incident does not involve an accident or incident resulting in damage or injury, the system immunizes the pilot against an FAA action. NASA then uses the information to study causes and preventions in an effort to increase aviation safety. It seems to me that this model would be very good for dealing with athletes who are afraid that they may have inadvertently been exposed to PEDs or know that something that they are taking legitimately may trigger a positive drug test. By self reporting to an independent group, that data can be used to study and advance the cause of anti-doping, while immunizing the innocent athletes from potentially serious enforcement actions. Obviously it wouldn't apply to those who simply admit to doping in an attempt to avoid sanctions--only those who are concerned that they may have taken something illegal or are prescribed something for medical reasons which is contrary to anti-doping policy. Just a thought.
Posted by: Eric Gilchrist on 1/27/2009 6:43:12 AM PT
As the parent of a young track athlete, where can I get a list of safe products? Just today we bought vitamins, because imo your average 16yo could benefit from some. How do I know these aren't spiked with something? Even our local pharmacy sells performance enhancing products, so, where do we go for something KNOWN to be safe? Is there a label program that could be started? Are there brands out there that promise to be clean?
Posted by: Catherine on 1/27/2009 8:47:15 PM PT
Let me post an opposing view. Dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA. They always have been, despite the opposite having been so frequently reported. The supplements you buy in health food stores nationwide are reliable. Mainstream supplement manufacturers like Natures Plus or Solaray or Enzymatic Therapy follow stringent manufacturing standards. If you are not familiar with names like these, then you are not really familiar with the supplement industry that is doing a great job for their customers. I suspect that most complaints about supplements really should be aimed at sports marketers who are on the fringe of the supplement industry and sell products that are not really of interst to the natural health consumer. Nevertheless, I challenge anyone who claims to have taken a tainted supplement to produce the bottle and submit it to analysis. This never seems to happen. Have you noticed? Athletes! Quit hiding behind the tainted supplement excuse. I am tired of hearing it. Blame nobody but yourselves. (Check FDA.gov for the status of the regulation of the supplement industry)
Posted by: John Williams on 1/30/2009 5:22:51 PM PT
As a former age-group world champion who has never sought to use PEDs, but also has never been tested, I endorse the most of the above comments. However, I would like to add a few. My wife asks: "Why don't they (WADA and USADA) publish a list of untainted vitamins." That would be a great help to us athletes. Perhaps "WADA approved" would be a great asset for marketing supplements. It might also provide a source of revenue for the antidoping-athletic-industrial complex. In 2003 there were dire warnings about testing for the WMA Championships in Puerto Rico. After the conmpetition was over, I saw the van where testing was being conducted. I asked how many athletes had been tested. The guy told me that about 9 had been tested out of over 1000 who competed. Testing is an expensive process. Testing needs to be made less expensive. I would not like the anti-PED campaign overshadow the more urgent needs of the sport. The non-elite athlete, the amateur such as my self, sees a need for more sponsorship at the local level. At one time local athletic clubs played an integral part in T&F. Whatever happenned to end that glorious era. I would say that professional sports have so overshadowed amatuer athletics that being an amatuer is now a derogatory term. That is why I seldom watch professional sports anymore. Being an amatuer is a point of honor with me. We need to reverse the trend. Also, one of the main factors supporting the public interest in professonal sports is publicity. It has now reached the point that many churches have super bowl parties on the big Sunday ! Will it become elevated to the level of Christmas? USATF needs to start a media campaign that seeks to exceed that of the professional sports writers. That will be hard. They are paid to promote their sports, because their sports are big business. We need to solicit contributions from the USATF menbers and get them into all the sports media, not just the internet blogs. RCKPAK-gmail.com
Posted by: Ron Kirkpatrick on 2/3/2009 10:22:19 AM PT
So, I did check fda.gov as John suggested. Basically the dietary supplement industry is SELF-regulated. Here is a quote from the site... "FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading." In other words, the products are NOT regulated on the way to the shelves. Athletes, and others, will continue to be at risk, with "regulation" or action coming only after the fact and on a per incident basis. In my opinion, that is a risk not worth taking.
Posted by: Jim Berry on 2/3/2009 12:28:41 PM PT
Jim, thank you for your comments, and I see our disagreement. The safety record of dietary supplements is now well established. The scare stories about unsafe, unregulated dietary supplements initiated by then FDA head Kessler have never materialized. DSHEA was not a special interest protection act. It was a grassroots campaign to protect natural health consumers from an overzealous and arbitrary regulation which would have removed countless safe supplements from shelves. The FDA has not in the past ten years requested further authority than granted by DSHEA and further is in the final stages of implementing the congressional mandate for regulation. In my opinion the risk of taking vitamins, herbs and food supplements and yes sports supplements is so low that it is safer than eating a jar of peanut butter. JIF anyone. Thanks, John.
Posted by: John Williams on 2/5/2009 6:22:36 PM PT
For athletes, parents, and coaches concerned about medicines being banned substances: It is possible for an athlete to receive a therapeutic exception from USADA and IAAF.
Posted by: Curtis Beach on 2/28/2009 7:05:57 PM PT
A QUOTE FROM A FRIEND WHO WORKS FOR A SUPPLEMENT COMPANY... "I APPRECIATE DOUGS PASSION FOR USA TRACK & FIELD. OBVIOUSLY, USATF HAS ITS PROBLEMS, BUT IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF THE SUPPLEMENT INDUSTRY... SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES DIDN'T CREATE... "THE WIN AT ANY COST MINDSET"... RATHER... THE FOLLOWING QUOTE SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON A MAJOR MOTIVE FORCE THAT CAN CREATE POSITIVE & NEGATIVE OUTCOMES "THE CONTINUED SEARCH FOR A "MAGIC CHARM" OR DRUG THAT CAN TRANSFORM A MAN (WOMEN) INTO A HERO IS A MYTH DEEPLY INGRAINED IN THE HUMAN SPIRIT AND CAN ONLY BE DISPELLED BY PERSUASION FOUNDED ON SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE." LA CAVA REST ASSURED THAT THERE ARE SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES IN THE INDUSTRY WHO WANT TO PRODUCE QUALITY SUPPLEMENTS THAT ARE "LEGAL"... HOW...? TO WIT: ONE COMPANY, ADVOCARE, HAS MADE A MAJOR COMMITMENT TO FREE FROM BANNED SUBSTANCES PRODUCTS BY HAVING ITS PRODUCTS TESTED BY "INFORMED-CHOICE" (WWW.INFORMED-CHOICE.ORG ) AN INTERNATIONAL COMPANY THAT ADHERES TO WADA AND USADA STANDARDS OF PURITY TO INSURE THAT THEIR PRODUCTS ARE FREE OF BANNED SUBSTANCES. "HATS OFF TO ADVOCARE"
Posted by: DR BOB WARD on 3/6/2009 11:31:50 AM PT
Howard Jacobs makes some interesting comments about dealing with contaminated supplements at http://www.competitorradio.com/shows/196CompetitorsHowardJacobs.mp3 Mr. Jacobs represented 3 athletes who tested positive after taking a supplement later tested and shown to have been contaminated with dehydroepiandrosterone, 4-androstenedione, and norandrostenedione. One suggestion is that an organization representing athletes (Mr. Jacobs mentions an athletes union) might partner with a supplement company to produce a certified line of supplements. Might that organization be USATF? A second suggestion is that since there is such a wide disparity between test results from contamination and test results from intentional usage that the threshold for sanctions be raised from 2 nanograms to 25 or 50 nanograms. The athletes represented by Mr. Jacobs tested somewhere around 10 nanograms whereas athletes suspected of taking steroids intentionally have tested in the thousands of nanograms (I think per milliliter of urine).
Posted by: Jay Anderson on 3/15/2009 7:47:56 PM PT
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Posted by: Calm Supplements on 12/5/2010 2:56:07 PM PT
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Photo of Doug Logan Doug Logan is the CEO of USA Track & Field (USATF), the national governing body for track and field, long distance running, and race walking. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the organization has more than 90,000 members throughout the country.

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