September 2, 2014

Alberto Contador Clenbuterol Case Highlights Problems with Zero-Tolerance Policy

Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador may have used performance-enhancing drugs en route to a victory at the 2010 Tour de France. One doesn’t need to believe Contador is “innocent” to recognize significant problems with the anti-doping rules regarding clenbuterol. [Read more...]

Dara Torres Takes Moral High Ground Despite Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs

Swimmer Dara Torres is an extraordinary athlete. The possibility that a 41-year old mother can compete alongside the best elite swimmers in the world with a legitimate chance at winning a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is nothing short of phenomenal. There is nothing – no news or revelation – that could diminish her achievements in my eyes.

Having said that, I am disappointed to see Dara Torres publicly assert her moral superiority over other athletes who use performance enhancing drugs. Torres comes across as disingenous if not hypocritical when she decries the lack of a conscience in other competitors who use performance enhancing drugs.

[Read more...]

Did Jessica Hardy’s Advocare Supplements Contain Clenbuterol?

Swimmer Jessica Hardy has withdrawn from the United States Olympic Team bound for the 2008 Beijing Olympics after testing positive for low levels of the long-acting beta-2 adrenergic agonist (LABA) clenbuterol. Hardy maintains that she never knowingly or unintentionally consumed clenbuterol or any other banned susbtance.

The question of why and how clenbuterol appeared in Jessica Hardy’s sample remains a mystery. Was Hardy simply caught doping? Or were the “dietary supplements” used by Hardy contaminated or spiked with the banned substance clenbuterol? The supplement company Advocare was cited as one of the brands of dietary supplements used by Jessica Hardy. [Read more...]

Jessica Hardy’s Clenbuterol Positive and Unfair Media Coverage

I am disappointed by the mainstream media coverage of Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy’s failed drug test for clenbuterol (an asthma medication).

NBC was apparently the first news organization to identify the banned substance as clenbuterol. They did not elaborate on the drug other than to identify it as a “stimulant” which was of course very misleading.

Clenbuterol was not identified as an asthma medication. It was not revealed that numerous other Olympic swimmers are permitted to use similar asthma drugs as long as they have a therapeutic use exemption (TUE). In all fairness to Jessica Hardy, this information should be provided at the outset to provide the appropriate context for any story about her positive test.

Washington Post Staff Writer Amy Shipley regularly writes about doping in sports, so I was very disappointed that Shipley failed to specifically identify clenbuterol as an asthma medication. She did not mention that other Olympic swimmers are allowed to use similar asthma drugs. In fact, there was not a single instance of the word ‘asthma’ in her 600+ word article.  [Read more...]

Swimmer Jessica Hardy’s Competitors are Permitted to Use Similar Asthma Drugs

U.S. Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive for the asthma medication Clenbuterol in both A and B samples at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska on July 1st and July 4, 2008. Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator belonging to a class of drugs known as beta-2 adrenergic agonists or long-acting beta-2 adrenergic agonist (LABA) . Clenbuterol is similar to Albuterol and Salmeterol which are also LABAs.

It is well-known that a high percentage of elite swimmers have exercise-induced asthma. It is also known that most asthmatic swimmers competing in the Olympics have therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to use beta-2 agonists like albuterol, formoterol, salbutamol, salmeterol and terbutaline for therapeutic purposes.

The amazing swimmer Dara Torres makes no secret of her use of albuterol and formoterol; these are two different beta-2 agonists (LABAs). She probably tests positive for these substances on a regular basis too since United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) tests her frequently due to her participation in Project Believe. [Read more...]

Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Performance Enhancing Drugs

I’ve previously discussed known loopholes for testosterone use in drug testing programs. And of course, the fact that growth hormone use is undetectable via drug testing urinalysis makes it an easy and attractive drug for the athlete seeking performance enhancement.

Just as problematic is the loophole of “therapeutic use exemptions” (TUE) for performance-enhancing drugs on the banned substance list. In many cases, an athlete can use performance enhancing drugs (even steroids) with impugnity if they are granted a TUE for a medically documented condition.

The therapeutic use loophole is not widely publicized by WADA and other drug testing organizations because it does not contribute to the appearance of an effective drug testing program and a “clean sport.” [Read more...]