September 20, 2020

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…]