Gary Snyder outlines steps to drug-testing, payment by surcharge

Gary Snyder has done some due diligence. Now he’s announced how USATF will launch a drug-testing program in American masters track. Besides specifying how to pay for it (by a $5 or $10 surcharge to entries at nationals), he also indicates this is a done deal. Whether on his own authority or by consensus of the USATF Masters T&F Executive Committee that he chairs, the decision is made. Debate is over. Drug-testing will come, and the masters masses have no say in this. OK dokey. Gary says: “No one else is going to pay for this. There is no pot of gold waiting to be found or grant to be awarded. So it’s do-it-yourself. I believe we will be able to cover the cost via a $5 to $10 charge per entry which would generate . . . between $6,000 and $12,000 for outdoor meets. Testing of all first-place finishers or record-breakers is out of the question and only random testing of winners is feasible. In addition, there will be a yet-to-be-determined age cutoff.” So apparently, all you M90s can dope yourself to the gills! No testing 4U!


Here’s what Gary sent out to masters leaders today (with editing for clarity):

The recent positive test of an American athlete at a World Masters Athletics (WMA) meet and resulting suspension has put increased pressure on USATF Masters T&F to implement testing at our USA Masters Championships. This decision is not taken lightly and without a great deal of thought and discussion. But to delay only postpones the inevitable. Testing is expensive, inconvenient and invasive. It will, however, when implemented, eliminate the criticism of US athletes by foreign athletes that we don’t test and by extension must use drugs to excel.

The testing of USATF athletes within the U.S. is conducted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. USADA requires one year of athlete education prior to the start of a testing program. As part of the education requirement, USADA will conduct an in-person session at our meet in Sacramento this summer where they will cover the harmful effects of drugs and the use of therapeutic drugs by athletes. The soonest we could begin testing would be at the 2011 USA Masters Outdoor Championships.

The education is necessary for a number of reasons, but let me explain one scenario as an example. An athlete new to our sport enters a meet and is unaware of the testing protocols. The person is selected for testing but refuses the test. They would unfortunately be suspended as if they had failed the test. In addition, their name would be posted on the required Web sites, etc., for all to see.

Testing is very expensive, and the only sustainable solution is for the athletes to pay. No one else is going to pay for this. There is no pot of gold waiting to be found or grant to be awarded. So it’s do-it-yourself. I believe we will be able to cover the cost via a $5 to $10 charge per entry, which would generate . . . between $6,000 and $12,000 for outdoor meets. Testing of all first-place finishers or record-breakers is out the question and only random testing of winners is feasible. In addition, there will be a yet-to-be-determined age cutoff.

I’ll be working with the Masters T&F Executive Committee and the USATF National Office specifically Melissa Beasley the Associate Director, Elite Athlete Relations, to begin shaping the USATF Masters T&F Anti-Doping Program.

Gary Snyder
National Chair
USATF Masters T&F

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March 18, 2010

44 Responses

  1. Rick Riddle - March 18, 2010

    Ken,
    A possibility here for reporter research would be to determine what companies are involved in testing and test results so that all of us can better understand what can be expected in the future. Are these involved companies active in research that will lead to less expensive testing and results that announce immediately?
    The common thread that runs through so much of the recent discussion here is the cost of testing. The testing cost appears to be the chief problem with discouraging or prohibiting drug use. Maybe some of your readers could direct the balance of us to a reading source that describes the efforts, if any, being made to reduce testing costs and provide immediate results.
    Borrowing from the famous John Lennon coinage for the simple word ‘imagine’ – and I apologize for being unoriginal – but, imagine a time when you have to test at the call tent by spitting in a cup and you advance to the start line only after passing! Yes, I know there will be testing protests to file, and other problems that will arise, but I was for a moment, just imagining.
    How close are we to that day? Does anyone know?

  2. Sarah Lawson - March 18, 2010

    Go Gary. Thanks for taking this and running with it.

  3. Bill Murray - March 18, 2010

    Thank you Gary and the master’s track & field executive committee. Way to go!

  4. SE Wright - March 18, 2010

    Good job. This is without question the right thing to do. I especially appreciate what appears to be the refreshing common sense involved. Some random winner testing is good but so would be some targeted testing of suspicious athletes-nothing wrong with that. And forget about testing anyone over 60 – c’mon really!

  5. Courtland Gray - March 18, 2010

    Yeah, we 60+ guys are finished anyway, so why bother testing old guys. C’mon, really!

    Actually, I think you might be wrong in your assumption. Younger guys probably use PED’s to be stronger and faster, but the older guys are more inclined to just regain lost youth with HGH, etc.

    Wouldn’t it be great to be able to select certain individuals for testing because they looked like they needed testing? I am sure I could get a 75% positive test rate if I had the job of “random selection.”

    I was tested at the Gateshead WMC in 1999. This guy from British Athletics came up to me after the long hurdles, and I was flattered that he wanted to talk.

    He then introduced me to another guy, my soon to be shadow, joined at the hip until I tested. Nothing by mouth until the test. He almost got on the awards stand with me. High tech bottles, lots of acknowledgements and signatures. It was a complicated process, so I see why it costs. There is more expense than just the lab cost. Someone has to track down the selectees, stay with them, maintain chain of custody records for the sample, and protect and preserve them. Otherwise, the results are moot.

    Another process might be to have lots of people selected to give samples upon arrival, and then only test a smaller sample. It lets everyone know there is a high probability that the sample will be taken, and they have no idea if it will be tested.

    I don’t think just testing winners or record breakers is a solution. Many might take PED’s so they could be more competitive, not just to win or set WR’s.

    There is a lot of work to do, but thanks to Gary for making it happen. I thought the WMA required testing at nationals anyway. I believe the European countries already have testing.

  6. Steven Sashen - March 18, 2010

    I’m disappointed. I was hoping that testing would be done on a “We think you MUST be doping, because otherwise there’s no way you could have done that” basis… and then I was hoping to be tested so I could feel flattered.

  7. Gary Grobman - March 19, 2010

    Add my voice to the applause for Gary. I also think we should seriously explore Courtland’s idea (something I suggested as well in a post last week), about providing for some COLLECTION with only the potential for testing–to deter cheating without all of the cost.

  8. Craig Shumaker - March 19, 2010

    Come On! This is Masters track and field not the Olympics or pro football. Most of us are just happy to be able to still be competing and we do it for the love of the sport. This is a perfect example of people thinking they are more important than they really are and trying to leave a lasting impression of their importance. If you want to really have an impact collect a surcharge for the officials so we can be sure to get ones that are competent. In the end we are all competing against ourselves to get a better time or distance or height – getting a PR is always more important than a cheap medal. The ‘powers that be need to get over it!!!!

  9. Rob D'Avellar - March 19, 2010

    Craig,

    You hit the nail on the head. Excellently put.

    But don’t worry. The first lawsuit for defamation of character over a false positive report will kill drug testing…but unfortunately it might kill Masters Track and Field along with it.

    If you think this is an overaction, it takes very little to establish a cause of action in American courts and defending a lawsuit is very expensive.

  10. Kevin Burgess - March 19, 2010

    WRONG!! Mr Shumaker, I do not want to spend hundreds or thousands of £s to go to a World or European championships to try and win a medal at the highest level we can compete at to be beaten by someone who has CHEATED. If you and all the others who are against testing want to pay my expenses to these events then I will not be so put out.How about that.

  11. Don Baumrucker - March 19, 2010

    March 19, 2010
    Gary Snyder:

    A huge “Thank you! ” from 90% of the competitive Masters atheletes. Excellent work.

    You have made a decision that is going to show others that Masters Track and Field can conduct itself in a professional manner without the interference of other outside agencies.

    I am certain that our drug testing program, once it has been established and fine turned , may become a model for many other Masters sports events in the United States. This decision comes none too soon.

    I am “standing by to stand by” to see what kind of decision is made concerning a “cut off” age for Masters drug testing. I am going to be 65 years old in November. Please don’t count me out. That is WAY too young an age to be given defferential treatment. :) May I suggest 80+ with a TUE disclosure requirement for future research ???? That way we’ll find out what types of substances our older athletes are REALLY using (as opposed to rumor and inuendo). Would be a great medical database.

    Thanks again!

  12. Craig Shumaker - March 19, 2010

    Mr Burgess – I think you missed the most important part of my thought. We all compete against ourselves. If all you are after is a medal you can buy one cheaper than paying for travel, etc. Masters should be about bettering YOUR PR and making friendships. If you want a medal so bad I can send you some.

  13. Stefan Waltermann - March 19, 2010

    Rick, since there is money to be made, you can find a large number of bio-tech companies around the world who are active in developing tests, some very expensive gene-doping tests, some very inexpensive tests that will bring us closer to your ideal scenario. If you want to see a list of WADA funded research projects, you can find it here:
    http://www.wada-ama.org/en/Science-Medicine/Research/Funded-Research-Projects/
    If you want to get a glimpse of our future, you can find it here http://www.bionity.com/articles/e/81906/ (Yes, gene-doping will be the future. And a test will run a cool 30 grand, at least right now.)And if you want to know what people are capable of doing to themselves, just google ‘Synthol‘. And read up on Myostatin. Very soon, we will see something called drug-based incomplete autosomal dominance, something that will be connected to sprinting events. Read about the German boy who was diagnosed with a mutation in both copies of the myostatin-producing gene. He showed significantly increased muscle mass and strength. Strangely, his mother, a former sprinter, had a mutation of one of the genes as well. If we think weird things are going on in today’s world of sports, tomorrow we will live in a very strange, almost unimaginable world. It appears we are in a losing battle with a multi-headed hydra but we must take a stand. Good job, Gary.

  14. Kevin Burgess - March 19, 2010

    No Thanks I already have many medals from World and Euro champs.and won them ALL FAIRLY. If I just wanted to buy a medal I can do that but it would have no meaning. If it was just about bettering PRs and making friends I can do that by going to open meets anywhere. Look if you guys want to compete against PED users form your own organisation with NO rules, and leave the current organisation to those who want it kept clean.

  15. Kevin Burgess - March 19, 2010

    I do not want to get embroiled in personal arguments with individuals. But I cannot understand why anyone would not want to do all they could to stop the use of PEDs. Please can you explain? It is only usually criminals who oppose laws for stiffer sentences.

  16. Don Baumrucker - March 19, 2010

    I can’t imagine someone competing at any level and not wanting the results to be as fair as possible. And I can’t imagine that competition becomes less meaningless or relevant with age?

    Gary: What’s up with this “love of the sport” chatter? What does that mean? That you love your sport more by turning a blind eye to cheaters? Unrestricted drug use is demeaning to the sport you profess to love.

    Val was apparently a PR machine. Was that good for the sport? Was it good for Val?

    I believe that Masters drug testing will encourage more participation. The younger generation who now move into the Masters ranks are used to being drug tested. Why would they want to continue to compete at the USATF level if they are suddenly aware that there are no restrictions on drug use. The answer I believe is that they would want no part of it.

    Rob: Are you a malpratice attorney or something? That’s what liability insurance is for, among other things. Drug testing is going on all the time in sports and in business and few liability claims have been sustained over millions of tests. Drug testing has become a rite of entry to the “big show”.

  17. Craig Shumaker - March 19, 2010

    Just because someone wants to pass a law doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Lets make a law too that requires minimum entrance standards for Nationals and Worlds. Would you like that too? What if that ruled out you competing? Instead I would ask – what is the purpose of Masters track and field and how as the leadership can I make it better for everyone? To me it is to compete and do better than I did the last time I competed. If I win so be it, if not I go back to training and see if I can do better the next time. Masters will never be about equal competition – we all have different inherent abilities, different abilities to train, different health issues, more or less money, etc. So if you think that just passing a ‘law’ about PED’s will level the competition you are mistaken. In the throwing community we all cheer for each other to get a better throw on the next throw, to do the best we can. Sure there are those that we suspicion do/have taken drugs but it is so obvious we discount them, even if they win. And they know that we know, but that is not why we compete. I have seen individuals compete for 20 years and win a medal once or twice in that whole time frame. But they keep coming back for the sheer enjoyment of competing and seeing fellow competitors again. If someone wants to make his mark by ruining the ‘spirit’ of Masters competition then that will be his legacy. Lets really examine what Masters should be about, how can we get people to do research on how competing helps one age better, provide teaching clinics at meets, etc. I would pay $10 a meet to help sponsor these types of things. Collecting 10$ from someone and making them pee in a cup will do nothing for any of the real potential benefits from Masters competition.

  18. Allan Tissenbaum - March 19, 2010

    I completely agree with Kevin, the mere threat of drug testing is an attempt to level the playing field. For those of you who compete solely for your own satisfaction more power to you, the rest of us like the thrill of competition, and want the races and decided based on unenhanced performances.

  19. Kevin Burgess - March 19, 2010

    I am sorry but this argument isnt worth it any more. Got better things to do like get on Google and find a suplier of PEDS if thats how it should be.

  20. Allan Tissenbaum - March 19, 2010

    The simple threat of random drug testing should disuade most would be cheaters.

  21. Don Baumrucker - March 19, 2010

    Craig, you are a funny dude!

    I propose that we have a Class A “drug free” field event group and a Class B “unrestricted” group. Just like drag racing.

    One of my favorite events to watch are the unlimited drag races with their tanks full of nitro going 300+ miles an hour for the quarter. It doesn’t get much better than that! And you better believe that no one has to pee in a cup to get behind the wheel of one of those monsters.

  22. Simon Martin - March 19, 2010

    What’s with this age cut-off thing?

    It seems that drug company marketing is now so embedded in our culture that we accept that past a certain age we cannot be healthy – let alone be able to compete – without reliance on prescription drugs. If that is true then all those drugs become PEDs – which explains the need for a cut-off.

    So I agree strongly with Don’s idea. Let’s have a drug-free, thoroughly tested category, and let everybody else take what they want.

  23. Joe Burleson - March 19, 2010

    A comment on the “defamation of character” and lawsuit speculation: While I am not an atorney, there are certain facts that pertain to people using the civil courts to file lawsuits. The first principal of filing for libel or slander suits is the element of truth. If someone says or prints something truthful, there is, for the most part, no basis for libel or slander. There are separate laws for violation of privacy, theft of private information, but those are criminal law issues, not civil law. So I may have a basis for a civil suit if someone calls me a “stupid, idiotic, nitwit.” But if, instead, they point out that my high school language test scores put me in the bottom 5 percentile, there is no basis for a suit because the facts are tru. Furthermore, one signs the standard release forms about what you allowing the organization to do, and for USATF, that means that you give them the right to follow their procedures. These rules are not state or federal laws, but by signing, one is bound by law not to claim that the rules do not apply.

  24. Simon Martin - March 19, 2010

    If you are a member of a USATF club an competing in a USATF sanctioned event, then you may be covered by general liability insurance for anything arising out of drug testing procedures.

    This includes what they call “Personal & Advertising Injury Liability”, which “protects the Named Insureds against injury, other than bodily injury, arising out of libel, slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, false arrest, wrongful detention or imprisonment, malicious prosecution, misappropriation of advertising ideas or style of doing business,or infringement of copyright, title or slogan”.
    http://www.usatf.org/clubs/benefits/insurancebrochure.pdf

    Not being a lawyer, I’m not sure whether this insurance has been designed to protect the USATF and event organizers if they are sued, or whether it extends protection to rank-and-file members who are tested at an event and want to sue the USATF. Can someone with expertise look at the brochure and advise?

  25. Don Baumrucker - March 19, 2010

    Joe: Thanks for the comments re: release forms. So true. That automatically reduces the chance of a successful libel claim and definitely reduces the cost of underlying liability insurance for USATF.

    Simon: my comment re: two(2) classes of competitors was meant to be tongue in cheek. However, sometimes one stumbles upon a crazy idea that just might work. Such a system would sure break the medal budget for USATF, however. The gold would have to become tin. We couldn’t afford the cost of gold anymore at $1,100 per ounce.

  26. Rob D'Avellar - March 19, 2010

    The language in the brochure states:

    ‘Drug Testing Liability: provides Personal & Advertising Injury coverage for liability arising out of any drug testing program sponsored by USATF, provided the testing is conducted in accordance with USOC Doping Control Program policies and procedures’

    The operative clause is the last one. If the insurance company can show that a drug testing procedure was not followed exactly to the letter, then coverage is negated and the USATF would pay any damages coming out of a lawsuit. In case any one hasn’t dealt with an insurance company lately, they really don’t like to pay out on policies if they can find a way to wiggle out.

    Believe me, insurance companies try to get out of coverage all the time. When I worked on asbestos lawsuits in the 1980s, there were always two sets of cases: the original personal injury suit and then the insurance company trying to get out of covering the asbestos manufacturer.

    I am retired now, but I know lawyers. If you think people are going to go gently into that good night after being found guilty of doping, then you are naive, especially if someone’s career is ruined by the publicity of a doping charge.

    All a lawyer would need to do is to raise doubt about ‘contamination’ of the sample (see the OJ case) and cash registers would start to ring.

    What we are talking about here is “consequential damages”. Young athletes aren’t in the middle of successful careers so damages can’t be calculated on their lost earnings. But if a successful person earning high wages can show that their career was damaged by a doping charge that was might be questionable, then all hell breaks lose.

    I’m not saying doping is fine and of course it would be great if everybody were honest. What I am saying is that everyone needs to think very carefully about what legal ramifications might occur if this drug-testing policy is adopted. We live in a rat’s nest of lawyers in the US, different from any place in the world.

  27. Rob D'Avellar - March 19, 2010

    Oh, and release forms aren’t worth the paper they are written on. They are written so broadly that any second year law student can argue his way out of one.

  28. Susan Wiemer - March 19, 2010

    I say, let’s get going with the testing. Of course, there may end up being problems with lawsuits, just like there are problems with lawsuits in every other aspect of our lives. In this country, it is unavoidable. We do need to make sure that there are some very clear-cut delineations between medications that preserve life, and PEDs. I read a number of posts from someone who felt that any athlete taking any medication of any kind should be eliminated. As an asthmatic, I take exception to that idea! Trust me, my meds do not make me faster. They keep me alive. It took two unpleasant trips to the emergency room to convince me to take them in the first place. I certainly don’t want anyone skipping their blood-pressure meds either. But, for those of you tainting my favorite sport and endangering yourselves by taking HGH, steroids,testosterone, etc…I hope we catch you.

  29. peter taylor - March 19, 2010

    Needless to say, every major step has implications that are not immediately apparent. How about these?

    1. National Senior Games. I can’t imagine that the National Senior Games Association has any interest in drug testing. What does this decision mean in terms of any future consolidation of Sr Games and our masters nationals?

    2. Attendance. Will attendance at our national meets (except for Sacramento 2010, which WILL draw) continue to be very modest (800 to 1000 range), or will it drop further? Could it actually go up a bit?

    3. Records. Will records set at meets where there is no possibility of drug testing be even harder to get ratified? Will we eventually go to a system in which all national marks must be set in national or world meets? “You see Fenwick over there? He went to a (regional) USATF-sanctioned meet and threw for a record. But you will never see Fenwick at a nationals …he knows better now than to go there.”

    Will the answer be: No more records from Hartshorne Mile, regionals, Penn Relays, etc.? They do test at Penn, but I have never heard of a master being tested there.

  30. Rob D'Avellar - March 19, 2010

    “Of course, there may end up being problems with lawsuits, just like there are problems with lawsuits in every other aspect of our lives. In this country, it is unavoidable.”

    Susan, don’t brush off lawsuits so easily. I know the legal world and it is not a pretty one.

    Let me paint a picture of what lawsuits arising out of drug testing can very easily do to the world of Masters Track and Field.

    In these posts, people have mentioned testing certain folks who are “suspcious”. For a minute, think of those people who are “suspicous”.

    Do you think they are going to roll over easily and take a doping conviction? Remember, that conviction is possibly going to affect how they are viewed by their families, communities, and employers, not just how they are viewed in track and field.

    These are people who are rich enough to pay their own ways to international competitions.

    Don’t you think they are going to find the best legal representation possible to fight the charge (even if they are guilty)?

    Nobody is just going say “Oh well, see you in two years.” For an adult in the middle of a successful career, a doping conviction has ramifications far beyond the world of sports.

    As attorneys who read this blog would probably concur, good legal representation in this country is more important than the facts.

    If the banned athlete fights the charge in civil court, competitors may be called as witnesses. If conspiracy is included in the complaint, competitors may even be joined as defendants if they have ever openly voiced an opinion that they thought the plaintiff juiced. (So those of you who have talked about your suspicions in these posts, I’d advise you to keep quiet).

    Once lawyers get a hold of something, reality changes completely. Your nice friendly world of Masters Track and Field comraderie becomes a world of subpoenas, testimony, damages and ruined lives and relationships.

    I think money is better spent on educating dopers on the the physical effects of doping on aging bodies. That stark reality would deter more people from using drugs than would drug testing.

    Again, think of those people you suspect of doping. If you think they would just roll over and take a conviction, then go ahead and initiate drug testing.

    If, however, you think they are the type of people who would fight a conviction, then see you in court.

  31. older athlete - March 19, 2010

    You can check on the admissibility of almost any drug very easily. Go to the USATF site, click on “about” at the top left, click on anti-doping and then research your concerns on the drug reference online. It’s so easy even a lawyer can figure it out.

  32. Kevin Burgess - March 20, 2010

    Hey Rob,
    you are obviously a clever guy and can see some possible legal pitfalls to drug testing. But how about using some of that knowledge to put forward some ways to enable testing to happen, rather than putting a downer on it. Most people who dope themselves know the risks but are prepared to take them for the glory and accolades. Educating people might actually make them think ” hey thats a good idea it will make me faster and as they dont test I wont get caught” That would defeat the whole object. See its easy to put a downer on peoples best intentioned ideas.

  33. J. Kessell - March 20, 2010

    I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I thought that serious discussion on any subject would eventually lead to mutual admiration for both sides and the points they make.

    Not here! And that is why I hardly ever make my opinion known. I can already feel the knife in my back.

    And by the way, Ken, now that drug testing is on it’s way, maybe you can help the ninety five year old contestant hold steady while he pees into a cup, and then apologize to him for all the people that thought testing was a good thing for the integrity of the sport. Shame on them.

    And as far as minimum entry requirements are concerned, who wants to compete at a world championship when there are 45-50 entries in one single age group for one event. Nothing for nothing, but I do not want to be competing with someone there who is there because he could afford to be there and other than that, does not deserve to be there. If it is a world championship, act like one. It all comes down to dollars and cents. If 45-50% of the athletes could not go due to higher entry requirements, there would be no champiohships! Don’t you get it.

    I do not need to complete against myself. I already know how bad or good I really am. It’s not about competing for your =self or within yourself. It is about competing against your fellow athlete, and on any given wekkend, you just may come out a winner. The secret is, going into thr=e weekend, you already are a winner!

  34. jim - March 20, 2010

    I know of several master participants who are taking doctor prescribed medications for a varity of physical conditions. These people are not cheaters or dopers. Their meds are not allowed and may or may not be enhancing their performance.

    For obvious reasons they will not be going to any meets where testing will be done. Is this what we want?

    (The paperwork to clear these meds is not worth the trouble)

  35. Gary Grobman - March 20, 2010

    Jim–For obvious reasons, to use your phrase, if they go to nationals whether or not testing is done and they are using PEDs without doing the paperwork because it is “not worth the trouble,”or because they don’t THINK these PEDs are really enhancing their performance, they are CHEATERS. If they decide not to go to nationals because doing so would put them at risk of being caught violating the rules, then yes, this is what I want.
    Maybe I am a minority on this, but I also like having other rules followed, such as not permitting competitors to stay in their lanes during a staggered start when this is required by the rules, being REALLY in the age group that one is competing in, throwing the weight that is not less than others are required to throw, and so on. From reading this blog lately, I guess my views on this are old-fashioned, but you asked, albeit rhetorically.
    This is an important issue for USATF. No one is going to die as a result of lying about their age or throwing a shot that is a few ounces less. Still cheating and it is wrong and should be sanctioned if/when people are caught. People do die from taking PEDs. It is not only cheating and harmful to one’s competitors, it is self-destructive to one’s long-term health. If it is being done (and we now have what seems to be conclusive evidence that it is being done at our nationals), we need to stop it. PEDs simply don’t belong in our sport. A lifetime ban for those caught cheating for using PEDs would be appropriate.

  36. Rob D'Avellar - March 21, 2010

    Kevin,

    Sorry if I am being a “downer” for injecting some logic into this debate and suggesting that some due diligence into the legal ramifications of drug testing for this specific population be performed before so quickly adopting the rule based on one incident.

    As for your invitation to make more positive suggestions, I haven’t provided any advice on how to make drug testing work for Masters athletes because I don’t think it will work…because of the reasons I’ve stated in previous comments.

    Seemingly, based on the comments of others, all that drug testing will do is to test who is smart enough to get a doctor’s note for the PED they are taking before going to a competition.

    As I said previously, the best that you can hope for is an education program that will scare the pants off anybody taking PEDS with regard to what they are doing to their bodies.

    Perhaps I am naive in thinking such an education program will dissuade cheaters from taking drugs, but if I sound naive, so do all of you who think that drug testing can be implemented without serious legal complications, which may change your sport forever.

    Previously, what I have enjoyed while reading Ken’s blog are the supportive comments people make when Ken reports that someone has broken a world record or attained some other achievement.

    But what some of these posts in this discussion seem to suggest is that there is a lot of suspicion out there about people who achieve. What’s up with that?

    Are there really so many “suspicious” people out there to warrant a drug testing program? This is starting to sound very much like a witch hunt.

  37. Kevin Burgess - March 21, 2010

    Rob
    Whilst I do not agree with your position I accept your right to your opinion.
    However, I feel we must find an adequate deterent to “true” cheaters, not those who maybe took a couple too many pills of their legitimate medication.
    Unless we do we will get more Val Barnwells who milk the applause of the public and “hold court” as though they are royalty (I know this as I have seen it). Break WRs and Win major championships at the expense of athletes who are happy to play by the rules. Is this what we REALLY want.
    I appreciate there may be problems along the way, but if we allow the cheaters to win then there is no point playing the game.

  38. Simon Martin - March 21, 2010

    Jim wrote:
    “I know of several master participants who are taking doctor prescribed medications for a variety of physical conditions. These people are not cheaters or dopers. Their meds are not allowed and may or may not be enhancing their performance.”

    I really don’t know what to make of this. Are you saying that these guys would not be able to compete without their prescription drugs? And they know their meds are not allowed? And they haven’t got TUEs? And you are saying they are not cheaters or dopers…?
    In the words of Mr Spock: “Illogical, Captain”.

    “For obvious reasons they will not be going to any meets where testing will be done. Is this what we want?”
    Well, yes, actually…that’s kind of the point.

    If they are really so ill that they can’t run without drugs, shouldn’t they perhaps be considering whether they should be competing at all? Let alone at world and national level against athletes who are drug-free.

    They are not exactly good adverts for our sport, but they are certainly good adverts for the pharmaceutical industry.

    As suggested, let’s have two categories: “drug-free + tested” and “anything goes”.

  39. Don Baumrucker - March 21, 2010

    Simon:

    Thanks for your last. Right on!

    Jim: Yes, that is what EVERYBODY is saying. Performance enhancing medication is out, period.

    What do you mean by “Is that what “we” want? What exactly do you mean by “we”?

    USATF is the “we” that I understand and they are saying that what is good for the young is good for the old, within reason. It is a policy that is consistent across all age categories of competitors. To do otherwise is discriminatory.

  40. Rob D'Avellar - March 21, 2010

    Seemingly, the Barnwell incident has introduced (or perhaps uncovered) an undercurrent of suspicion in Masters Track and Field, a world that is usually characterized as one of camaraderie.

    Perhaps in addition to whatever mandatory drug testing program is initiated, VOLUNTARY testing should also be introduced.

    If you set a World Record and are not selected for drug testing, you should be able to REQUEST a test in order to prove you are NOT on drugs.

    I am only half joking about this.

    It seems that unfortunately Val has caused cheater hysteria.

    If you set a World Record and AREN’T tested, are people now going to be suspicious?

    I guess the only way you can stop the rumors is to cough up your own money and asked to be tested.

    It seems unfortunate that because of one incident an environment of such mistrust has been created that drug testing is deemed the only solution.

  41. aka - March 21, 2010

    I am a w55 competitor who has been on doctor prescribed hormone replacement therapy for over 10 years. The medication I take has eliminated severe symptoms of migraines , bipolar mood swings, and other debilitating problems. I love competing, have made many friends and am not a cheater. What am I to do?

  42. Simon Martin - March 21, 2010

    aka – IF you are taking hormones that are on the banned list because they are deemed performance-enhancing, then you get an exemption – a TUE. Then you are “legal”.

    And you only need to do that if you want to compete at meets where there are drug tests, like world- or national-class competitions. To compete in 90% of races, like at your local track meets and road races, you don’t need to bother, you can just carry on.

  43. john simpson - March 23, 2010

    hmmmm, Test everyone who looks like they lift weights and may have big muscles while they’re at it…

    try to weed out as many as you can USATF..

    I can see it now, undercover USATF agents hiding around corners with a yellow pad and pen, “hey, that bald white guy has big guns, let’s get him tested”

    LOL…bring it on fellas!! weed out the cheats!!

  44. Human Growth Hormone Injections - April 20, 2011

    I think that HGH has helped me live a more fulfilling life since I started my program about 6 months ago.

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