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Analysis and Comment (51)

That one needs more galloping powder. That one needs more galloping powder. EPA

No, the Queen isn’t doping her prized racehorses

Exciting news from the world of horseracing: the Queen’s racehorse Estimate has tested positive for morphine. With the Lance Armstrong and Tyson Gay doping scandals fresh in their minds, reporters are…
Pumped. Armstrong in 2003. Pumped. Armstrong in 2003. Jasper Juinen/EPA

Tour de France’s doping history clouds a ‘cleaner’ sport

With the start of the 101st Tour de France only one day away, the topic of doping in cycling will no doubt start to rear its ugly head. While the riders cover 3,664km in 21 stages over three weeks in an…
FIFA’s chief medical officer is adamant there’s no doping in football … but experience says otherwise. FIFA’s chief medical officer is adamant there’s no doping in football … but experience says otherwise. Gabriel Corbacho Bermejo/Flickr

Doping in football – does it make the game any less beautiful?

It is often said that football is the beautiful game, resistant to the kinds of doping seen in cycling, baseball or less beautiful games of the same name. Much like Australia’s confidence before its “blackest…
We’ve heard about high-profile dopers, such as ex-pro cyclist Tyler Hamilton, but the cheating culture in cycling goes deeper. We’ve heard about high-profile dopers, such as ex-pro cyclist Tyler Hamilton, but the cheating culture in cycling goes deeper. Luis Tejido/AAP

If cheating is ‘normal’ in cycling, how can we build integrity?

“Integrity” is currently the buzzword around Australian sport policy-making. An integrity in sport forum, co-convened by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SOHAF) and Victoria University in Melbourne this…
Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? AAP/Joe Castro

What happens if Essendon players are issued ‘show cause’ notices?

Speculation continues to mount that Essendon Football Club players will face sanctions from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) over the club’s controversial 2011-12 supplements program…
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada had to undergo an unannounced doping test hours before performing. Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada had to undergo an unannounced doping test hours before performing. Ivan Sekretarev/AP

A drug-free Olympics could be Sochi’s antidote to a bad image

Since anti-doping tests were introduced at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics there have only been 20 positive drug tests in Winter Olympic competition. Compared to the Summer Olympics, which has more athletes…
Russian biathlete Olga Medvedtseva was the only athlete to test positive to a banned substance in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. Russian biathlete Olga Medvedtseva was the only athlete to test positive to a banned substance in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. EPA/Gero Breloer

Higher, faster … cleaner? Doping and the Winter Olympics

A quick look at Wikipedia shows that Winter Olympians test positive for doping at a far lower rate than their Summer Olympic counterparts. The past two Summer Olympics (London and Beijing) saw 34 drug…
The former 100m world record holder tested positive for a banned stimulant last June. The former 100m world record holder tested positive for a banned stimulant last June. Matt Slocum/AP

Asafa Powell may be guilty of doping but he’s also a victim

As Asafa Powell faces the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, we already know his defence – that he was given a supplement called Epiphany D1 by his former physiotherapist, Chris Xuereb, without his…
Some people use steroids to enhance their physical appearance, others to boost their sporting or work performance. Some people use steroids to enhance their physical appearance, others to boost their sporting or work performance. Flickr/Istolethetv

Clean syringe programs must also cater for steroid users

The use of performance- and image-enhancing drugs such as steroids is on the rise in Australia, with more users accessing sterile injecting equipment from needle and syringe programs (NSPs). Between 1995…
It looks likely to be lawyers at ten paces as Essendon and the AFL head to court over the supplements scandal. It looks likely to be lawyers at ten paces as Essendon and the AFL head to court over the supplements scandal. AAP/Julian Smith

Essendon vs the AFL: what are the legal issues?

The only real winners in the whole Essendon drug supplement saga are set to be the lawyers. With all parties “lawyering up” and multiple court actions either under way or threatened, legal eagles will…
The alleged “supplements program” at Essendon Football club raises many questions. The alleged “supplements program” at Essendon Football club raises many questions. David Crosling/AAP

Supplementary reading: why was there no red flag at Essendon?

The notice of charges by the AFL against Essendon Football Club has been published, and we have dealt elsewhere with some of the facts of the matter. But some harder questions remain. What does this list…
Dr Frankenstein created a beast of horrifying power; Essendon just created a shambles. Dr Frankenstein created a beast of horrifying power; Essendon just created a shambles. Image from shutterstock.com

Frankenfooty: Essendon’s mixed bag of supplements

The list of charges by the AFL against the Essendon Football Club for its alleged supplements program makes for compelling reading. Early on in the Essendon charge sheet is this paragraph, which sets the…
Essendon coach James Hird, along with his club and three other senior officials, have been charged by the AFL over the supplements saga. Essendon coach James Hird, along with his club and three other senior officials, have been charged by the AFL over the supplements saga. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The Essendon supplements saga: what you don’t know can hurt you

The idiom “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” usually means the less you know about the possible risks and harms that can befall you, the less likely you are to worry yourself sick about them. The recently…
Anti-doping is about protecting the integrity of sport, but what about the people? Anti-doping is about protecting the integrity of sport, but what about the people? ĐāżŦ {mostly absent}

AFL, NRL – it’s time to move on from anti-doping

With the AFL and NRL “doping scandals” grinding on it seems there’s no end in sight to this saga. But there should be – and soon. Anti-doping will never work and should be replaced with a different approach…
Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. EPA/Dominic Favre

Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?

On the back of an interim report by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) into the Essendon Football Club’s controversial supplements program in 2011-12, the AFL last night charged the club…
Cyclist Stuart O'Grady’s admission to doping is an important moment in Australian sport. Cyclist Stuart O'Grady’s admission to doping is an important moment in Australian sport. Ben Macmahon/AAP

Dopers like O’Grady should pay, even if they’re good blokes

Recently retired professional cyclist Stuart O’Grady is the latest elite Australian sportsperson to confess publicly to doping during his career. He admitted last week to using the banned blood oxygen…
World champion sprinters Tyson Gay (centre) and Asafa Powell (right) have tested positive to the banned substance oxilofrine. World champion sprinters Tyson Gay (centre) and Asafa Powell (right) have tested positive to the banned substance oxilofrine. EPA/Peter Klaunzer

We know Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell … but what’s oxilofrine?

American sprinter Tyson Gay and former 100m world record-holder Jamaican Asafa Powell are reported to be among six athletes to test positive for a banned substance: oxilofrine. But what is this drug that…
Essendon champion Jobe Watson said this week he believes he was injected with a banned substance - but who is to blame for the saga surrounding him and his club? Essendon champion Jobe Watson said this week he believes he was injected with a banned substance - but who is to blame for the saga surrounding him and his club? AAP/David Crosling

Doping in sport: who is to bless and who is to blame?

Essendon captain and reigning Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson has admitted that he believes he was injected with the banned substance AOD-9604. The anti-obesity drug is at the centre of the ASADA investigation…
Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Tejay van Garderen, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador in front of the map for the ‘cleanest tour ever’. But have attitudes towards doping in cycling changed in the past year? Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Tejay van Garderen, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador in front of the map for the ‘cleanest tour ever’. But have attitudes towards doping in cycling changed in the past year? EPA

It’s the first Tour de France since the Armstrong saga – but has anything changed?

The historic 100th edition of the Tour de France, kicking off tomorrow in Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, is being heralded by many as the cleanest Tour ever. This year’s Tour favourite, Britain’s Chris Froome…
Essendon captain Jobe Watson was at the centre of the latest drugs-in-sport scandal this week after admitting he took a banned substance. Essendon captain Jobe Watson was at the centre of the latest drugs-in-sport scandal this week after admitting he took a banned substance. AAP

New anti-doping powers won’t fix culture of drugs in sport

It’s been more than four months since Australia’s “blackest day” in elite sport, with allegations of widespread misuse of drugs and other substances. After several years of high-profile cases of drugs-in-sport…
There may be “health risks” associated with GW501516, but what are they? There may be “health risks” associated with GW501516, but what are they? Hannibal/EPA

Anti-doping agency warns cheats on the health risks of Endurobol

This article was updated on April 12, 2013, and includes responses from WADA and GSK. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has taken the unusual step of warning athletes about the health risks of the banned…
Myths surround the use of polygraph machines. Myths surround the use of polygraph machines. Lie detector photo from Shutterstock.

Lie detectors and anti-doping – who’s kidding who?

Please, sit down. Try not to sweat. Just relax. Now, answer honestly: could lie detectors succeed where current anti-doping measures in sport are failing? If you answered “yes” you are not alone. There…
Unnamed players from the Cronulla Sharks NRL club are being investigated over the alleged use of performance-enhancing drug TB-4 … but what is it? Unnamed players from the Cronulla Sharks NRL club are being investigated over the alleged use of performance-enhancing drug TB-4 … but what is it? AAP Image

Cronulla Sharks and thymosin beta-4 … is it doping?

Fairfax Media reported today that 14 players from the Cronulla Sharks NRL club may be suspended by the Australian Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) for the alleged use of a substance called thymosin beta-4 (TB-4…
Is our current form of hyper-competitive sport transgressive of fair play? Is our current form of hyper-competitive sport transgressive of fair play? Art-Of-2

We’re getting tougher on doping cheats – but why?

What’s the point of anti-doping? And what’s the point of sport in the early 21st century? Is the current system of anti-doping good for our kids, our athletes and is it good for sport? Is it even good…
The interrogation may be mightier than the drug test when it comes to sniffing out cheats. The interrogation may be mightier than the drug test when it comes to sniffing out cheats. Syringe image via www.shutterstock.com

Deny, deny, testify: the power of investigation to catch sport cheats

In terms of its narrative structure, the recent crime commission report on drugs in sport clearly owes a debt to Cluedo. The popular board game opens with a heinous crime: a murder has been committed…
Coach of Essendon James Hird talks with assistant coach Mark Thompson in 2011. Coach of Essendon James Hird talks with assistant coach Mark Thompson in 2011. AAP/Martin Philbey

Essendon scandal a symptom of Australia’s sporting woes

The Australian Crime Commission report released last week, Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport, claims Australian sport, especially at the professional level, has a serious drug use problem. According to…
Australian sport was supposed to be clean. What went wrong? Australian sport was supposed to be clean. What went wrong? AAP/Lukas Coch

Drugs, crime and ball games: how Aussie sport got crooked

The Australian Crime Commission report, Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport, has come as a hammer blow to Australian sport. According to a review of cycling released only last month, Australia is supposed…
An ASADA investigation has been launched into the alleged use of supplements by Essendon players last year. An ASADA investigation has been launched into the alleged use of supplements by Essendon players last year. AAP/Ben Macmahon

Essendon faces a doping investigation … but what are peptides?

By now you’ll have heard the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is investigating Essendon Football Club. At this stage, there has been speculation about the injection of “peptides” by players…
Armstrong managed to “control the narrative” in the past … but what about now? Armstrong managed to “control the narrative” in the past … but what about now? anonymousview

Lance Armstrong, doping and the illusion of control

By using performance-enhancing drugs, even before he was diagnosed with cancer, it would appear Lance Armstrong was obsessed with becoming and staying a winner early on. Indeed, in his two-part interview…
A WADA-authorised amnesty might be a better method of cleaning up cycling rather than simply punishing those who doped. A WADA-authorised amnesty might be a better method of cleaning up cycling rather than simply punishing those who doped. Ben Macmahon/AAP

Australian cycling doesn’t need a strong-arm approach post-Armstrong

Amid the mountains of words written in Australia about Lance Armstrong’s recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, there has been surprisingly little serious debate about what this case means for how we should…
The Armstrong confession tells us a lot about our relationship with the media and sportspeople. The Armstrong confession tells us a lot about our relationship with the media and sportspeople. AAP Image/Oprah.com

Lance Armstrong begins his confession – but why Oprah?

By now you would have heard about Lance Armstrong’s “world exclusive” encounter with Oprah Winfrey. The first half of the two-part interview aired this afternoon (AEST), attracting much attention from…
Lance Armstrong should reveal the dirty business of being a professional athlete. Lance Armstrong should reveal the dirty business of being a professional athlete. EPA/Elizabeth Kreutz

The whole truth and nothing but: what I want from Lance Armstrong

What I want from Lance Armstrong is the unabridged and brutal truth. It’s very simple. I want to know why he doped. Unlike other commentators, I am hoping Armstrong avoids mea culpa and throwing himself…
“It would appear public and elite athletes are opposed to performance-enhancing drugs.” “It would appear public and elite athletes are opposed to performance-enhancing drugs.” Sumit

Testimony vs testing: anti-doping is an imperfect science

Unsurprisingly for a year that’s featured major events such as the Olympics and Paralympics, as well as annual fixtures such as the Tour de France, doping in sport has been big news in 2012. So where do…
Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Review of cycling integrity must consider the lessons of history

Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy’s recent announcement of an independent review of Cycling Australia appears sensible given the local fall-out from the Armstrong case. The minister sees this review “as…
“It’s time to remodel our drugs in sport controls in order to get a proper balance …” “It’s time to remodel our drugs in sport controls in order to get a proper balance …” www.YoVenice.com

Bitter pill: have drug bans in Australian sport gone too far?

Lance Armstrong is the flavour of the month when it comes to doping and anti-doping discussions at the moment, but closer to home there are some real and pertinent issues to debate. Australian government…
Did Armstrong’s decision to dope come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis? Did Armstrong’s decision to dope come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis? STR/EPA

Lance Armstrong broke rules, but it was a logical choice

Had Lance Armstrong nudged one of his Tour de France rivals over the edge of the Alpe d'Huez he would have likely received a less hostile response than he has in recent weeks for breaking a simple sports…
Doping allegations were made against Matt White before he started working for Cycling Australia. Doping allegations were made against Matt White before he started working for Cycling Australia. AAP

Why didn’t Cycling Australia smell the doping stench?

It has become clear over the past two weeks that Lance Armstrong ran the most well-managed and professional doping system ever seen in professional sport. So how did he get away with it for so long? Questions…
Hero to zero: Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal may cause domino effect in corporate support of cycling. Hero to zero: Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal may cause domino effect in corporate support of cycling. EPA/Olivier Hoslet

Rabobank, Lance Armstrong and the future of professional cycling

Yesterday it was announced that the UCI (International Cycling Federation) will back the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) decision to ban Lance Armstrong for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France…
What should the UCI do to move cycling on from the Lance Armstrong affair? What should the UCI do to move cycling on from the Lance Armstrong affair? EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

‘Dopers’ and the rest: a case for splitting professional cycling

More than a week after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) published 1,000 pages of testimony and anecdotal evidence implicating Lance Armstrong in a controversial doping scandal, the saga is still far from…
The Armstrong affair is a wake-up call for those who govern professional sport. The Armstrong affair is a wake-up call for those who govern professional sport. oeflintham

The Lance Bomb has blown, but is doping really cheating?

Should Lance Armstrong lose his seven Tour de France titles for doping, as is being proposed by the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA)? It’s an issue that puts the UCI – the international cycling union – and…
Armstrong has consistently maintained that USADA has been leading a “witch hunt” against him. Armstrong has consistently maintained that USADA has been leading a “witch hunt” against him. Aspen/Snowmass

The Lance Armstrong ‘witch hunt’ is over – and he’s a witch

In June, when the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)’s allegations against cyclist Lance Armstrong were released, I wrote: Armstrong has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, describing USADA’s actions as a “witch…
What does the Armstrong case tell us about anti-doping regulation in sport? What does the Armstrong case tell us about anti-doping regulation in sport? Jasper Juinen/EPA

Punishing doping athletes isn’t a long-term solution

There has been much discussion in recent weeks about Lance Armstrong, his legacy, and charges levelled by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that the Texan cyclist spearheaded a systematic doping…
Common boosting practices by athletes include breaking their own toes. Common boosting practices by athletes include breaking their own toes. Foxtongue

Doping, boosting and other forms of cheating at the Paralympics

Over the next few weeks, the newspapers in Australia and overseas are going to be full of stories describing Paralympians as inspirational role models. Such reports might or might not be true … it just…
Lance Armstong’s decision not to contest USADA charges of doping has done little to quell rumours. Lance Armstong’s decision not to contest USADA charges of doping has done little to quell rumours. Christophe Karaba/EPA

Is the Lance Armstrong affair a race to the bottom for cycling?

Lance Armstrong was no ordinary cyclist. His was a business model that changed the face of professional cycling, perfecting techniques of media management and being the vehicle by which cycling administrators…
The seven-times Tour de France winner looks set to lose his titles. The seven-times Tour de France winner looks set to lose his titles. Gero Breloer/EPA

Lance Armstrong drops his doping fight with USADA – what now?

It seems as if the case against Lance Armstrong has ended not with a bang but a whimper. The American seven-times Tour de France champion issued a statement earlier today, stating that “enough is enough…
Initial suspicions about Nadzeya Ostapchuk’s performance appear to have been well-founded. Initial suspicions about Nadzeya Ostapchuk’s performance appear to have been well-founded. EPA/Diego Azubel

Shot put gold medallist disqualified for doping: so what is metenolone?

The International Olympic Committee yesterday announced that Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the women’s shot-put champion at the London Olympics, had tested positive to metenolone on August 5 and August…
No matter how sophisticated testing is, it can’t catch everyone. No matter how sophisticated testing is, it can’t catch everyone. EPA/Justin Setterfield

How many Olympic athletes are taking drugs?

John Fahey, the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), promised before the London Olympics that anti-doping testing at Games would employ the latest advancements and would be as rigorous as…
WADA is determined to wipe out doping at the Olympics, and to bring public opinion along with it. WADA is determined to wipe out doping at the Olympics, and to bring public opinion along with it. Department for Culture, Media & Sport

More Olympic drug testing than ever, but why do we bother?

From a drug-use control perspective, the 2012 London Olympic Games (LOG) will be the “biggest ever”. Since the Ben Johnson affair at the 1988 Seoul Olympics there has been a concerted effort to secure…
Would it be so bad if a pill that improved athletic performance was available to everyone? Would it be so bad if a pill that improved athletic performance was available to everyone? Dave Campbell

What if doping were legal at the Olympics?

The Olympics is arguably the greatest show of combined physical and mental prowess we’ll ever see. The Games challenge competitors and challenge the watching public to think about the achievements they’re…
The Radioshack-Nissan-Trek rider has retired from this year’s Tour de France. The Radioshack-Nissan-Trek rider has retired from this year’s Tour de France. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

Frank Schleck, the Tour de France and doping: so what’s xipamide?

After the recent re-ignition of allegations against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, many in professional cycling had hoped for a quiet year on the doping front. But, it seems, the Tour…
Lance Armstrong could potentially lose all seven of his Tour de France victories. Lance Armstrong could potentially lose all seven of his Tour de France victories. Jean-Christophe Bott/AAP

Lance Armstrong charged with ‘blood doping’ and EPO-use … so how do they work?

The cauldron of long-standing doping allegations against former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has finally boiled over. The seven-time Tour de France winner is now facing charges from the US Anti-Doping…

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