What a surprise…..not!

Yes, I was there when it happened, standing high up in the stadium in Seoul, next to Charlie Francis, when Ben Johnson won his 100 meter final in an unforgettable way. It’s probably the picture and the 100 meter race that everybody around at that time, still knows. But the more impressive, in a negative sense, was the news that Ben tested positive and had to be escorted to the airport. It felt like an earthquake happening.

And the public opinion was clear about the “doping cheater”: from hero to zero in 9.79 seconds, from proud Canadian to dirty Jamaican. What a sinner he was. Even at the time of the Dubin Inquiry most people thought he was the only sprinter in that race who took drugs to enhance his performance. But as the years went by, a different picture evolved, the situation wasn’t as clear cut and clean as many people thought.

First of all from the very start, there was the steady denial of Charlie and Ben of Ben having taken steroids in the time before that race. And there were other strange things happening, one of them was that one of the lab assistants had leaked the story. Another one was the presence of a friend of Carl Lewis, Andre Jackson, not an athlete, doctor or team manager, turning up at Ben’s doping test. A story that is well-known but his exact role never became clear.

In the meanwhile it also became clear that other athletes in that race probably weren’t as clean as they maybe should have been. Linford Christie already tested positive on ephedrine, but got away with that, the suggestion it was in the ginseng tea in the Olympic village. Strange, since for sure, he had not been the only athlete drinking that tea and got tested. But nobody else tested positive on ephedrine.

Other athletes also were suspect of having taking drugs, like Desai Williams (testimony of Dr.Astaphan, the doctor of Charlie’s team), Dennis Mitchell, who in 1998 tested positive on steroids, blaming beer and sex for that positive test. And, of course, Carl Lewis, who was given the gold medal after Ben was stripped from his. Carl Lewis who during the US trials to qualify for the Seoul Olympics had tested positive on banned stimulants, but got away with it, somehow. This raises the question why it is on the banned list, if an athlete like Carl Lewis can take it with any penalty? (good reading about this race: “The Dirtiest Race in History” by Richard Moore or “Speed Trap” by Charlie Francis)

Ben always insisted that test in Seoul was spiked or fabricated. Now last week, the real testing results of that test appeared in the press. And guess what…. it shows at least that the test results were tinkered with in a totally unacceptable way. The original computerized finding of oxandrolone, a completely different molecular structure from stanozolol, was scratched out and replaced by a handwritten: stanozolol. On top of that, Ben’s lab code on the report was change by handwriting. Another question to as is why the officials kept this report a well-guarded secret form 30 years, if nothing was wrong?

Now you might think this is an exceptional case, but it turns out not to be. In the days before the Seoul Olympic Belgian marathon runner Ria van Landeghem tested positive on ……. Oxandrolon and was stopped from competing at the Olympics in Seoul. Just three years ago, also she had her test results reviewed by lab technicians, who have worked at accredited doping labs. They clearly stated that this finding was wrong!

A recent case is the case of Alex Schwazer, the Italian Race walker and Olympic champion on the 50 km in 2008. He again seemed to have tested positive on testosterone after a 3.5 year ban. He also stated that his test has been tinkered with. True or not, the latest Russian doping lab scandal had without a doubt shown that the whole doping testing procedure is a dirty as some athletes are and subject to manipulation for political or financial gains, for disliking or punishing a certain athlete, or for protecting the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Two things are obvious:
1. the whole story about Ben Johnson stinks like a rotten egg.
2. if you trust the doping tests, the procedures, or the testers and their real intentions, you are or incredibly naïve and brainwashed by the fairy-tales of the anti-doping mafia, or you are plain stupid.

About Henk Kraaijenhof

My name is Henk Kraaijenhof and I started this blog as a random collection of concepts, ideas, stories and events that are important or interesting to me in my work as an international performance consultant in a wide range of fields, and sometimes outside of my work. I will try to post a new entry every 3-4 days. Feel free to comment if you like.
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2 Responses to What a surprise…..not!

  1. Robert says:

    Henk, as a witness and professional, thanks for your professional comment on that!

    According to your explanations, the anti-doping organization seems to be a syndicate, a monopolist, that withdraws from any public control. Am I correct?

    If this would be true, it would have many in common with organized crime….. on the other hand, this is also true for every government and political party: If you are the one who makes the law, you can do criminal things all the time without getting punished.

    At the end it seems that very little has changed since the old corrupt Rome with its Circus Maximus.

    We need more alternative commentatorschip like yours. In the topic of politics there are already more and more people pissed off from those fake news, avoiding main stream media seeking for alternative news. So far, the dirty business of anti-doping remains out of the spotlight.

    Thanks again!

    • Hello Robert, Thanks for you thoughtful and clear comment. Without turning this into a political blog, politics is very predictable and therefore uninteresting I find. The human being, and for sure the modern human being, is easily manipulated through propaganda and misinformation. And the large the scale, the easier it is, like social media and internet, (think goverment-paid troll armies).
      I think your statements are true, very true, unfortunately. Being a bit older than most of my readers, I can step back and see a pattern evolve and become more clear over time. But let’s focus on anti-doping, it started off as an undeniable proper initiative to limit the use of doping in elite sport.

      But have a good hard look at the reality of it, 50-60 years later. You see that anti-doping is hijacked and modified for several reasons, by officials from all levels, national federations, international federations and anti-doping agencies:
      1. to create jobs for a small group of lawyers and sport bureaucrats who are light years away from the daily reality of elite sports, created there own parallel universe and try to impose it on the real world, through misinformation and coercion. Still disguised as the “good cause” and other meaningless expressions like “the future of youth”, “protecting the innocent athlete and their health”, “level playing field”, “fair play” etc. The etrenal fight of “good” against “evil”
      Considering their own behavior and their political manipulations only a few words come to mind, like “grotesque” or “laughable”.

      2. anti-doping generates money, lots of money and profit of course (I am not talking about the officials and doctors like Dr.Gabrielle Dolle, who pocketed millions by covering up positive tests or some of them even blackmailed athletes even with negative tests).

      3.anti-doping has become a way to exert control over sports and its stakeholders, in other words: it’s about power, like always.

      Take your own country, Germany where before 1989, in the former GDR, a state-controlled system of doping use was in place. After the reunification, the maligned communist state needed to be collectively punished for their success in sport and what was more efficient than destroying the GDR’s biggest pride: the GDR sports system. So it was dismantled real fast, their coaches and sport scientists fired, and the guilty punished. The score was settled with a sharp dichotomy: West Germany: good, East Germany: evil.

      But again, historical reality showed that doping use was a frequent in the West and the succes of the West-German athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich and later was not entirely based on beer and Bratwurst. And also here the West-German government turned a blind eye to the use of doping. Later on it also became clear that the anti-doping institute of Donike in Cologne played a suspicious role in the selective detection of positive athletes and until now the role of e.g.the Freiburg Universtity in supporting a doping system has not been clarified, for obvious reasons (so far for transparency).

      Most of the time we only see, hear and read a very one-sided part of this complex issue. For example, anti-doping representatives lecture at the university for students of movement sciences and push their one-side propaganda story, most of the time ignoring the facts or the numbers. So students are not exposed to the other side of the story or thought critical thinking.

      Unfortunately athlets and students are too much engaged in their daily task, studying and training, they cannot spend valuable time in uniting and discussong the rules and regulations that are imposed on them, even stronger, they might get punished for that. If they speak out against the authoritarian rules, they are brandished as potential doping-users, not willing to support the “good”cause. You are with use or you are against us. So the athletes are left with little choice than to follow the crowd.

      But… in the end time will tell where is is going

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