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Schoenfelder fails drug test

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Reigning World Cup slalom ski champion Rainer Schoenfelder faces a two-year ban after testing positive for the banned stimulant Etilephrine at the Austrian slalom championship in March.
post #2 of 22
Mmm, this ia a Pandora box that needs to be open, sooner or later. I vote for sooner.
post #3 of 22
I guess the obvious question now is: can Pallander now end up as 2003-04 overall slalom champ?
post #4 of 22
Can we expect athletes to abstain from anything that will enhance their performance? Isn't this a little like asking beauty queens to go without makeup and WonderBras (and plastic surgery, saline implants, Botox and collagen)?
post #5 of 22
mmm, the political weight of the federations will enter the fray....is the Finnish federation more powerful than the Austrian? Will be the Austrians willing to sacrifice a "scapegoat"?
This has nothing to do with the Sport, rather with machiavellan manoeuvering...
post #6 of 22
Nolo, can we expect human beings to refrain from cheating in any area of life? Of course not!

The selfish drive to ascend and prosper is hard wired into us. It ensures our survival as an individual and as a species, and it's influence on our behavior is substantial.

Should we tolerate it?
post #7 of 22
I do not tolerate the use of performance enhancing drugs.

I do not want to create a culture that REQUIRES my children to take drugs to be competitive. I cannot envision opening a bottle of pills and saying to my kid, "Here sweetie! This will help you ski faster!" It is one of the most irresponsible things a parent can do to their children on many levels.

It should never become an acceptable part of any sport, and penalties for such cheating should be very harsh.

What would you do if your child came to you and said that the team doctor wants you to take these "vitamins"?
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
The Austrians are closing ranks and will defend him ...

"However, Karlheinz Demel of the Austrian Anti-Doping Committee confirmed a ban was certainly an option, although Etilephrine was only a stimulant.

“Should the amount of the substance be enough to enable performance enhancing effects then a suspension is justifiable,” Demel said.

Demel seemed to back Schoenfelder's statements, saying “Rainer had told me immediately that he had taken two tablets of Influbene and the results matched the dose. To me, it seems, he has fallen victim to a problem we have been fighting in vain for long. The big pharmaceutical companies don't give precise details on the ingredients of their medication.”

But when you consider that British skier Alain Baxter was stripped of his 2002 Olympic bronze medal after he tested positive for the banned stimulant mehamphetamine when he took the banned substance unwittingly in an over-the-counter nasal decongestant.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by SlalomSkier:
The Austrians are closing ranks and will defend him ...

. . . . .

But when you consider that British skier Alain Baxter was stripped of his 2002 Olympic bronze medal after he tested positive for the banned stimulant mehamphetamine when he took the banned substance unwittingly in an over-the-counter nasal decongestant.
...and the medal went to an Austrian (Benjamin Raich)
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by BigE:
I do not tolerate the use of performance enhancing drugs.

I do not want to create a culture that REQUIRES my children to take drugs to be competitive. I cannot envision opening a bottle of pills and saying to my kid, "Here sweetie! This will help you ski faster!" It is one of the most irresponsible things a parent can do to their children on many levels.
Very good, BigE, and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is out to help you. From their website comes also a warning about training supplements, that includes this little tidbit of info:
Quote:
All athletes of the Netherlands taking part in the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City were given the chance to have their supplements analyzed for a number of doping substances including stimulants, prohormones, and steroids. Dutch athletes provided sixty nine supplements for analysis. Of the first fifty-five to be analyzed, 25% contained prohibited substances without indication on the labeling or other product information. As yet no product or brand names have been made public. Only the athletes themselves were informed confidentially by the physician of the Dutch Olympic team about the outcome of the analyses.
post #11 of 22
FastMan, I don't support or even condone the use of performance enhancers in sports, but take a look around, watch TV, read a magazine, get your daily dose of spam: enhancement is part of the fabric of modern society. If people other than athletes were banned from their use, the economy might not collapse, but it would stagger a bit. Enhancement is a way to equalize uneven outcomes of the genetic lottery and a way to get extraordinary results out of ordinary people-- isn't that democratic?
post #12 of 22
Nolo,

About as democratic as the East German swim team.

Rob
post #13 of 22
I'm not sure Nolo, in a way equalizing outcomes has a ring of socialism to it.

I hear you though, I believe your exploring the idea of individuals having the right to use personal attribute enhancements, regardless of the nature of the enhancement. My libertarian ears are open to the argument, and grant it a level of merit.

Your right, there is inconsistency in banning enhancement agents for sports performance and not doing the same for physical attractiveness enhancement. Beauty enhancements not only juice up the social life and potentially raise the quality of marriage prospects, they can offer users greater competitiveness in the professional marketplace. In essence, beauty enhancements and sports performance enhancements offer similar competitive advantages.

I think your questioning if one should be harnessed by a spin of the genetic wheel when the ability to improve on the original is available to us. Shouldn't it be our personal choice? Why should those lucky enough to be born with it be granted exclusive possession of it? If there's a personal health risk associated with the use of an enhancement, shouldn't acceptance or rejection of that risk be ours to decide upon?

From an idealistic perspective I agree with that position. The problem comes in the fact that the use by one pressures others to use and thus subject themselves to that risk. And, if there were no restrictions in sport then success in competitive athletics would be reserved for those who choose to use. Are you willing to propagate that situation in honor of an ideal? We seem to tolerate it in the enhancement areas you mentioned. Should we?
post #14 of 22
It's an ethical dilemma, all right, ranking alongside genetic engineering and designer children. You might find "The Case Against Perfection" in the April 2004 Atlantic Monthly of interest, in which the author ultimately weighs in for "giftedness" over "willfulness."

I think the problem is as you say, FastMan, in the threat of an "arms race" type of vicious cycle that a laissez faire policy toward bionic athletics would unleash. However, once Pandora's Box is open, it's hard to call the Furies back.
post #15 of 22
You want to talk about the slippery slope of drugs and sport, read this to see where it can go. At least 5 young promising pro riders have died in the last 3 years, all while asleep and oddly at early season training camps. Under 25 and hearts blow up in their sleep. This is a good read. pro cyclist spills the beans
post #16 of 22
Schoenfelder was tested all season long on the World Cup and came out clean. Suddenly he's going to start doping after the season is over? I doubt it.

Would you be jumping on him if he wasn't Austrian?

He made a mistake. Alain made a mistake. These guys weren't trying to enhance performance, they were trying to combat the effects of a cold. Let it die and go after the guys who are really doping.
post #17 of 22
What happen to the old,I'll do the best with what I've got. Drugs have no part of sports unless it's for healing injuries. They legal drug race horses so they won't bleed in their respiratory tract because they run them so hard. :
post #18 of 22
If you're not taking drugs, you're not really trying.
post #19 of 22
So what's the big issue here--fairness or safety?

I'd submit that fairness is a moral issue and safety is a medical issue.

I'm personally convinced that performance enhancing drugs have no place in competitive sports on safety grounds. But I'm basing that conclusion on my memories of spectacular incidents that are the worst kind of annecdotal evidence.

The moral argument is harder to make--unless you stay confined in the box that simply says using performance enhancing drugs is secretly breaking the rules, breaking the rules is cheating, and cheating is grounds for disqualification. Then, of course, that argument is easy to make. But its also trivial.

There is more power to combining the two--rules forbid using performance enhancing drugs because of their inherent danger, and breaking the rules is a basis to DQ. The problem with that combined argument is overbreadth--all performance enhancing drugs aren't medically dangerous. Incidentally finding a bit of something in an athlete's bloodstream derived from an over-the-counter cold remedy suggest no action deserving sanction, but smacks instead of 'gotcha!' Not only is it unfair to the victim/inadvertent miscreant, it makes a mockery, and undercuts the legitimacy, of the whole rule structure.

It's going to be very interesting to see how BALCO plays out, more in the court of public opinion than legally.
post #20 of 22
[quote]Originally posted by comprex:
Quote:
the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is out to help you. From their website comes also a warning about training supplements, that includes this little tidbit of info:
All athletes of the Netherlands taking part in the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City were given the chance to have their supplements analyzed for a number of doping substances including stimulants, prohormones, and steroids. Dutch athletes provided sixty nine supplements for analysis. Of the first fifty-five to be analyzed, 25% contained prohibited substances without indication on the labeling or other product information. As yet no product or brand names have been made public. Only the athletes themselves were informed confidentially by the physician of the Dutch Olympic team about the outcome of the analyses.
Comprex, thanks for the links!

I'd be very surprised if the composition of major supplements and cold remedies have not already been collected by the higher powered athletic associations trying to keep their athletes from testing positive. IMO it's simply naive to suggest that "they didn't know" what was in it...

After all, it's not restricted to skiing, and each and every athletic group within the country has much to gain in identifying and sharing the information.

Cheers!
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by BigE:
I'd be very surprised if the composition of major supplements and cold remedies have not already been collected by the higher powered athletic associations trying to keep their athletes from testing positive. IMO it's simply naive to suggest that "they didn't know" what was in it...

After all, it's not restricted to skiing, and each and every athletic group within the country has much to gain in identifying and sharing the information.

Cheers!
I suspect you're likely to be right, BigE, and I am still waiting for CCES' coaches' handbook to be (finally!) published.

For my own part, I think somewhat as you do- something like Cytomax is likely to be safer for hormone residuals and prohormones than the steak on my plate.
post #22 of 22
I can't feel bad for the people who get caught up in this and based upon my own experience I can assure you of three points:

#1 These people and the people around them all know what's banned and what happens if they test positive.

#2 These people are not the average individuals who trot to the family doctor when they're ill. These people are attended to by team physicians for 2 reasons: a) so they get the best care possible and b) so mistakes don't happen regarding banned substances.

#3 Stupidity is not an excuse as a result of points 1 and 2.
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