Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Never alone with Metenolone

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  • Russell Brown,

    Ye Shiwen is far from a household name.

    But she has been pulling out incredible finishing laps for a while now, which makes it look less like drug cheating.

    Otoh, the record of Chinese swimmers using performance-enhancing drugs is ghastly. Something like 40 women were banned in the 1990s.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18881 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    According to the Association Against Steroid Abuse (whose website sure does give a lot of information about how to use steroids): “The largest concern for most women and anabolic steroid use is virilization; however, with responsible use this is non-existent in almost all females.”

    The same site also says this, though:

    The largest concern for most women and anabolic steroid use is virilization; however, with responsible use this is non-existent in almost all females. While it can occur, if symptoms start to show, simply discontinuing will see them fade away. This makes Primobolan very beneficial to females as they are able to enjoy a moderate anabolic affect without the nasty side-effects. It is however very important to note, if virilization effects set in there is often no turning back; don’t push the envelope.

    I think Phil Gifford's column today is fairly sound. There were certainly indications that she was doping, and those included her physical appearance. Not her "manliness" or whatever, but her skin tone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18881 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But she has been pulling out incredible finishing laps for a while now, which makes it look less like drug cheating.

    True, but it depends on how significant the difference is this time. I don't believe she cheated but these days I am never surprised when any athlete is caught.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    Otoh, I grabbed this photo from Facebook. It’s the kind of thing that’s been circulating as proof, but it’s very obviously bogus. Her bib in the “before” pic is dated 2011. She did not look like that last year. She looked like this at the Daegu tournament.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18881 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran,

    There was a segment in one of the latest More or less pod-casts about the how statistically significant Ye Shiwen's performance was - sorry, can't remember exactly where in the pod-cast. Turns out that her performance looks like a statistical outlier, but not really a suspicious one when you compare it to other record breaking feats. It was a good discussion of all the various factors they take into account when calculating the likelihood of records being broken.

    Since May 2011 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    that photo is of the Russian bronze (now silver) medallist



    its a pretty bad Photoshop effort I might add

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    Finally, I must only know wonderful people because, while I have seen numerous angry rants about sexist comments directed at Ostapchuk and her appearance, I have not seen any of the comments themselves

    i said the same thing i only saw lots of comments angry over other comments

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Voerman,

    I bet the person in Valerie's camp who gave the Herald the numbers in this story is wishing they hadn't today.

    It's sad that those in the media who were spreading allegations and disparaging remarks even before the event happened will see this as vindication.

    New Zealand • Since Jul 2012 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Otoh, the record of Chinese swimmers using performance-enhancing drugs is ghastly. Something like 40 women were banned in the 1990s.

    Sure, but that means all Chinese swimmers are now to be presumed drug cheats even if there’s absolutely NO EVIDENCE to prove anything of the kind? Awesome Olympic spirit, chaps - because favourites and media darlings don't always win, and the outsider can crush the opposition without Dr. Feelgood automatically being behind it…

    And here's something that gives the sour grapes an even more rancid bouquet. As Russell pointed out to me on Twitter this morning, presuming all Chinese swimmers are 'roided up because that's what those people are like is unstable moral high ground for certain nations *cough* USA! USA! *cough* to posture on. Funny how various nations spend eye-watering sums on people to micro-manage every calorie their athletes eat, every second of their training for YEARS ON END but expect us to believe reading the label on a bottle of cough syrup is an impossible task.

    Finally, I must only know wonderful people because, while I have seen numerous angry rants about sexist comments directed at Ostapchuk and her appearance, I have not seen any of the comments themselves.

    Hadyn: It’s plausible you have a better class of Tweep, but I certainly did get way too much “I knew she was a drug cheat – she looked like a tranny/dyke/lady-dude” b.s. in my feed today. I’m not inclined to link to it for obvious reasons (and I’ve unfollowed & blocked some perpetrators) but it was there. Promise.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11989 posts Report Reply

  • wasabicube,

    Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen was also under suspicion when she swam the final length of her 400m medley faster than Ryan Lochte. The suspicion was raised not so much because she was faster than a man, but because the time was a statistical outlier.

    The BBC take a look at the statistics of Ye Shiwen's world record here and conclude there is no statistical smoking gun.

    Whangaparaoa • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Finally, I must only know wonderful people because, while I have seen numerous angry rants about sexist comments directed at Ostapchuk and her appearance, I have not seen any of the comments themselves

    I tweeted last night that the whole thing makes me sad, because I like to assume that all Olympians are drug-free, and I hate having that (naive) view messed up.

    And at the time it was all "wooo! Val!', which yes. But the Facebook feed I woke up to this morning? "She's a man" "She looks like that kid from two and a half men" etc etc ad nauseum.

    After whining for two weeks about commentators calling athletes "girls" and/or creepily talking about how pretty they are, this is at least a refreshing change. </sarcasm>

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    There is no athlete at the games who looks like a normal person*. They are all freaky mutants and, in part, that's why they are there.

    Indeed. I look forward to when our encouraged exaltation of their abnormality spreads beyond to people exceptional in ways more relevant in modern life than outrunning predators or lobbing rocks. Like geeks. And disabled people.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I am delighted for Valerie Adams that she is to be awarded the gold medal - just a shame that it didn't come with the full trappings of dais, anthem, adulation, etc.

    I am also somewhat humbled by her dignity leading up to this. Sure, she was very upset but she handled herself so well and was so non-recriminatory about & to the woman who has been held responsible for the omission of her name. Nothing of the prima donna there AFAIAC.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Stewart,

    Hear hear.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • jeremy gray,

    Re looking like real people, the bbc has a page here to find your body double http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19050139

    point chev • Since Apr 2008 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    And now:

    Drug Free Sport New Zealand executive director Graeme Steele told APNZ the metenolene steroid, found in Ostapchuk's system, was an old-fashioned doping substance which in comparison to other performance enhancing drugs could easily be detected in testing.

    "There is some validity [and] sense in what she is saying," he told APNZ.

    via NZ Herald

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to Stewart,

    Very much why I like her and especially necessary if an appeal upheld.

    "steroids make you look like a dude"

    Depends on what you think a woman should look like doesn't it. If you don't think musculature fits then perhaps sporting events aren't going to meet your measure.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    That was what sounded fishy to me: that this is a really old-school steroid, that can be detected fairly easily. Why would anyone actually use this for serious competition, when they know that if they win the event they're going to be tested? The state of the art of competitive doping has moved on considerably, and it seems like quite a crude attempt. Then again, if you figured you had nothing to lose and thought it was worth a try, I suppose you might give it a go. Compare Floyd Landis' positive for synthetic testosterone: it's easy enough to detect, but you never know - something might go wrong, they might miss it for some reason, and when you're staring defeat in the face there's a powerful temptation to risk it all on a single throw of the dice.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    As an aside, I once worked with a woman who'd been a competitive synchronised swimmer. She'd only just missed out on selection for her national team. Specifically, the East German national team back in the mid 80s. "At the time, I was very sad," she said about missing out on selection, "but now I just think that I'd have been given so many drugs to take, and I'm glad I missed out."

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to JackElder,

    that this is a really old-school steroid, that can be detected fairly easily. Why would anyone actually use this for serious competition, when they know that if they win the event they're going to be tested?

    This is my crazy conspiracy theory: If she took it and they did detect it in her system then her argument can be "it's so easy to detect, why would I take it?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Oh and before I forget, my conspiracy theory about Caster Semenya at these games:

    Knowing that there would be a hullabaloo if she won gold in the 800m, Semenya intentionally tanked and got silver. Still very respectable but she misses out on the inevitable bullshit that would come her way if she won gold.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to Tristan,

    Attachment

    I knew I would find it…

    This is the actual photo that was shopped in the above picture posted by RB

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    What sort of people competed:

    Guardian link to everything you wanted to know about sport v age v height v body mass

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1496 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Phil Gifford on RS about half an hour ago.

    To summarise his words: Belarus is very poor, Ostapchuk doesn't get much in the way of sponsorship dollars (not a pin up model, from a small country relatively speaking, and comes second all the time), and doesn't get much from the government because they don't have much to give. She lost to Adams for about a decade, beat her once in an indoor meet when Adams was at rock bottom due to her marriage break up and falling out with Hellier her coach. Since then Adams was dominating again.

    Gifford theorises that she went back and sat down with her manager and coach and said what the hell do I have to do to beat her.

    She can't engage in sophisticated, state of the art doping because they can't afford it so she goes for the old fashioned stuff. All of a sudden there's big improvements in her throwing distances.

    I think it's worth adding that it was the Belarussian authorities testing her in the same way that our own agencies are testing Adams and other big hopes a lot in the lead up because they want them clean. The Belarussian authorities could have been not testing for the right stuff, or turning a blind eye. It's happened in the US before where their own agencies were turning up positive tests but not notifying anybody.

    And now Ostapchuk is shocked to find that she's been caught.

    There could even be the situation where she was being given stuff that she didn't know about. There was a Kenyan walker (I think, not a runner) who pulled out before the games because he was a mental wreck as he'd been on the juice and he got tested positive anyway. He said that they get pharmacists setting up shop around where athletes train telling them to try this and that, it'll make them feel a lot stronger etc etc and in a moment of weakness, or desparation some of them go down that path.

    A couple of weeks back I went and had a look at Ostapchuk's biggest throwing distances over the last decade or so and she was inconsistent from 2000 (when she went from Junior to adult) to 2008, throwing between 18.13 and 20.51 but generally averaging in the mid 19's.

    Then all of a sudden in 6 consecutive major meetings she throws over 20 metres from 2010 to this year with her best being 20.85 (at an indoor meet in early 2010).

    Then bang, she throws it 21.36.

    Adams herself has said that you make the big jumps in results early on when you are young, then as you get older it's just little tweaks here and there that can make you throw further. For Ostapchuk to suddenly be consistently throwing it at her peak distances and then go close to a metre more than anything she'd thrown in the last two years sets off massive alarm bells.

    Even if she wasn't knowingly taking it she had it in her system so she was benefiting from it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 875 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Women’s bodies are so freakin problematic. Are we attractive enough? Did we do our hair right? Are we showing too much flesh? How much is too much?

    And back here in NZ, the very word “vagina” provokes complaints.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3447 posts Report Reply

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