According to the un-verified Twitter account of Victor Conte –founder of BALCO Laboratories who were caught up in the doping scandal dubbed the BALCO Affair –there is cause for suspicion at the 2012 London Olympics.
Through the account, Conte is insistent that winners at these Games are only urine tested, rather than having additional blood testing. It is stated that “Note: An EPO injection can be undetectable in lt; than 24 hrs. Testosterone gels &; creams can be back below allowable 4:1 T/E ratio in 6 hrs.”
For the man with definitive experience, there is a call for much more testing of blood to be done out of competition. New synthetic drugs can be administered and still be undetectable through urine testing alone. Alongside this, some studies have shown that it is possible to taper off and maintain certain improved results.
This, of course, may be conjecture and it could also be construed as a targeting of the successful. Indeed, as American coach John Leonard suggested that 16 year-old Ye Shiwen of China could well be doping, the disputations began.
It seems as though accusations only surface with specific targets. Had Shiwen been an American swimmer, would the accusations be as strong? For example, if 17 year-old Missy Franklin swam a 50m leg quicker than her male counterpart in the backstroke, would there have been more doubters than hollering supporters?
By the same token, Conte asks questions about a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the 200m final. Warren Weir comes from nowhere to win a bronze, but no public descent is felt. Nijel Amos ran 1.41s in the 800m final, at the age of 18. No one asks questions about either man’s potential ability.
It is a question of balancing prejudices with depth of investigation. It is unfair to only say that those from a poorer African background are just fast, while those that are part of a new super-power can be lambasted despite their age or status.
In truth, it seems much rosier to believe that it is possible for humans to see woman besting men in legs of a swim and for records to crash at almost every Games. The technology is what it is, while the infrastructure of the World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) and their associates can shackle them.
Despite this, if there are even any questions, even if they come from those who enjoyed a murky past and a passing association with scandal, should they not be heard out?
Maybe more screening of blood should take place out of competition and more scrutiny should pass. I’m an optimist, but I am not watching the watchmen as much as maybe I should. Are they watching in the right way?