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Thoughts on Doping in Swimming

Thoughts on Doping in Swimming

We’re 139 days out from the start of the Rio Olympic Games and the swimming landscape continues to change.

Yuliya Efimova will be certainly not be participating.

How many athletes in one sport must be suspended before the entire country is suspended?

Russia currently has 27 swimmers serving doping bans and earlier this year came within one anti-doping violation of being temporarily suspended from competition.

Apparently 28 is the magic number.

Fina, the governing body of world swimming, doesn’t seem to be overly concerned…

“I think there is a problem, but in swimming it is not a big problem,” Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu told BBC Sport.

This coming from the dude who won’t allow an independent review.

As Coach Jon Rudd said,

“If we were to have the level of scrutiny and investigation in swimming that we’ve seen in athletics, then the only people who would be against it would be those who have something to hide.”

This is just the latest bungling from Fina.  I don’t think any one has covered and questioned Fina — especially on doping — more than SwimVortex’s Craig Lord.  His editorial from last summer sums up a lot of Fina’s previous follies Definitely worth the read.

We are never going to stop people from cheating.  The risks are too low and the rewards too high.  But that shouldn’t stop the sport from trying.  Systematic doping and corruption in entire countries must be stopped.

Perhaps a lifetime ban for first offense would help (though the existing rule of a lifetime ban upon a second offense hasn’t exactly been followed).

Kirsty Coventry, member of WADA’s Athlete Committee, said last year,

“I don’t understand why you should get a another chance.”

A lifetime ban upon first offense is probably an easy and effective first step — but it would be a baby step.  Entire countries need to be suspended from competition and the people involved with pumping minors full of drugs need to be criminally prosecuted.

WADA’s Athlete Committee has now been backed by the World Olympians Association to extend the mandate of the WADA Independent Commission to other sports.  That’s encouraging.  So is the International Olympic Committee requesting that selected blood samples from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics be re-tested with the help of WADA.

I just don’t understand why they don’t re-test all the samples.