Ans-Belgie-wielrennen-cycling-cyclisme- Luik-Bastenaken-Luik - Liege-Bastogne-Liege- Jorg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros) - foto Cor Vos ©2005
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  • lowlander

    “Stepanova’s treatment at the hands of the IOC and its president, Thomas Bach, is not quite at McQuaid-level of vitriol, but thanks to the IOC ruling to punish only those Russians who have been caught doping previously, she has been blocked from competing in the upcoming Rio Olympics.”

    Is there not a difference between a “whistleblower” who witnesses wrongdoing and reports it under their own initiative and a person who is caught in their own wrongdoing then implicates their co-conspirators? I would not call the latter a “whistleblower”, rather a perpetrator seeking a reduced sentence.

    Perhaps this is me being pedantic, dunno. There should certainly be rewards of an appropriate nature for exposing cheating within sport but it’s hard to say what should happen with revelations that result from a doping conviction. Now, given that Stepanova was posed in 2011 and “served her time” I tend to agree that she should be allowed to compete, because, unlike other previously caught Russian athletes, she did something for the betterment of the sport. Murky issue for sure.

    • Landis supposedly only came forward after Lance and Bruyneel refused to give him a job. Manzano was fired before he spoke out. I guess there was a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude with some of these guys.

      When Jaksche confessed all to Der Spiegel he said what he was doing was important for the future of the sport. On the other hand with guys like Di Luca the motivation is obvious in hindsight.

      For the record Stepanova and her husband approached WADA with information at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, again at the 2011 Boston Marathon and at some point in 2012. All before the ban.

      • lowlander

        “For the record Stepanova and her husband approached WADA with information at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, again at the 2011 Boston Marathon and at some point in 2012. All before the ban.”

        Well then, I need to eat my hat.

    • Dave

      > I tend to agree that she should be allowed to compete, because, unlike other previously caught Russian athletes, she did something for the betterment of the sport.

      This is the position of the IAAF, unfortunately now overruled by the IOC.

      We should support the IAAF for being the only organisation showing some real leadership in this Russian farce, but also castigate them for not standing up to the IOC and clearing Stepanova to go to Rio regardless of the IOC’s new position on the issue.

  • Completely agree. I’ve argued on this forum several times that while we push for harsher and harsher sanctions we only provide disincentives. Whether for self-preservation or any other motive, if someone is willing to come forward with quality (rather than specious) evidence of cheating, there must be a level of amnesty, immunity, or at least significantly reduced punishment. Otherwise the cycle only continues and becomes more deeply embedded.

    A continued inflexible and punitive approach only serves to maintain the status quo.

  • Push Bike Writer

    “But who can be considered more credible to speak out than those involved in the activity they are speaking out against?” That’s easy…the CLEAN athletes. It’d be great if more of those athletes stood up against this issue.

    Past dopers who have been caught have a clear self-interest in laundering their tarnished reputations. That may look like a cynical view, but consider for a moment the long history of pro-cyclists who have returned to the fold and prospered after a doping admission or positive test.

    Continuing to give dopers air time because of the mistaken conclusion that their past cheating somehow elevates their credibility is a flawed approach that perpetuates the cycle. It’s time for lifetime bans for doping in sport. One strike, you’re out.

    • I’ve spoken to self-proclaimed clean athletes (I’m not being facetious) about doping encounters before and it’s impossible to make them speak out. There is absolutely no incentive for them to do so and the career they have worked so hard for is on the line. Strict liability doesn’t exist when they speak out. It’s one word against another. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s not as easy as you say.

      • Push Bike Writer

        Fair point Wade. It must be very difficult for the non-doping athletes, in any sport.

        But we can’t rely on the brave individual whistleblowers (dopers or not) to force the biggest changes, even if the system could put in place the whistleblower protections, concessions, and rewards that others here have suggested.

        I think the cultural change needed to tackle the doping issue in sport needs to come from the non-doping athletes, both as individuals (e.g. high profile respected figures, current and retired, anonymous or identified) and as a collective (e.g. through the relevant athlete representative bodies where strong ones exist). And it needs to be supported by a serious and unambiguous official approach by sports governing bodies to doping penalties.

        Unfortunately, at the moment the official anti-doping rhetoric doesn’t match the cultural reality within some sports. Except maybe for a couple of contrary philosophers, most people say they’re against doping. And yet we still see governing bodies / federations / codes / teams / clubs that: leave dopers in positions of influence in sports administration, promotions, and coaching; let some dopers compete again but not others; and celebrate past dopers as heroes.

        And we wonder why the debate on this issue goes around in circles!

    • Patrick Murphy

      “One strike, you’re out” — Would that apply to Simon Yates? Regardless of what happened he is effectively serving a (stupid) doping ban.

  • campbell

    Actually Trade Practices law in Australia has an interesting parallel. If a company is caught breaching trade practices law (ie a rogue employee involved in price fixing etc ) the company gets a certain amount of immunity if it tells the relevant authority soon enough. The other parties get hit with the full penalties. It introduces a certain amount of gamesmanship in that you want to be the first to own up. If the other party owns up first your company gets hit . It would be interesting where there is explicit or implicit acceptance of doping by a team and an individual can avoid sanction by dobbing in the team

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