Doping Tests Go Virtual - NYT Article

This isn’t running specific but more broadly applicable to sports. With the lockdown and social distancing measures in place, USADA is drug-testing athletes over FaceTime and Zoom. The NYT article is here

I’m curious to hear what people think about this. My quick thoughts were:

  1. There’s obviously been a gap between implementation of distancing measures and testing coming up to pace with those changes. Former London marathon champ Daniel Wanjiru just got suspended for a violation due to a bio-passport anomaly. Wilson Kipsang is already suspended, so it is anybody’s guess what has been happening the past few weeks.

  2. On the flip side, getting access to banned substances may have also gotten harder so the effects of reduced control may be countered by lack of access to them.

  3. If remote testing becomes affordable and more viable, there should be more testing not just at the national level but at state level and relatively low-key meets to ensure the integrity of sports is maintained bottom up. Ben Rosario (coach of the Hoka NAZ elite team) had a very important point in light of Wanjiru’s suspension that often gets ignored - “Please remember that not only do doped-up athletes change the final results, they change the entire way races are run–making moves that clean athletes have to try and respond to that otherwise wouldn’t be made, etc. It’s sickening.”

It sounds like the process has been thought through carefully, and while it’s still somewhat intrusive, it seems like the sort of thing that would be better in the long run.

Remote testing is probably more vulnerable to being hacked, but the cheaters are always going to be looking for ways to cheat, so it feels like just another variable in that battle of one-upmanship.

I hadn’t realized the extent of what Olympic-caliber athletes had to do before this.