2017  // Posts published in 2017

The way, then the lack of will: A story of anti-doping and those who might save it

The history of antidoping can be divided into two overlapping phases. There was once a huge lack of a "way" - inadequate tools to catch doping, leaving antidoping two steps behind the cheats. Advances in science have narrowed this, creating a better "way". This has exposed a bigger problem - a lack of "will". This article describes this, and offers a conceptual solution.

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On the Jamaican clenbuterol positives: A procedural failure and credibility black hole

An explosive new investigative report has revealed that numerous athletes have tested positive when their samples from Beijing 2008 were retested. They include Jamaican male sprinters, so dominant in those Games. The IOC and WADA however did not act, suggesting the cases are all contamination, not worthy of pursuing. How viable is this, and what does it mean for already bottomed-out anti-doping credibility?

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Sports science, marginal gains and common sense

Bradley Wiggins called marginal gains "a load of rubbish" recently, and while his thoughts were poorly crafted and tainted by the context, it triggered an impassioned defence of the philosophy by Matthew Syed. I've always thought the concept trivialized sports science, and was arrogantly dismissive of the realities that there's really nothing unique about it. As a source of competitive advantage in elite sport, it cannot stand. More on that in this piece.

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A thought crossed my mind: Knowledge & confidence, and “feeblemindedness”

Around 100 years ago, the world's leading scientists got together to discuss "eugenics", the idea that we could selectively breed "good stock" for the benefit of the human race. This happened openly, with the support of the USA's judicial system, and looks macabre and horrific in hindsight. It made me wonder about over-confidence, and knowledge, and how experts shouldn't ever profess absolute certainty, on anything.

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Ban the Nike Vaporfly & other carbon fiber devices for future performance credibility

Nike recently unveiled the Vaporfly Elite, the shoe it has been working on to help it break the 2-hour marathon barrier. The shoe incorporates a "spring plate", and is claimed to have significant performance implications. I think the shoe, and the incorporation of spring-like devices in all shoes, should be banned for future credibility of performance. Here's why

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A thought crossed my mind: Injury prevention research & purpose

Attending the 2017 IOC Sports Injury and Illness Conference, it struck me that injury researchers are far more collaborative than those in performance. I think shared purpose is the reason. Here's a brief thought on that.

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The “2-hour marathon” season begins

Kenenisa Bekele kicks off the 2017 Marathon season in Dubai, with what is a potential world record. It's the year of the "Breaking-2" after Nike's announcement last December. This article is an expanded version of one I wrote for an SA Newspaper on Jan 15th, 2017

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