More Questions than Answers with Christian Hesch EPO admittance: Cheating is still Cheating, by Larry Eder

Christian Hesch, Five Push Ups for EPO? photo by

Christian Hesch has admitted to using EPO, in training, from May 2010 to nearly the present. He has come clean, well, sort of. A member of his club, Nike Team Run LA, found an empty vile and confronted him. The Club then confronted Hesch and insisted he admit his cheating to USADA.

Here are the facts: Hesch used 54 injections of EPO. During that time he ran 74 races, won $40k, and took money from athletes who would have otherwise won without using drugs. He was also, in those 74 races, per the NYT article, not drug tested. So much for drug testing in modest size races. 

The piece in the New York Times is rather thorough (we have linked to the NYT piece below). However, here is my beef: the ban by USADA may not stick, if Hesch's civil rights were violated. We are assured that they have not, but I feel that must be addressed. 

Here is the skinny: We do not know how the club mate found the empty vial. Was it out in the open, or did the athlete go through Hesch's personal property? Ever heard of search and seizure laws? 

A keen observer of this situation sent me a few notes, which I have included in this diatribe. Let's just say that the club mate went through a jacket owned by Christian to find the file, that could violate Hesch's rights. If the club mate went through Hesch's bag, that could constitute illegal search and seizure. 

Taking it to the extreme. If the club told him, after having found the vial by illegal means, well intentioned, but still illegal means, and then told him, tell USADA or else, then that could be seen, by most lawyers, as extortion. 

Hesch says in the article that he originally thought of fighting the ban, but seeing the Lance Armstrong fiasco, he decided against it. USADA has asked Hesch not to race until they give him a two year ban. Hesch is right, if USADA wants to get you, they will use any and all means necessary to get you--that is the lesson from the Lance Armstrong affair. 

That Hesch was not tested, in all the races that Christian has run, by USADA is remarkable in itself. It does not, however, surprise me. Perhaps USADA spent so much money on chasing Lance Armstrong that they could not make too many races around the country to test. Pretty sad, either way. Makes track & field testing, which is the most tested part of sport, and the Marathon Majors, who are using blood testing and did before most, look quite impressive. 

Also, if the club mate, suspecting that Christian was a drug cheat, opened a secured bag, he may have violated Hesch's right to privacy. These are all questions that need to be answered. 

And finally, in reading the NYT piece, Christian Hesch will say that he did not use EPO in his racing EVER. Perhaps he is naive, or perhaps he thinks NYT readers are. Here is the skinny on drug use in sports: like all other drugs, EPO allows one to recover from training, or injuries, so that you can train more, recover faster, and hence, get the one up on the competition. Hesch calculated which races he would run, makes sense, as he was a 4 minute mile and a 1:05 half marathoner. I would see Christian pace making for various races. Cheating is cheating, in the end. 

Christian Hesch, from the first time he put the needle in his arm, was a drug cheat. His use of EPO affected all races in the future and his training was aided. That simple. He may, however, get off on this one, but we will have to see. 

I liked Christian Hesch. Being on the circuit, I would only see him three or four times a year. Seemed like a nice guy. Unfortunately, Christian looked for an easy way back, and as his club mates should have told him: there is no easy way back. 

In 74 races, Hesch made just over $40k. That is not a fortune, but it was won while using a drug banned from our sport. In English, en francais, in any language, that is cheating. Saying that one used drugs in training and not racing is linguistic masturbation. 

Now, any of the good things he did in the sport will be suspect. Not fair, really, but this is the way drug cheating sullies the athlete and the sport. 

2 Comments | Leave a comment

Ugh, Christian is loving this attention he is so CLEARLY starving for. I would like to add that he was also so damn smug while competing on DRUGS. The way he stopped and did push ups before the finish line or when he stuck his tongue out and mugged for cameras before a finish shows what an ego maniac he is. He was rubbing his wins that were due to EPO use in everyones face while grabbing the prize money. There is nothing clever about him, he ran tons of small races and won tons of small prize money because he knew those races didn't drug test. He is a bottom feeder. I am sure people thought he was nice and entertaining, perhaps even semi star on the D-List road circuit-But the truth is he is a cheat and he would probably still be cheating if he wasn't pinned against the wall by his OWN teammates. He might not have won millions like Lance, but he still took wins and money and opportunities away from clean, hardworking athletes.

So true Larry, it really was a sad day.....but perhaps a good day in a way, ensuring that I could never go down that road again. I want to think in my heart that my last dose in march would have been the end of it, but guess what, my track record doesn't support that. I was 3-1 (used 3 times, decided not to once) in the 4 diff instances I’d seriously considered using EPO. 3 to 1 odds that I'd use again, esp if i got desperate. not odds i'd bet on.

This will hopefully be addressed more completely in coming days, but I want to touch on the "didn't race on it" or "only used it to recover from injury." Those quotes are paraphrasings, one of which was written after the fact by an editor who had no involvement with obtaining the interviews. My quote that the "recovery" paraphrasing was lifted from stated that even though "I could use the shitty justification that "I'll never race on it," that's no excuse. It's not banned only in certain circumstances, it's banned before, during, and after races. It's against the rules, I broke them, it was wrong, and i'm going to pay a consequence." that was the quote, markedly diff from the attitude presented with "hesch maintains he never raced on epo, rather used it to recover from injuries." I never used it to recover from injuries, i used it to be beyond normal fitness when my injuries allowed me to return to training, and I stated as much, very clearly. pretty skewed presentation if you ask me. perhaps nothing more than semantics to be fair, but I need to make sure that the public knows that I understand full well that what i did was no diff than what armstrong has done. Was mine on a "lesser" scale? sure, but doesn't make ANY diff, BOTH are cheating, both are against the rules, and both of us will face consequences for our actions. I know that and make no bones about the fact that I ONLY used epo b/c it gave me an edge, to put it lightly. Instead of starting my first week back running, struggling to run 5:20 pace, i'd start back able to run mile reps at 5:00 pace, a week into my comeback. I'd call that a pretty significant benefit. Any claims that I think otherwise are clearly delusional. To essentially lop 4-5 weeks off of your training to get back to racing shape is a HUGE benefit.

As far as your hypothesis about making things go away, sure, I could have fought it. Don't think i didn't consider it, I did. But, in the end, regardless of what I was facing, I wouldn't be able to be happy going forward without ensuring, for my own satisfaction, that i'd never be able to dope again. It's a crappy feeling that gnaws at you, subtle things reminding you of it all the time, even if it's been months since the last injection.....Had I ever been charged, I prob could have beaten it, got off scot free, albeit with some bad publicity, but that's not going to happen, because I want to stand and face what i've brought on not only myself, but my sport, friends and family.

Let me tell you Larry, the last 2 years have sucked, in so many ways. knowing that I was justifying a $#itty behavior to myself, regardless of whether "i'm not racing on it" or not, I knew in my heart that I had a huge advantage every time i returned to competition. A sad side note is that I know if i'd returned each time with hard work, dedicated cross training, and the ethics that my peers hold themselves to, i likely could have done just as well. I've returned from injury multiple times and been hitting 4:45-4:50 mile reps less than a week back, completely clean. Why didn't i just keep being dedicated like before? Being lazy and seriously lacking ethics would be my best answer. I hope that nobody ever repeats the stupidity I showcased so well in the last 2 years of my life, and I hope that my actions will back up my claims that I am looking forward to returning to the life of that "nice guy" you met, and leave the "@$$hole" behind permanently.


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