Chris Lukezic, Rbk Boston Indoor Games, February 2009,photorun.net.
RBR.com has encouraged USADA and WADA in their development of protocols for drug testing. We have asked them to make sure that their information was solid, that their research was peer-reviewed and that, most importantly, that their investigations are legally solid; they can not afford to loose big cases with shoddy research or relying on gossip or hearsay.
One of the major toxins that performance-enhancing drugs have unleashed onto our sport of athletics is cynicism. Great performances are always suspect, no matter who the athlete is. Is it fair? Absolutely not, but it is, well, quite human. When something like performance-enhancing drugs is spoken about in hushed tones, gossip becomes fact. Rumors destroy careers. It is the cult of personality that engulfs most of modern media.
By making sports
the near-religion it is today, and by anointing athletes with more
accolades, money, prestige, winning at all costs is the lesson being
taught on soccer pitches, track and sports facilities.
should have an important place in the world. It is one of the most
uplifting of human endeavors. Watching someone run, jump, throw, or
doing it oneself, challenging one’s limits, should be part of most
human’s personal journeys. I have noted, that in my modest running
career, my best times from the mile to 10,000 meters
were in races where I was pretty far back in the pack. I always felt
that, the four or five races I won in nearly five hundred races, were
pretty Zen moments. Earning one’s personal bests, in my humble opinion,
is part of the sports’ attraction. I see how people can cheat in sport,
however, that does not mean I either support it or believe that they,
the cheaters, actually appreciate how they have brought toxins to the
sport that they claim to love.
Performance enhancing drugs has
nearly destroyed our sport. Tough stands by meet directors,
federations, athletes, coaches, managers have brought our sport back to
respectability. USADA and WADA have taken testing away from the sports
federations, giving testing even more transparency. But, as USADA and
WADA get closer, new drugs come out, and soon, gene therapy will be
available to wealthy families, and federations, who will do anything
for their athlete to win. To me, that is sickening.
has for a decade now, it takes about $100k for an athlete to find an
unscrupulous lab, and an enterprising chemist, who can find a pretty
solid way to beat the system. Cheating and not getting caught is not
cheap. As most athletics athletes are not in possession of such
resources, a focus on athletes at the top of the heap, who have the
resources to cheat, is part of a program that I would encourage to
create an more even playing field, if that is possible. Want drug free sports? Then, talk with young athletes and coaches, about ethics, what is right and wrong.
Drug testing will only go so far, that is why USADA and WADA are
involved in global drug education programs, which I applaud.
concern has always been that USADA and WADA, in fighting the bad guys,
could overstep their bounds. The ends never justifies the means. We
applaud what USADA and WADA have done for our sport. They do a very
needed, but dirty job, in an area that is, on its best days, gray.
However, like waterboarding, poor evidence, thinly veiled threats, only
hurt the cause of drug free sports. Research and resources are key for
USADA and WADA to catch the majority of drug cheats.
No different than the police officer
who sees bad guys day after day, week after week, year after year, and
crosses a line to arrest someone who is has done bad things in the
past, or who they think is guilty of a recent crime. A bad arrest by
USADA or WADA, a case built on weakly reviewed protocols could and
would destroy much of the positives that both organizations have
brought to the sport.
An absurd arrest or enforcement, as has
been done, in the strange case of Chris Lukezic, only makes USADA look
foolish. Sometimes, a little distance and a long deep breath are needed
before one sends out a press release.
in point. Chris Lukezic, one of our top 1,500 meter runners in the past
half decade, retired November 11, 2009. On that day, November 11, Chris
announced his retirement to the media, which was picked up by many in
the running media. Lukezic was well liked, and had
strong fan support. Lukesic also updated USATF on his decision. I have to admit that I was sad, as I enjoyed watching Chris race and felt he had more fast miles to run. Chris had found something new to put his enormous energy into: a travel start-up. And he was off!
USADA does not read the running media, as they showed up at the home of
Chris Lukezic five months later. On April 20, 2010, five months after
his retirement, USADA demanded that he urinate into a cup, as part of a drug
test for an athlete who they thought was active, but who had, in fact, retired.
Lukezic is prone to self-analysis. Hell, the guy ran 3:33.28, so
perhaps it was too much oxygen on the brain. As Lukezic saw himself as
non-elite athlete, he refused to take the test. Now, you arm-chair
quarterbacks are asking, ” Why, Chris, did you not just pee in the
little plastic cup and get it over with?” Chris Lukezic saw himself as
a private citizen, and he did not see himself as the elite athlete
USADA perceived, so he decided to take a stand. RBR applauds his quiet
act of defiance.
USADA, an organization’s whose prime purpose
is to find every sports drug cheat and their support team, does not
have much of a sense of humor. Nor do they appreciate a guy who stops
racing at the world class level and directs all of his energy into an
digital travel start up.
USADA did not appreciate his quiet act
of defiance. They gave him a two year ban. USADA did not notice that
the guy has not competed since the outdoor 2009 season. They claim that
Chris did not file “proper paperwork.” Lukezic claims to have notified
USA Track & Field of his retirement.
Chris Lukezic responded with an official statement on his blog: http://chrislukezic.com/
It is Runblogrun’s belief that USADA has bigger fish to fry than Chris
Lukezic. Lukezic is not a drug cheat.
Seems like a few cyclists are lining up for some new revelations…life is just, well, so absurd.
perfect time for me to start my vacation….note that one, scheduled
rbr piece will be posted daily, from September 3-12, 2010. Off to the