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Is USFSA providing food for US athletes competing in China? They should.

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by barbk, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member


    The Worldwide Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) recently conducted a study and found that 22 of 28 visitors (not athletes, just ordinary visitors) to China came back testing positive for clembuterol, an illegal steroid that Chinese livestock producers apparently use with abandon to put more weight on animals. :scream:

    I'd hate to see any skaters penalized because of this, and I know that they commonly eat at the buffets provided for GP and JGP events.

    This news ought to be a message to the ISU that they should eliminate all sanctioned competitions in China until there is proof that athletes and officials will get uncontaminated food. And until then, the USFSA should do like US Swimming, and bring the food with them.
  2. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    Clenbuterol positives is a big issue in cycling now because Tour de France winner Alberto Contador tested positive for very small levels during the 2010 Tour. He claims it's from eating tainted meat that a trainer brought from Spain, but WADA regulations say any amount of the drug constitutes a violation. There has been some discussion of establishing a minimum threshold, so that trace levels won't result in a positive.

    Some people have been cynical about Contador's claims since the drug is prohibited for livestock in the EU and generally monitored closely. However, a Chinese cyclist was banned for a clen positive and there was discussion at the time that he likely had gotten the drug from contaminated food.

    The drug itself can also have positive benefits for an athlete since it can help develop lean muscle mass.

    I don't think the USFSA provides food, but if I were an athlete, I'd be wary about eating meat in countries where the drug isn't restricted. In Contador's case, his federation believed his explanation and did not impose any ban, but the UCI is appealing to CAS and the hearing will be in August after this year's Tour is completed.
  3. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    Just out of curiousity, what kind of food is the US Swim team allowed to bring with them into China?
  4. sk9tingfan

    sk9tingfan Well-Known Member

    I know that at least for the Olympics, the US sourced all of its proteins.
  5. B.Cooper

    B.Cooper Active Member

  6. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Certain growth hormones that are banned in the EU are allowed in the US.

    Plus there's also antibiotics and loads of other shit used with wild abandon.
  7. 5Ali3

    5Ali3 Active Member

    It's fairly common for most U.S. skaters to bring an entire suitcase of food to China; team support staff is usually responsible for bringing bottled water, but many skaters bring a supply as well. Trying food from a street market is popular pastime post-competition, but not before competition. In addition to concerns about steroids, there are concerns about other contaminants, as well as simple food safety.

    You might not be able to tell from their P.R., but U.S. Figure Skating isn't completely incompetent. The support team for competitions in China is bigger than just about any other competition. Back in the day, when the U.S. usually sent three women, three men, three pair teams, and two dance teams to China JGP, the expenditures for that competition alone could cost more than the rest of the JGP season put together. Team leader, ATL, doctor, PT, U.S. Figure Skating support staff, translators, drivers... And of course, there's relatively high cost of doing business in China. :shuffle: The cost of your plane ticket may not be what it costs you to get out of the country.

    (Right after Beijing, I heard some chatter that Harbin wanted the Winter Olympics. The cost of Beijing to the USOC was just enormous. The food operation, as massive as it was, was just the tip of the iceberg. Central processing in CA instead of on site, essentially a camp hospital equipped to handle major surgeries... It was endless. Someone noted that they're prefer to go to North Korea than have to deal with the, um, "red tape" that was required for the Beijing Games. Of course, I suspect a Pyongyang Olympics would be mighty cheap for the USOC. :lol:)
  8. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Just out of curiousity, what kind of performance enhancing drugs would benefit a skater? Steroids add bulk, and most skaters are fanatic about not bulking-up. So I would think they would avoid steroids like the plague. It's not an endurance sport.
  9. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    Can't the WADA test a skater at any time no matter if they are at a competition or not? I thought I read about an athlete (skater or gymnast) who said they had to tell WADA where they were going on vacation so if their number came up in a random drug test drawing they would need to know where to find them. I can't remember what the penalty was if you refused.

    If I were an athlete I would worry about the kind of aspirin I took or meat I ate. Look at what happened to Larionov and he claimed he just took a pain reliever.
  10. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    Skaters need the same sort of stamina as milers in track. EPO might be useful in making it through the long program.
  11. 5Ali3

    5Ali3 Active Member

    An athlete needs to be at a certain level to be eligible for random out-of-competition testing by WADA, and a lower level to be selected for out-of-competition testing by USADA. And yes, you need to tell either agency where you will be on a given day and even at a specific hour. Technically, if you decide to go to the grocery store to pick up milk, you need to update your schedule. In the last few years, USADA has allowed athletes to select a one-hour block of time where the athlete commits to being at a certain address during that hour, with no need to update outside of that one-hour block. I think almost everyone chose 6-7AM - and yes, a grim-looking individual bearing a urine collection jar will ring your doorbell at 6AM.

    The benefits of banned drugs are more complicated than just "skaters don't want to bulk up." Steroids help muscles recover more quickly; they don't build muscle by themselves, but allow an individual to work out more often and for a longer duration, with a shorter recovery period. That's actually quite useful, especially post-injury or for a skater who needs to gain muscle for a particular skill. Diuretics are used both as masking agents for steroids and to lose weight quickly. But the list goes beyond those sorts of drugs. The day that I retired, my doctor prescribed an asthma medication that I hadn't been able to take because it was on the banned list. For years, ALL birth control pills were on the banned list. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, migraine meds, cold medication, some allergy medications - even Rogaine. The list just goes on and on. There are certain drugs that a skater might want to take to help their long-term training, other drugs that might help short-term training or personal comfort, and others that are totally unrelated to sport. (Last time that I looked at the list, most major birth control pills had been removed.)

    The whole list is available online and I believe USADA also posts a list of which athletes have been tested in the past seven years, searchable by sport, if anyone is interested in exploring the absurdities of having a single banned medication list for figure skating, marathon running, and archery.
  12. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    I'm an endurance athlete and we don't take steroids either. We're all about being lean. :) I think they were tried at one point, but for the most part have fallen out of favor. Doing strength training does make us faster but too many muscles and you negate the speed effects so it's a delicate balance.

    I think this is also true for figure skaters. A certain amount of bulk is good -- you need strength to do jump and lifts. But only up to a point. Because it's not a "more is better" situation, taking steroids doesn't give you an edge. You can get the strength you need just from going to the gym a few hours a week.

    For endurance athletes, common performance enhancing drugs are EPO and HGH (human growth hormone). HGH, in particular, makes you feel like Superman. (It's also supposed to be good for your eyes.) You can make your body spike your HGH naturally by doing a heavy strength session around 5 days out from your event. If you time it right, you wake up the morning of the event raring to go. That's a lot safer than taking an illegal drug.

    For figure skating, it's more common to take things to calm your nerves (many of which aren't banned by WADA) and also to be involved in recreational drugs (marijuana, cocaine). Stimulants, in particular, help some people focus and improve alertness.

    Creatine is also popular among many athletes because it helps with muscle recovery. It's also legal to take. Another legal drug that is helpful for performance is caffeine. It's big in endurance sports as it's definitely been shown to improve performance in various clinical studies, but it's used in lots of sports.

    Even though I am an "age grouper" in my sport and not a pro or elite athlete, I am still subject to possible random drug testing at events so I actually had to start looking stuff up so I wouldn't take things I shouldn't as pain killers or to help with a cold. It's wild.
  13. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. With all of the caffeine I ingest I should be ready for an Ironman!
  14. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

  15. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady Well-Known Member

    Yes, but it's not health that we are worried about, though there is that. It's the danger of athletes getting penalties!
  16. olifaunt

    olifaunt New Member

    I know that most ADD/ADHD medications are controlled doses of amphetamine. I wonder if that's ever caused problems for any skaters during random drug testing.
  17. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Of course.

    But when this thread was posted, I started to wonder if somebody eating a lot of non-organic US American meat and dairy could end up in trouble during doping control if he happened to be consuming products where certain growth hormones were used.

    I guess it's extremely unlikely because we'd have scores of athletes failing doping tests but it's just me thinking aloud. ;)
  18. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Skating at the elite level is an endurance sport, especially under the new IJS. 5 minutes of triples, most of which are performed in the latter half of a program, and exhausting footworks and spins take a lot out of a skater. I think blood doping could really help a skater last through his program, especially at high altitude.
  19. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    Genetic doping is what is "in" at the moment.

    It's impossible to detect and I'm sure loads of athletes are using it.
  20. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

    Steriod type drugs would be useful in dealing with an injury - reducing inflammation to speed recovery after injury. I guess some skaters probably also have Therapeutic Use Exemptions for the steroid type products used for asthma.

    It is prohibited there but apparently that does not always prevent unscrupulous producers from using it. There was some tainted beef seized in Spain just last fall. I think this is also a problem in some of Latin America.

    The issue with Contador is really complicated, in that the levels were so low, it would have been nearly impossible to take a dose that small. It was also so miniscule that it was below the level labs are required to detect. It happens the lab Contador's sample went to was one that can detect these incredibly small amounts, while other WADA accredited labs would not have seen it. IMO, Contador's lawyers should have argued that when WADA has not prescribed a minimum threshold, the test level require for lab certification becomes a de facto minimum threshold. Otherwise, it means that a sample that reads positive in one lab would not be positive at another, which just seems wrong for the reliability and fairness of whole testing process.

    If there was a problem with tainted food at a skaters banquet, then you would probably get more than one skater testing positive and the "tainted food" explanation would be more easily believed. I guess there is still also the problem with food skaters eat at restaurants. I wonder just what kind of testing was done to establish the safe list.
  21. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    I was (and am) pretty horrified at the percentage of ordinary visitors that came back testing positive from visits to China -- that took it for me from a, "yes, I know they have food safety problems" to "whoa -- they have HUGE food safety problems." Add to that the adulterated milk -- which is still happening, exploding watermelons, duck marketed as lamb after being marinated in sheep urine, and plasticized tapioca, my interest in visiting China is rapidly plummeting, unless I do it on the bring a suitcase of bars and nuts method. And meanwhile athletes go and risk their careers if they eat the steroid adulterated food. It does not seem right.
  22. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    No, it's not. Skating is about explosive energy which comes from fast-twitch muscles and not the slow-twitch muscles that are primarily used by endurance athletes. Also, the programs are less than 10 minutes which means ATP production doesn't have time to ramp up like it does in endurance sports.

    Now if they skated for 20 minutes or more, we could talk. :lol: