The Dark Side of Track Part 1- The 90% Phenomenon

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  • Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #14613

    The news of Usain Bolt’s recent 100m world record has spurred quite a bit of heated debate on the forum over the use of drugs in our sport. In the past I’ve gotten involved in these debates quite a bit…passionately protesting that not EVERYONE was on drugs. With the ongoing BALCO fallout and the steady stream of athletes implicated in its wake, one could easily assume that everyone at the elit

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    Daniel Andrews on #70127

    Are these athletes getting busted because these coaches are the biggest drug peddlers?

    Athletes get busted for choosing take PEDs. The coach only matters when the coach is involved with the distribution. If you cheat I hope the athlete is busted and if the coach is involved I hope he gets nailed too.

    Are these athletes getting busted because their coaches are sloppy about hiding their drug use?

    I don’t think some coaches care as much and use the Lance A. defense of we have been tested and never been positive. Now with the recent CAS rulings allowing the use of testing history to identify odd changes in biological markers such as hematocrit so people cannot test with 39 once and the next time it’s magically 49, but under 50 so it’s technically legal or just outrageous swings in epitestosterone and testosterone levels but with legal T/E ratios.

    Are more of these athletes getting busted because they go with a coach who is very good, and in turn makes them very good, which in turn opens them up to more testing and public scrutiny?

    More and more athletes are getting busted because of the myth surrounding these “great” coaches. Look around and the number of “great” 100m coaches and camps is dwindling. Only HSI and the two Jamaican camps remain intact. This opens them up to more testing as governing bodies start to see patterns developing and now they can use historical results to pin a non-analytical positive on an athlete. I do want to put a small disclaimer on this by saying Coaches likely won’t tell an athlete they are doping at first and only waits till coach and athlete have a mutual trust.

    Are there any clean athletes in these camps or should we / could we just assume guilty by association given their past history?

    There are some clean in all camps, or at least a non-clean who doesn’t really know but isn’t good enough and isn’t given a regular cycling of drugs to positive unless tested regularly. They are ones who “legitimize” the coach or they are clean because the cannot be trusted??? (ato bolden and hsi as a possible example).

    Do the top athletes flock to these coaches knowing that they can get the best drugs with these coaches or because they think they are actually the best coaches?

    Sprinters want to win and nothing else matters. That’s the life of the sprinter. If you are a sprinter and you are not winning you start looking for better answers. This doesn’t mean that a sprinter needs to take PEDs, but it means they’ll at least ponder it and start probing for details if they can morally and ethically justify it. Some may not do that and go straight for the drugs. I’ll leave the coaching part to the next question.

    As an extension of the previous question, are these coaches actually good coaches or are their pharmacological practices covering up what would otherwise be fatal flaws in their program design?

    I think some of the coaches are still good coaches who would be able to do fine without having athletes use PEDs, but when it comes down to it performances done with an altered physiology covers up some very fatal flaws in program design. You don’t have to work basic acceleration as much with the androgenic drugs and you don’t need as much generally specific endurance work (tempo) with EPO. You can have a program that only does 60-150m and create gods because they’ll rebuild faster, remodel muscle faster, suffer less fatigue, and even be able to do more work at higher intensities in the next training cycle if the administration and absorption of drugs in this cycle was right on. This is why I don’t believe Bolt or his coach. They focused on higher intensity work longer this training cycle and now that cycle is done after 2 races???

    I think there are some great sprint coaches out there, but I don’t see many of these athletes flocking to Dan Pfaff anymore. Maybe Dan and those like him are only interested in newer post-collegians and don’t want the stain of the current american sprint core on them. Just please don’t tell me John Drummond’s the next great sprinting coach!

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    davan on #70144

    If you think Dan’s guys were any different than the guys now, you know less than I thought you did.

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #70145

    The questions posed specifically address issues like that. I’d be interested to hear your responses to the actual questions.

    For all the athletes Dan in such a wide variety of events he is not known as a drug coach. The same can’t be said for any other coach with the number of sub 10 athletes to his credit other than perhaps Stephen Francis (who is no where near as prolific as Dan).

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    saltojump5 on #70146

    [quote author="Mike Young" date="1212555420"]
    As an extension of the previous question, are these coaches actually good coaches or are their pharmacological practices covering up what would otherwise be fatal flaws in their program design?

    I think some of the coaches are still good coaches who would be able to do fine without having athletes use PEDs, but when it comes down to it performances done with an altered physiology covers up some very fatal flaws in program design. You don’t have to work basic acceleration as much with the androgenic drugs and you don’t need as much generally specific endurance work (tempo) with EPO. You can have a program that only does 60-150m and create gods because they’ll rebuild faster, remodel muscle faster, suffer less fatigue, and even be able to do more work at higher intensities in the next training cycle if the administration and absorption of drugs in this cycle was right on. This is why I don’t believe Bolt or his coach. They focused on higher intensity work longer this training cycle and now that cycle is done after 2 races???[/quote]

    That’s interesting. Jonathan Edwards’ program from 1995 had only 60-150m speed work (no basic acceleration 10m-40m, besides occasional runway work, as well as Olympic lifts). Also, he had virtually no tempo for recovery, and most work (aside from occasional circuits) was high intensity. Outwardly, the program design appeared flawed, w/ haphazard administration, and huge gains coming off of 5 months of total inactivity, yet I’ve heard it said he became as fast as Carl Lewis in the last 10m to the board.

    I’m not sure if this relates, exactly, since we’re talking about 100m sprinters.

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    davan on #70147

    Mike, I’m not taking a stab at Dan or any other coach. To think though that his guys are somehow different than the Americans is ridiculous. Remember also that the majority of his great sprinters were non-Americans (Bailey, Surin, Thompson, Ashahara) that trained in the United States and, for a variety of reasons, were not subject to the same sorts of controls that many others that are in the United States are a part of.

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #70148

    Mike, I’m not taking a stab at Dan or any other coach. To think though that his guys are somehow different than the Americans is ridiculous. Remember also that the majority of his great sprinters were non-Americans (Bailey, Surin, Thompson, Ashahara) that trained in the United States and, for a variety of reasons, were not subject to the same sorts of controls that many others that are in the United States are a part of.

    Well none of his other athletes (including world class decathletes, throwers (including a world record holder), and jumpers) have tested positive either that I’m aware of and most of these are Americans. I know that the positive test doesn’t mean much but for having such a lengthy career working with elite levels you’d think that there’d at least be smoke if there’s a fire. The same things can be said about Tellez (Yes, I’m aware of Carl’s covered up positive for a stimulant that is no longer banned). I’m still curious on how you’d answer the original questions.

    Saltojump5-
    Edwards was not as fast as Lewis (or Powell) in last 10m. He was very fast at takeoff but not THAT fast.

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    Daniel Andrews on #70149

    [quote author="dbandre" date="1212566650"][quote author="Mike Young" date="1212555420"]
    As an extension of the previous question, are these coaches actually good coaches or are their pharmacological practices covering up what would otherwise be fatal flaws in their program design?

    I think some of the coaches are still good coaches who would be able to do fine without having athletes use PEDs, but when it comes down to it performances done with an altered physiology covers up some very fatal flaws in program design. You don’t have to work basic acceleration as much with the androgenic drugs and you don’t need as much generally specific endurance work (tempo) with EPO. You can have a program that only does 60-150m and create gods because they’ll rebuild faster, remodel muscle faster, suffer less fatigue, and even be able to do more work at higher intensities in the next training cycle if the administration and absorption of drugs in this cycle was right on. This is why I don’t believe Bolt or his coach. They focused on higher intensity work longer this training cycle and now that cycle is done after 2 races???[/quote]

    That’s interesting. Jonathan Edwards’ program from 1995 had only 60-150m speed work (no basic acceleration 10m-40m, besides occasional runway work, as well as Olympic lifts). Also, he had virtually no tempo for recovery, and most work (aside from occasional circuits) was high intensity. Outwardly, the program design appeared flawed, w/ haphazard administration, and huge gains coming off of 5 months of total inactivity, yet I’ve heard it said he became as fast as Carl Lewis in the last 10m to the board.

    I’m not sure if this relates, exactly, since we’re talking about 100m sprinters.[/quote]

    Interestingly enough I have 2 articles on elastic strength about Jonathon Edwards program for the UK Athletics or Coach. I cannot verify which pubs until later tonight but his Program was very basic and simple, but in that respect Edwards was a true specialist at an event were elastic strength is probably more important than acceleration or even max V. I am certain they went to this program to minimize weight gains common in traditional S&C;programs of the time and prevent injuries caused by his previous program. I actually use some of principles involved in program with my own athletes and I don’t believe Edwards program was flawed. I feel it was different, specialized, and individualized mainly for an elite triple jumper.

    The key difference between Edwards previous program and the one in the articles was it was of considerable less volume, but at high intensities and longer rest periods and not higher volumes of higher intensity work as is discussed by what seems a majority of those caught doping as one of the key reasons they felt compelled to start using PEDs because either they couldn’t keep up with the workouts or they were injured. So the change in Edwards program doesn’t seem to fit what occurs in most traditional doping programs with regards to training volumes and intensities.

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    davan on #70150

    I don’t think all of those coaches are necessarily the biggest drug peddlers. I think the distinction is a lot less clear than you’re trying to make. As I showed in the other thread, the NCAA results are hardly different than some of the most drugged out Olympic finals in history, so you have to either ask yourself if the doping is making that much of a difference OR if it is much more prevalent than you want to believe. I tend to think the latter.

    Also, if a camp is using a similar method, dealer, whatever, it’s unlikely only one athlete is going to get caught with something. If everyone does the same thing and one tests positive, pretty likely everyone else is going to test positive, isn’t it? If everyone uses the same dealer and that dealer is busted, pretty likely they’re going to be named with everyone else, isn’t it?

    Some people probably got careless as well. Actually, if Trevor had never sent in the syringe, none of this stuff would be going down right now and Sprint Capitol along with HSI would be “clear” (no pun intended) for the majority of this drug talk and people would still point to their lack of positives as proof of their cleanness.

    I know Dan is your friend, but again, come on. If you truly believe Bailey or Surin were lifetime clean, what would they have ran on drugs? 9.6mid? They both ran 9.84 “clean” from your perspective… Surely Oba wouldn’t have had all those injuries, since he was “clean” and didn’t use drugs and would have also gone 9.7low or even lower.

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    Daniel Andrews on #70151

    [quote author="davan" date="1212596041"]Mike, I’m not taking a stab at Dan or any other coach. To think though that his guys are somehow different than the Americans is ridiculous. Remember also that the majority of his great sprinters were non-Americans (Bailey, Surin, Thompson, Ashahara) that trained in the United States and, for a variety of reasons, were not subject to the same sorts of controls that many others that are in the United States are a part of.

    Well none of his other athletes (including world class decathletes, throwers (including a world record holder), and jumpers) have tested positive either that I’m aware of and most of these are Americans. I know that the positive test doesn’t mean much but for having such a lengthy career working with elite levels you’d think that there’d at least be smoke if there’s a fire. The same things can be said about Tellez (Yes, I’m aware of Carl’s covered up positive for a stimulant that is no longer banned). I’m still curious on how you’d answer the original questions.

    Saltojump5-
    Edwards was not as fast as Lewis (or Powell) in last 10m. He was very fast at takeoff but not THAT fast.[/quote]

    I respect Dan Pfaff a lot for how he ostracized Marion Jones and even successfully counter-sued her. I think it speaks volumes of him and his moral and ethical principles as a coach. listening to the guy speak and reading his articles he knows his craft and highly individualizes his athletes training. Tellez is another coach who knows his craft and He and Dan seem to have different styles but they are both very basic and highly specific with their training and both have a great understanding of motor learning, motor control, biomechanics, physiology, and can coach anyone at any level at any event. If Pfaff or Tellez either where in the European system they would be coaching juniors or even developmental athletes.

    Mike Young
    Keymaster
    Mike Young on #70152

    Athletes get busted for choosing take PEDs. The coach only matters when the coach is involved with the distribution. If you cheat I hope the athlete is busted and if the coach is involved I hope he gets nailed too.

    The problem is that in most of the most notable cases, CF, Trevor Graham, Remi, the coaches were not only complicit to the offense but were also facilitators.

    More and more athletes are getting busted because of the myth surrounding these “great” coaches. Look around and the number of “great” 100m coaches and camps is dwindling.

    The fact that most of the top runners are clumped in small pools has ALWAYS been the case. It goes all the way back to the mid 20th century (see San Jose State). This is no more prevalent now than before. The main difference is that now the shoe companies are forcing many athletes to a select few coaches.

    Only HSI and the two Jamaican camps remain intact.

    Kersee, Holloway, and Shaver all have very prominent sprint camps.

    Sprinters want to win and nothing else matters. That’s the life of the sprinter. If you are a sprinter and you are not winning you start looking for better answers. This doesn’t mean that a sprinter needs to take PEDs, but it means they’ll at least ponder it and start probing for details if they can morally and ethically justify it. Some may not do that and go straight for the drugs. I’ll leave the coaching part to the next question.

    Are you saying that winning means less to other event groups and as a result they have less inclination to use PEDs?

    I think there are some great sprint coaches out there, but I don’t see many of these athletes flocking to Dan Pfaff anymore. Maybe Dan and those like him are only interested in newer post-collegians and don’t want the stain of the current american sprint core on them. Just please don’t tell me John Drummond’s the next great sprinting coach!

    Are you kidding me? Dan is likely going to send 10+ athletes to the Olympic Games. He has a stable of about 25 Olympic Trials Qualifiers.

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    Daniel Andrews on #70153

    I don’t think all of those coaches are necessarily the biggest drug peddlers. I think the distinction is a lot less clear than you’re trying to make. As I showed in the other thread, the NCAA results are hardly different than some of the most drugged out Olympic finals in history, so you have to either ask yourself if the doping is making that much of a difference OR if it is much more prevalent than you want to believe. I tend to think the latter.

    Also, if a camp is using a similar method, dealer, whatever, it’s unlikely only one athlete is going to get caught with something. If everyone does the same thing and one tests positive, pretty likely everyone else is going to test positive, isn’t it? If everyone uses the same dealer and that dealer is busted, pretty likely they’re going to be named with everyone else, isn’t it?

    Some people probably got careless as well. Actually, if Trevor had never sent in the syringe, none of this stuff would be going down right now and Sprint Capitol along with HSI would be “clear” (no pun intended) for the majority of this drug talk and people would still point to their lack of positives as proof of their cleanness.

    I know Dan is your friend, but again, come on. If you truly believe Bailey or Surin were lifetime clean, what would they have ran on drugs? 9.6mid? They both ran 9.84 “clean” from your perspective… Surely Oba wouldn’t have had all those injuries, since he was “clean” and didn’t use drugs and would have also gone 9.7low or even lower.

    How can you claim the 1984 games as being the dirtiest when in fact it was probably the cleanest of the modern games and the 1980 games in the USSR were almost as clean? Your point about the 1984 games being dirty is invalid when you consider Ben Johnson was clean in 1984 and ran 10.28 for Bronze and 4 years later ran 9.79 dirty for Gold. If anything you should have used the 1988 games with Flo-Jo and BJ as examples, but those times wouldn’t have fit your arguments.

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    davan on #70154

    He wasn’t clean in 1984 you freakin dolt. He had been on drugs already for 2-3 years, by his own admission.

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    Daniel Andrews on #70155

    [quote author="dbandre" date="1212566650"]Athletes get busted for choosing take PEDs. The coach only matters when the coach is involved with the distribution. If you cheat I hope the athlete is busted and if the coach is involved I hope he gets nailed too.

    The problem is that in most of the most notable cases, CF, Trevor Graham, Remi, the coaches were not only complicit to the offense but were also facilitators.

    More and more athletes are getting busted because of the myth surrounding these “great” coaches. Look around and the number of “great” 100m coaches and camps is dwindling.

    The fact that most of the top runners are clumped in small pools has ALWAYS been the case. It goes all the way back to the mid 20th century (see San Jose State). This is no more prevalent now than before. The main difference is that now the shoe companies are forcing many athletes to a select few coaches.

    Only HSI and the two Jamaican camps remain intact.

    Kersee, Holloway, and Shaver all have very prominent sprint camps.

    Sprinters want to win and nothing else matters. That’s the life of the sprinter. If you are a sprinter and you are not winning you start looking for better answers. This doesn’t mean that a sprinter needs to take PEDs, but it means they’ll at least ponder it and start probing for details if they can morally and ethically justify it. Some may not do that and go straight for the drugs. I’ll leave the coaching part to the next question.

    Are you saying that winning means less to other event groups and as a result they have less inclination to use PEDs?

    I think there are some great sprint coaches out there, but I don’t see many of these athletes flocking to Dan Pfaff anymore. Maybe Dan and those like him are only interested in newer post-collegians and don’t want the stain of the current american sprint core on them. Just please don’t tell me John Drummond’s the next great sprinting coach!

    Are you kidding me? Dan is likely going to send 10+ athletes to the Olympic Games. He has a stable of about 25 Olympic Trials Qualifiers.[/quote]

    Mike:

    I am not trying to downplay the sprint camps of Holloway, Kersee, and Shaver but they have developed those relationships mainly from their collegiate connections. Not the typical model that HSI and the others use of being agent and coach. Hasn’t Merrit kept a lesser known coach (universally) despite his shoe contract and Wariner was able to severe coaching ties with Hart?

    With regards to Pfaff, I really like what he’s trying with Tiger-Bar and all, but specifically regarding post-collegiate sprinters I didn’t think he had anyone from the US anymore.

    As for sprinters wanting to win, it’s tough to be an elite sprinter without a type A personality. Everyone who competes at least at the elite levels competes to win, but it’s more likely that a person who doesn’t have to win most likely isn’t going to dope and the person who has to win does. Goal orientation and motivation is a big problem as some athletes don’t see a PR as a success despite a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place finish. If the goals and motivations are focused on winning instead say a new pr or something else intrinsic the more likelyhood a person is to cheat. Personally, I see more problems goal orientation and motivation with sprinters than any other event group.

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    Novice on #70156

    Good track and field coaches are scarce. Look at how much talent is lost in the collegiate ranks. The amount of talent at coming out of high schools in the United States is scary compared to other countries Cuba, Sweden, Jamaica, etc. The are very few collegiate programs that display consistent development among their athletes from frosh to senior year. Athletes are taking short cuts to make up for these deficiences.

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