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Subject: RE: Will the IOC step up EPO testing like the Tour?
I agree. Testing in Beijing isn't going to be productive. The top athletes need to be frequently tested during the portion of the year they are in hard training -- either on a regular once-a-week basis, or randomly on a surprise basis of twice a month. That will make it much more difficult to dope. Because T&F athletes often train individually and don’t belong to teams as cyclists do, a different testing model is needed.
Due to the expense of testing, not every T&F athlete can undergo very frequent testing, but certainly the top athletes should. There are about 25 T&F Olympic events (including marathons). Surprise testing the world’s top-10 male and top-10 female athletes in each event for 20 times/year would require 10,000 annual tests worldwide. WADA, IAAF, plus the anti-doping agencies of several other countries can together afford to do this number of additional tests. Even at $300/test this amounts to just $6,000 for each top-10 athlete. These top athletes and/or their sponsors could easily cover this testing cost themselves. The financial benefits derived would exceed the testing costs for these athletes if the public became convinced these top athletes are finally clean.
The IAAF also needs to insure that top athletes who go to far-away remote locations to train, will still be located and frequently surprise tested. Top-10 ranked athletes should be banned from further competition until they have submitted to at least 15 surprise tests over the past 12 months.
While 90 countries have some sort of anti-doping program, I believe that only about 7 countries have full fledged anti-doping agencies as exists in the US & UK. Fans have no idea how often top athletes in small counties like Kenya and Ethiopia get surprise tested, if at all or by whom. Until there are clearly defined, rigorous, out-of-competition testing requirements for all the world’s top-10 ranked T&F athletes, fans will continue to look with suspicion at those who are performing unbelievably well. The IAAF needs to take the lead here, as the ICU did in cycling.
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