Malcolm Gladwell's latest column is out and about the Shelby Houlihan case.
It's pretty lengthy and takes a while to get to its main point which is the case makes no sense in the burrito story seems so far fetched but also doping with nandrolone seems totally stupid. Here is the thesis.
In other words, if you are an athlete who deliberately uses Nandrolone, you have to be either very stupid or very desperate. Why? Because in a world of regular, random drug testing, you will get caught.
In order to accept the fact that Shelby Houlihan used Nandrolone, then, we need some kind of better explanation for her decision. Is she in fact really stupid—like, really stupid? Or, alternatively, was there some deeper reason why she would have behaved with such reckless desperation?
We need a story. And right now we don’t have a story. The closest we have to a story is the testimony from Houlihan and her running companions that they find the allegations against her totally unbelievable. And with good reason: they are unbelievable. Can you really be a world-class athlete, capable of astonishing acts of self-discipline and effort, and be that much of an idiot? Would a young woman with her career on the line and the Olympics only months away, really engage in a deliberate act of astonishing self-sabotage? I don't think so.
Prior to that, he rips into the burrito excuse as implausible stating, "And last week, when the anti-doping authorities released their full report on the Houlihan case, all doubts about her guilt appeared to be erased."
I couldn't almost read to the conclusion, however, as he started by citing and praising a piece by Alan Abrahamson - the very same piece I spent about 10 minutes criticizing on our podcast yesterday. I thought it was a really ridiculous piece as a) he never asked Justin Gatlin to come clean and b) falsely said federal court transcripts said Gatlin never intended to cheat. That's not true. They said they didn't know how the exogenous testosterone got in his system which is a lot different.
I talked about it at the 1:32:35 mark of our podcast.