I found the long form article to be very interesting. As someone who has done an extensive amount of chemistry research in college, previously worked for a pharmaceutical company in analytical chemistry, and is currently in medical school studying to be a doctor, I was very glad to read about the Shelby topic from the perspective of the scientific evidence and not people’s feelings on the matter. I only wish you kept the full 9000 word count! The article was well written and I thought it explained the inherently technical aspects of this case in a way is consumable for people without as much experience. The Q&A is of course designed to be less technical. And when you have this intention, of course the questions will focus more on thoughts and feelings and less on fact. I would encourage everyone to read the more technical article and not just the Q&A.
I'm glad to see some real analysis by someone with credentials contributing to the site. You can disagree with Tucker, but you know that he speaks from a position of knowledge and experience, unlike Twoggle, who was the main LRC source for Shelby's defense.
I've always believed that Houlihan is guilty but I now wonder whether she is guilty by intent, or guilty by virtue of making a dumb mistake. One theory I think is plausible is that she bought DHEA as a recovery supplement. She was obviously involved in the lifting world to some degree, just look at her change in muscle tone in recent years. When you go down that rabbit hole, looking on forums for recommendations then these supplements will come up. And if you can buy them over the counter, then you might think they're not illegal. She then has the problem that even if she bought this supplement, apparently, her coaches had no idea what nandrolone was so didn't know it was a banned substance. So even her coaches couldn't have stepped in to stop her taking it.
That wouldn't excuse her, she still doped, but the defense would be stupidity rather than malice.
No, my post directly pointed out that despite the assuredness of Tucker's summary (because - shocker - I did read it before commenting), all your follow-up questions were of the apologetic "yeah, but are you really sure?" variety. You've been accused since day 1 of carrying water for Shelby's efforts to cast doubt on the whole process, and each of these questions does the same - even though you already had Tucker's definitive sdummary in hand,.
You may not understand that this line of questioning is heavily slanted and leading to elicit answers that would be beneficial to Shelby. It's also representative of LRC's coverage of this case. But these are all the questions in that Q& A, cut and pasted.
Did CAS Get It Right? Do you ever read CAS decisions and think “100% that person was doping?” Is this one of those cases? Is there any chance Shelby is an innocent victim in this? is there any reason for them not to conduct this study? Could Houlihan hire a lab to conduct it herself? What is the downside in having more data? Why did Ayotte (and, seemingly, Houlihan’s team) totally ignore this? Isn’t it possible Houlihan could have consumed an organ like that and produced a much higher level? In the sports science community, is a three-person study enough to accept the finding as accurate? Or could/should Houlihan’s team have argued this is far too small a sample size from which to draw a meaningful conclusion? Ayotte was not only the director of the lab that analyzed Houlihan’s sample, but she was also AIU’s expert witness in Houlihan’s CAS appeal. Does this strike you as problematic? Should she still be allowed to testify in a case like this? How big of a mistake did Ayotte make in the Lawson case? Are you surprised Houlihan’s team didn’t push back on this or find an expert to discuss potential disruptions to the US pork supply chain, particularly during the COVID year of 2020? Do you feel comfortable with an athlete like Shelby being banned for four years for the amount of nandrolone found in her system with the isotope profile it had? From your understanding of the science is there any way it is food contamination? If Houlihan wants to compete in the next four years, she almost needs to put on a public service campaign and show the science in the decision was flawed. Did anything stand out as flawed? Do you think the sentence should be reduced to 3 years so that she can compete at Paris 2024? If Shelby Houlihan came to you and said I want to prove my innocence, what would you suggest she do? You’ve spent the last month studying this case in-depth. Gut feeling: is Houlihan innocent or guilty?
There are no questions about how definitive the evidence against her was, or the importance of dispelling false claims of evidence, or whether Shelby and her team are wasting valuable time, or whether, in such a clear-cut case, she should be allowed to contnue training with the team. They're entirely about whether Shelby's defense was good enough, could they have done better, and does she still have a chance to win, either in court, or the court of public opinion.
Don't delete posts just because they hurt your feelings - especially if they're true. (waits for this one to get deleted too...)
Thanks for commissioning these two pieces. I had struggled to understand elements of the CAS decision with regard to the 3% delta between the endogenous substances and the 19 NA but these clarified the point beautifully. Similarly on the hair analysis point.
I don't see how anyone can't think after this that she either actively doped or was reckless in taking a supplement that contained it.