Thanks for pulling that out for me Trance.
Makes for very interesting reading.
Thanks for pulling that out for me Trance.
Mopak, I don't know who you are, but in any case you speak without knowing anything, and everybody speaks about something doesn't know, must be considered a stupid person.
At first, which is my history of involvment with blood doping when I was in Italy ? Please, do you want to explain when I was involved ? Do you want to ask to the Italian Coaches which was the mentality I always had in coaching and teaching to other coaches (I was in Italy the Technical Scientific Director) ? Do you want to ask to the coaches I formed in every part of the World what I say and what I ask them to do ?
About Nicholas, I continue to think that he was the most pure talent I had in my life. But he is weak of character : when everything is ok, he's very tough with himself, and his training is very hard. But, when there is some problem, his reaction is to quit everything. This happened after his 26'30", when he had a request from Bahrein, but at the end of the season 2003 refused because the Bahreini Federation gave him a Passport with different date of birth (1987) for putting him in Junior Champs next year (same for Kwalia, from 1984 to 1988). So, he quitted training till April 2004, after he wanted to try to go to Olympics, started training again (as Kenyan), but could not compete in Trials because not yet ready (he ran 10000m after Olympics, in Bruxelles, in 27'17"). At the beginning of 2005 he went to Qatar, with letter of no-objection from Athletic Kenya. Before Helsinki (WCh) he was in top shape, may be better than in 2003. During the race, 4 laps to go, he was spiked in his Achilles Tendon, and finished no. 9 in 27'17" jogging (he was always better than Moses Mosop in training, and Moses won bronze medal).
He had 14 stitches and a plastic around his foot. We went to St. Moritz, where we had to Training Camp of Qatar, and he remained for 12 days without moving. After this, a doctor removed the stiches. He started to walk 20' one day, then 30', then 40'. We arrived one week before Bruxelles meeting 2005, and he asked me to run 10000m. I didn't agree, but in any case I asked him to start jogging for 3 days (40' - 50' - 1 hr). When we were 4 days before Bruxelles, Nicholas told me "I feel ok". I told him : I want to be sure that you can run without any risk for your tendon, so we go for some 1000m on track with training shoes. He started with 3'08", running every time faster, and at the end ran 12 times with the last in 2'38".
I told him : Ok, I put you in the race, but Bekele wants to beat the WR, so, please, stay with the second group, because your approach to the race is not the best possible.
And, in the race, after 5000m, Bekele was in 13'10", and with him... Wanjiru and Nicholas ! So, he was till 8 km a little behind Bekele, but jogged the last 2 km, running in this situation 26'51" !
For speaking, I repeat, everybody must know what he's speaking about. Otherwise, the definition is only one :
YOU ARE STUPID.
A friend of mine was talking about Renato's posts. Clearly from the response he had and some of them on here, there are a lot of different views.
I think what mainly Renato is saying is, "A top notch athlete, the very tip top in the world" is very different from even some other world class athletes and does not need to dope. With his comments on the women's steeple I think he is saying there is a huge difference between a 14:40 5k woman (basically a Shalane Flanagan, who has an Olympic bronze) and a Meseret Defar (14:10).
I can understand the main point above that I think he is trying to make for sure.
He may be saying, "doping will not help them as much." which I could be convinced of as well.
If he is saying, "None of the African athletes dope" that is a ridiculous statement. First he does not know what athletes outside of his group are doing. Secondly, I'd argue whenever there is money (or ego or survival) involved, human experience has shown people will cheat. That means Americans, people in Africa, etc.
Pamela Chepchumba tested positive for EPO. That is an example of a fairly good African athlete cheating. Perhaps we could just come up with a list of Africans who have tested positive. I think Renato is saying that none of the tip top East Africans have tested positive and they do not need to dope. It's an argument that can be made.
He seems to say the Moroccans are dirty.
But all Americans are clean, hey?
Do only American spinters cheat - are no American distance runners doping?
You are missing the point some African athletes cheat, but they have far better athletes than certain other countries and far few doping conviction. Furthermore only 3-4 2nd rate Ethiopian athletes have been busted. Don't get into that rubbish about not being tested. They are tested as much as other countries - check the stats
I respect you and your site a lot, its the best, but I will spell the obvious out because it just makes my blood boil listening to this time after time on here:
East African runners are not morally any better or worse than other nations athletes. Their elites are not doping as much as some other nations because they are BORN AT ALTITUDE
Every athlete and every coach knows this.
You can close the gap or even bridge it by living and training extensively at altitude. If you put the top 50 UK distance runners every year out of college and into an EA training camp for a 10 years you would have several sub 13 and sub 27 times
There is a clear pattern in the last 5-10 years of countries of (true) elite distance runners being not born at altitude or of the odd East African runners being away from altitude for too long because they have moved country and are taking a short cut (getting a bit closer to home?) or they are a second rater, PC is a perfect example her track times are not up to elite world level
This list is here but you would have to do a sort by country:
renato is obviously against doping
he coached italian olympic champions like baldini and bordin and they never tested positive and are not suspected of anything
Renato Canova wrote:
NEVER WE SAY THAT 90% OF DOPING HAS THE ONLY EFFECT TO PUT MONEY IN THE POCKET OF DOCTORS / MANAGERS (and may be also Coaches), without enhancing any performance.
I would say it's 100 percent in the pockets of the pharma companies, both for doping and also pharma control of what THEY themselves are doing, the same that they cause medical conditions with their chemicals, then provide the SAME chemicals for remission, such as in breast cancer and other "diseases."
Kenyan elite runners have not been shown to have V02 max values higher than european elite runners yet EPO wouldn't help them?
This is another clear example of ignorance of the problem.
In US you speak too much about VO2 max or "official" physiology, forgetting that any performance is a combination of several factors. Under this poinbt of view, VO2 max cannot be considered a very important factor. For example, the first Marathon runner under 2:10:00 (Derek Clayton, 2:08:34 in 1969) had a very low VO2 max (69), but a particular ability in using a high percentage of it for long time.
And, in any case, it's not true that VO2 max of African athletes is not high.
I want to say you a story, with names and surnames.
When Bengt Saltin and Terrados, in 1995, went to Kenya for their research about the differences between Kenyans and Scandinavians, they had with them Anders Garderud, former Olympic Champion 1976 of steeple, and later Meeting Director in Stockholm. In 1995 there were not mobiles, and in Kenya was very difficult to find and to put together the athletes to test. One of the athletes in their list was Peter Koech, that in 1989 bettered the WR running 8:05.35 just in Stockholm. Peter Koech, 6 years later, was about 20 kg heavier, and Garderud was not able to recognize him, telling to Saltin : "But this is not Peter Koech, he 6 years ago beated the WR in Stockholm and he's not the same person".
Instead, he was the TRUE Peter Koech. He went on the treadmill, without any preparation, and shocked all the scientists, because his VO2 max was the higher ever tested in the World (higher than the VO2 max of Eddy Merckx, till that moment the higher all time).
This fact can clearly show that VO2 max has a genetic orygin, but is not too much important in a top performance. May be that, for who writes books of physiology, VO2 max becomes important because is the easier value to test...
A couple of things:
First, no single physiologic measure, by itself, is determinative of speed over a particular distance. They must all be in balance, without any one being particularly low (no weak link). This has been obvious to everyone involved in physiology, which over the past 30 years has been looking for a magic bullet for improving overall physiologic performance.
Second, the importance of psychological factors arising from socialization cannot be overestimated. The SOCIAL SYSTEMS in African countries need to be appreciated, in order to appreciate what success in a race means to an African athlete. Anecdotally, it is my experience that athletic success MEANS more to some Africans than to any other group of athletes, with the possible exception of Soviets/GDR years ago, China for a period, and currently Japan in endurance running.
Third, elites who are not doped ARE different from general populations, even from "trained" populations, physiologically. It is what, in part, enables them to be elite, so it is somewhat tautological. Elites who are not doped ARE NOT, however, different from other elites who are not doped. To claim that there are regularly "super-elites" who emerge from the general elite pool is fine, but there is no evidence that any one "super-elite" is different from the historic pool of "super-elites", and is therefore some sort of "ultra-super-elite". Belief in the regular lowering of WR's rests on just such an unsupported assumption.
Furthermore, that type of argument can always be taken one step further, with each successive step becoming progressively more absurd--for instance, every once in a blue moon a "mega-ultra-super-elite" would emerge, better than mere "ultra-super-elites", etc., etc., etc.. The very type of argument used leads to irrational results if it is no truncated at some arbitrary level, which arbitrary truncation is unsupportable as a matter of logic.
Fourth, Renato, I personally am not saying that you have personally been involved in doping--I don't know enough about you to say something like that. What I object to is your selective use of "scientific facts" to buttress what seems to be your pre-existing belief about the nature of endurance runners.
You know what? Your belief may actually be correct--but there are many whom you will not convince by using the type of arguments that you do. "Scientific conclusions" are so notoriously narrow, that to get an accurate picture of what a metabolic intervention would do to a particular athlete, that particular athlete would need to be exhaustively studied on a huge constellation of physiologic factors, over a long period of time, and subject to a vast array of control situations. That simply does not happen, even in the closest type of collaboration. The process would be so involved that performance itself would take a back seat to the study thereof.
THAT is why elites don't go for the general stuff, or even proposals for in-depth personal study. They are generally distrusting, because they are already excellent, and they like to find their own talisman--like a particular song, a particular piece of jewelry, chicken nuggets, etc..
If you can convince your runners of your belief, and if such belief benefits them, that is an undeniable benefit of your coaching, and hats off.
But you really should try to keep your coaching secrets more secret.
What has happened to Nicholas Kemboi? I saw no results from him in 2010 and he is only 27 from what I can tell.
Is it possible for him with this talent to get back near the top?
To see Jesus Espana's name on top of Lets run first page telling people that this was a well-known secret makes me laugh. Among his fellow runners in Europe he's not exactly super clean himself. And Martin Fiz, come on!
Renato, first of all I am not making accusations of Kemboi.
But to see a runner produce this progression 28.19, 13.42, 13.42, 13.14, 13.14, 13.01, 26.30 in a short space of time certainly can be viewed as suspicious.
It is an extraordinary progression. It is the sort of improvement that (in my mind) raises concerns and needs further scrutiny to make me feel confident it was done within the rules. Also, due to his low rankings he would have been unlikely to have short notice out of comp testing during that 50 day period. Was he tested during this time?
I am not a stupid man, but I am perhaps "old and cynical".
You were technical/scientific coach in Italy during a period when (still legal at the time) "blood doping" was being used by elites like Cova and Antibo. I would be very shocked if you were not aware of this and did not have good knowledge of what took place. This is not to say that you were a supporter of the technique. It does infer that you would have good understanding of what is involved. This information may give you better insight than many others as to how blood values affect performance.
The fact that Kemboi was keen to change countries weakens the argument you usually offer about Kenyan culture being anti-doping.
Thanks to Trance reposting details, I now have an answer to the question of his training. You have also provided information about other aspects of his career.
Do I remain skeptical? Yes, that is my perogative. The theory of a small sub group of "super humans" seems far fetched.
'But to see a runner produce this progression 28.19, 13.42, 13.42, 13.14, 13.14, 13.01, 26.30 in'
It's amazing how dopers (and conversation on here about them) always come from a country other than your own. Funny how all the American fast times, with iffy progression are legit and others dodgy.
Nobody likes to think their own athletes are dodgy. Take Christine Ohuruogu. I bought into the line about missing the tests (in uk you have to say where you are for 1 hr every day and don't know when testers will turn up) because tracks were closed etc, etc
But i like a bet and started considering the odds on the situation. What are the odds that one the only 3 times training venues where changed that the testers turned up that day. So either she was changing venues a lot or she was at it. Both lead me to the same conclusion, especially when you look at the deteriorating form since
So lets move on to your case Kemboi. Well 28:19* lets see Kenyan maybe someone can find this but I bet he set it in Nairobi at altitude. Then look at his 800m time ok EPO might help a bit but is won't give you 1:46 speed - look at a couple of suspected dopers and how they perform at 800m (or avoided it there whole career - even making up 1 1:42 in training!) Plus Kemboi did 1:47* at altitude (Nairobi) in 2000
The amount of times tested comes out on the IAAF site but they are always up the year after
I don't believe culture has much to do with doping but talent and being born at altitude or at least training extensively at altitude does. To state the obvious EPO or altitude give a similar effect and both will only work up to a certain point. If you tried to train at 15,000 feet it will screw you up
.........an one more thing I can tell a liar a mile off and Renato is not one of them. Sure a doping athlete or coach will say the right things when asked. But you don't see them on running sites time after time sharing there expertise with us muppets for zero pay
Sprint Geezer, I thank you for your post. When you say that to speak about "Scientific conclusions" for my theories is not possible (and I agree, because, how I explained before, NEVER A PHYSIOLOGIST ACCEPTED TO FOLLOW AND TO TEST A FULL PERIOD OF TRAINING FOR STUDYING AND CLARIFYING THE MODIFICATIONS PROVOKED IN THE BODY), at the same time you say that there are no scientific conclusions about the effect of EPO on top athletes, because NEVER THERE WAS ANY KIND OF RESEARCH REGARDING THE INTERVENTION OF PED FORE THIS TYPE OF SUBJECTS. So, is not possible that Scientific Conclusion has one way only.
NOBODY can really know the effect of PED on top athletes and the advantage they can have : they SUPPOSE. But don't forget that there are a lot of mystifiers in the field of medicine and physiology. For example, when we use against doping the fright "for the health of an athlete", I never heard to speak about DOSAGE, that everybody knows fundamental in every process. My mother 81 years old, some year ago, was prescripted to get against her osteoporosis some steroid (costing about 4 Euros for a package of 6 tablets), so I don't think that the assumption of a little dosage of it can be dangerous for the health : you can die because you drink 8 liters of wine, but this is not the reason because the wine is dangerous. In any case, we need to fight against the drunkenness.
So, what we say against doping is, normally, a DEMAGOGIC TALK for creating in the athletes FRIGHT for their health, and FRIGHT for being caught positive in some control, and for convincing people external to the sport that, with doping, we cant have the "pair condicio" (same condition) for all the competitors.
This last statement is a complete bullshit.
Also if this is not fair, NOBODY lives and has the opportunity of the same conditions. If you are a US citizen very talented for running, but you are born 100 miles far from the nearest track and from the nearest coach, probably NEVER you become a runner. If you are a strong Ethiopian, but you live in a time of war against Eritrea and you don't have to eat, NEVER can be competitive. If you have a Club or a Federation investing money in your assistance, you can find technical and medical support, but if you are stronger but without these basic supports, you are alone (what happens to the most part of African runners).
So, it's clear that THE ONLY WAY FOR DEFEATING DOPING IS TO GIVE IN EVERY ATHLETE AN ETHIC VALUE, today lost for a reason of money, TEACHING HIM AND HELPING HIM TO FIND IN HIMSELF ALL THE SOURCES OF HIS POWER.
Under this point of view, is very important to understand the final goal producing top motivation : if is money, you don't have any inhibition to dope yourself, because "the end justify the means". But if is THE PERSONAL PERFORMANCE, if you want to use something external (also legal), YOU GO TO CHEAT YOURSELF. For these kind of athletes, doping is something very far from their mind.
This is the mentality I want from my athletes, and that I try to inculcate in their mind (but several times they already have).
This is because I'm SURE about the clean results of my athletes.
So, I arrive to my point again :
If really the thesis that with PED EVERYBODY can have an advantage calculated in 40" / 1'10" in 10000m, and in 8" in 3000m, DO YOU THINK I CAN BELIEVE MY ATHLETES ABLE TO RUN (not one, but 6 of them) UNDER 26', or SHAHEEN able running steeple in 7'45" ?
If I cant demonstrate that EPO doesn't work, SOMEBODY CAN DEMOSTRATE THAT COULD BE POSSIBLE RUNNING SO FAST WITH ITS ASSUMPTION ?
I know very well that blood doping can work : the matter is WITH WHICH SUBJECTS.
Also your idea about super-elites, is not correct.
It's very clear that, in any event and in any period, sometimes there is some particular talented athlete able to anticipate the normal human evolution.
Can you suppose, for example, that Bolt is an athlete with normal talent, or is part of the sa called "super-elite" ? We speak about an athlete able running without vany training in 21.81 and 48.28 when 15, with little training in 20.58 when 16, becoming WRY with 20.13 when 17 (running 45.35 too), WRJ with 19.93 when 18, still before starting a systematic training.
The difference is that, where the most important "Engine" is mechanical (sprint, jumps, throws), normally it's possible to see the extra-talent immediately, instead in every activity of endurance (where the most important "Engine" is methabolic and bioenergetic) this attitude are hidden, and the real talent is something hard to individuate. For example, the ability (combination between efficiency of the body and high motivation) in training using a very high mileage can produce top results also with athletes that, under the biomechanical point of view, don't have a good talent (expecially in Marathon).
About my coaching secrets, the secret is that there are no secrets. Because, as you wrote "If you can convince your runners of your belief, and if such belief benefits them, that is an undeniable benefit of your coaching, and hats off", this is my way to work, it's clear that my programs WITHOUT this type of education cant work in the same way. And, because I love athletics and I enjoy for the top results of EVERY ATHLETE CLEAN (not only mine), I'm very happy to give a contribution to the development of my and our sport.
At the end, one personal comment :
I think I was lucky, because my passion became my profession. But always I wanted to be free, and the only way for being free is not to be dependent on money. So, for general information, I don't have any economic advantage from managers or athletes themselves if they run fast or not, I'm not in any system, and this allows me in chosing the athletes I can and want to coach. With me, who doesn't have the moral value that are the basis of the human personality, cant train.
Because I cannot be scared, not having any skeleton in my waldrop. And I cannot be bought, because never I looked for money.
Renato Canova wrote:NEVER A PHYSIOLOGIST ACCEPTED TO FOLLOW AND TO TEST A FULL PERIOD OF TRAINING FOR STUDYING AND CLARIFYING THE MODIFICATIONS PROVOKED IN THE BODY), because NEVER THERE WAS ANY KIND OF RESEARCH REGARDING THE INTERVENTION OF PED FORE THIS TYPE OF SUBJECTS
regardless of observation that physiologists haven't studied top-elites, the assertion that that they are in the dark about effect of drugs on them is a nonsense
these subjects are still humans with human physiology, just that some/many parameters are at the end of the binomial distribution
unless these elites possess a totally different physiology (they don't), they too will benefit from drugs but from a law of diminishing returns as their parameters are so elevated anyway :
if a 3'35 guy can go 3'30/31 with epo,etc, then a 3'30 elite guy may go 3'27/3'28 with same drug regime
it is inconceivable epo won't work on a top-elite, but logic dicatates a lesser return for same dosage as a non-elite
Mopak, when somebody wants to discuss with me without accusing (you clearly wrote I was involved), I always am ready. So, I accept your post : you were not stupid, but "a little bit disinformed".
At that time, in Italy I was the National Responsible of Decathlon (1976-1986). I had to fight against the Technical Director of FIDAL (that was my friend), because I refused to put my decathlonists under a SUPPORTING PROGRAM, that everybody understands what it means.
Since I had friends among the group of National Coaches for middle distances (in my Club, I always coached middle distances, from the beginning of my coaching career), I knew (not for direct involvement) that there was a program for auto-transfusion (at that time legal), and I knew also who accepted (Cova, Antibo till Los Angeles 1984, Selvaggio's brothers, Scartezzini, Fontanella) and who refused (Panetta and Mei are the most known).
Apart any moral judgement, I always had several doubts that the practice could work with everybody. For example, Cova never was a front runner, and never liked running alone, but, in 1984, before the reinfusion of his blood (so during an hypotetical period of low shape), ran alone in 13'18" in Finland with the second 30" behind, and in my opinion his shape was the same of Los Angeles.
Speaking with the athletes, I had several versions about the effects of this practice :
MAURIZIO DAMILANO used it once only, before the European Championships 1982, and dropped out, telling me that "never he felt so bad during a race".
SALVATORE ANTIBO, after Los Angeles 1984, quitted completely any practice, and in short time became very much stronger.
MASSIMO MAGNANI, as Damilano, used once before a Marathon, and it was the only time he dropped out...
And we had to see the effects also in other sports : the best Italian swimmer of the period, FRANCESCHI (200m medley), practically enden his career after this practice, before OG 1984.
If I was always against doping, due to my idea of sport and my type of education, these effects gave me still more motivation against every type of practice combined with every type of pharmacs. If you believe in TRAINING, these results after doping, not following a preciuse trend, can provoke confusion, and I want to have a clear connection between what I'm able to build with training and my performance.
So, it's true that in every sport we have athletes doped : but how many doped athletes are not able to improve or, at least, see their performances decreasing, and nobody speaks about this case ? In how many cases doping doesn't work according the project ?
While I cant deny that, with training only, is not possible to have the same results looking at the increase of strength (it's not a case that, in throwing, there are no new WR after 1988, when the controls against steroids became more precise, and the same in all the women events where muscular power has the main role), I continue to deny that blood doping can work AT THE SAME LEVEL with everybody.
For giving an example, if I use an electrostimulator for enhancing the strength of a normal person, it can work, but if I want to better the strength of the WR of Shot Put I have to use something different, because he is already so strong that this practice cant produce any stimula in his muscles.
So, immediately when I became responsible for Marathon and Middle distances in Italy (1987), I started to study, together with the specific section of hematology of the Turin University, the values of blood in athletes, at different level of their personal shape.
At that time, University had a good budget for some research, and to use athletes was the best way for understanding the variations that training can provoke in our body.
At the beginning, we had a lot of parameters. For every athlete, I created a several columns, each one connected with the real shape at the moment, and I could put on the same row the values for the same test. So, I discovered that some value didn't have any connection with their shape, moving without any trend (and in this case, after the first year of researches we cancelled this test), instead there were values with a well precise trend : for example, GROWING THE SHAPE, hematocryte went down.
At the end of this research, we had more clear ideas about WHAT HAPPENS WITH TRAINING ONLY, and I was surprised that, in many cases, the trend through training for going in shape was exactly the opposite of the final goal of doping. HOW CAN I BELIEVE THAT A HIGH HEMATOCRYTE IS FUNDAMENTAL FOR RUNNING FAST, WHEN THE ATHLETES IMPROVING THEIR SHAPE USING TRAINING ONLY BECOME STRONGER WHEN THEIR HEMATOCRYTE IS LOWER ?
In 1998 I started to coach Kenyans and, when they were in Italy, I put them in the project of research. So, we discover again something interesting : for example, kenyans remaining at sea level for three months, step by step changed their blood values, that became similar the values of Italian runners. SO, THE PARTICULAR VALUES OF KENYANS DEPENDS ON THEIR STAY IN ALTITUDE, NOT ON SOME GENETIC DIFFERENCE, for the most percentage.
Having this connection : type of training, shape of the athletes and blood values, I could modify my training in order to use the type of work able to produce better results for everybody.
One of the reasons because the athletes accepted to be tested is that they knew could have some advantage from a research connected with their activity, and this is something that NEVER you can find in any book of physiology.
So, my data are REAL DATA of athletes at different level (but in any case top in their Country), and may be this is not scientific enough, because I never was interested in some publication : I'm a coach and a methodologist, not a physiologist, and my final goal is to see where every athlete can arrive, with his strength only.
But also is not scientific enough to consider the results of a research with some subject, valid for other subjects.
Under this point of view, nobody can contest what I say about what I know, because THESE ARE FACTS.
May be that we must accept that there are many different expressions of the talent.
Nicholas is an unlucky boy, but also, as I described before, weak of character when not fully supported.
He was put out of Qatari National Team in 2007, because didn't have any result during 2006. What really happened, was that, in the month of March 2006 (Nicholas was in very good training because his motivation was at the top), a doctor of Qatar from Bulgaria came to Kenya, for giving to Kenyan athletes vaccinations against sicknesses that, at the moment, practically don't exist. In 10' of time, he gave Nicholas vaccins against Thypus, Yellow fever and Meningitis. Every doctor in his first year of University knows that giving a vaccin can produce some reaction, so NEVER we can give 2 different vaccins at the same time to the same person. The reaction for Nicholas was very bad : he had to go to the Hospital for 2 weeks, after one week had to go again, so practically was in the hospital till the end of April. But, also when he went home, was not able to train : everyday very strong headache, stomach problems, general weakness.
For this reason, he never competed during all the season.
In Qatar, an athlete was not allowed to be injured or sick : the Technical Advisor looked at results, if were no good or no competitions, also if you were the number 2 in the World, you were out of National team.
This could be not a big problem if the final effect was to remain without economic support. But, for a Kenyan-Qatari, the problems were a lot :
a) He lived at home like a clandestine (his Visa lasted 3 months only), not moving from Kenya because not able running
b) He could not have any Visa for going abroad (for example, Schengen), because it was not possible to have the Visa in Kenya, being him Qatari
c) He could not have the Visa in Qatar, because the Embassies (may be Italy, France or Germany) needed to have a letter from the employer, and in this case there was not any employer because, being out of national team, Olympic Committee was no more his employer, so Nicholas couldn't have any opportunity.
For all these problems, Nicholas quitted completely to train for all 2007 and 2008, till October, when I asked him to start again (he needed some money...) also if 12 kg heavier, and I found for him a private solution in Iten, for having again a group around him.
I had to fight a big battle with Qatar for reinstating him in the National Team. At the end, Nicholas had again the Schengen Visa, and went to compete in Utrecht (beginning of June) running 27'41"99. After this, we went to Sankt Moritz with a small group including James Kwalia, and the shape of Nicholas dramatically improved. In WCh of Berlin, I supposed he could run under 27' again.
But his problem is an excess of fragility in his ankles : after the injury during WCh 2005 in Helsinki, he started to use his foot in very bad way, for not feeling pain, and this attitude remained, so we never used spikes in training. In Berlin, after going in front for the first 5 km (13'45", normal pace), he felt a puncture in his peroneal muscle, and had to stop.
This winter again he had problems : teeth in February, malaria in April, so he couldn't be ready for Asian Games (I put Essa Rashed running 27'33" and James Kwalia for helping him) and now is again out of National Team.
I am always confident in the talent of Nicholas, but his fragility cant allow any project.
Thank you Renato for the clarification of your role in Italy. It was not my intent to suggest you were directly involved. I knew you were not direct coach of Cova and Antibo.
Thank-you for your post.
I understand the desire to incorporate the results of scientific investigation into coaching, and I also understand the difficulty of doing so. The role of a coach is a hopeful one, to guide and help mould raw material into a beautiful finished product.
Athletes, no matter where they are from, are subject to control by the hierarchy of which they are one part. They are, especially when young, subject to the requirements placed upon their coaches, meet directors, and so on--no matter where the athlete lives, or where they are from.
As they get older, they become more deeply involved in "the system", and other people in the system have made bigger investments in the athlete, and have more risk associated with the athlete's performance. This includes immediate coaches, sponsors, meet directors, federation officials, AGENTS, etc.. At a certain level, if an athlete wishes to continue to avail himself of the benefits that the system can offer, he has to go along with what the system requires.
Which can be anything, including doping. When an athlete is sub-elite, they can see what elite life is like, it is so close they can taste it. The temptation is there for everybody. Again, even committed coaches are often totally unaware of everything their athletes are doing, at the behest of other parts of the system.
This occurs at all levels, everywhere in the world. Even in children's meets, there are efforts to exclude certain competitors, to falsify ages, to make club or school results look better, to win bragging rights, or to fight for the few preferred places in "the stream" by getting success, and therefore attention and favor, early on.
Such favor even exists in the third world, in the form of food, clothes, a clean bed, a pair of shoes, whatever, even for young children.
So as a coach, you are limited in the role you play, and are limited in the knowledge and power that you have. It is like being a parent--you can always be surprised by your athletes.
And you are absolutely right--like a parent, the best thing you can do is to give your athletes a sense of ethical values, and I agree that is the best way to prevent doping. But there will always be murder, infidelity, and doping, because there can be competing values that are more important to an individual athlete, and because there are errors in judgment made all the time, from some of which it is very difficult to recover.
So, finally, you can NEVER BE 100% CERTAIN about any athlete, including your own; and EVERYBODY is motivated by the requirement of the necessities of life, usually provided through MONEY.
Again, you really should be careful about what you say, because you cannot prove any of it by any means other than by investing it with your personal credibility. Those of us who don't know you judge your credibility by evaluating the validity of the statements you make, which often have no real scientific basis. THAT is what I meant when I suggested you keep your secrets to yourself.
Oh, by the way, I hear that you're an excellent coach. As an ex-good-athlete, I can tell you that my coaches were some of the most important people in my life. I'm sure your athletes appreciate your contribution to their lives. Congratulations, and thanks.
Wow, I can't believe the stir I created. I sincerely apologize for the commotion and please understand that it was meant to be philosophical rant. I admit that I would probably have been the first one in line casting a stone a while back (mainly for egotistical reasons) when it comes to (ab)users of PEDs.
My perspective nowadays is that we should put things into a sober perspective and take the sport for what it is. So here are some of my thoughts to your response to my original post:
"Any ordered system requires regularity and consistency to maintain itself, and needs the power to penalize and/or exclude those who break the rules, for a variety of good reasons that relate to the very maintenance of the endeavor itself".
*Why would allocating the money that currently is being spent on drug tests/drug education to poor starving Africans produce chaos in the sport? I would think that it would increase Joe Schmoe's appreciation for track and field instead. How about this: Let's reduce the monetary incentive for the individual sportsmen/sportswomen and make it truly an amateur endeavor again. Basically there would be smaller incentive to cheat. Let them compete for a charity instead. If you still want to keep the money (including the anti-doping $) in the sport then give it to youth development, health research, positive ad campaigns to promote how beautiful track and field is etc.
"There are those of us who have the maturity to recognize this, and apart from not wanting to suffer individual sanction, see the broader picture and want the endeavor to survive"
*In regards to maturity, if avoiding a sanction is the biggest part for you to not do drugs you fit under the lowest stage 1 of Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development.
*You don't need sports to survive per say. A) Elite athletics is deemed as unhealthy [injuries etc]. B) Regular physical activity combined with a healthy food intake will provide the benefits you are hinting at. C) If you argue that "competition" is a necessary thing/outlet to avoid bigger conflicts such as wars then I partly agree. Wars could be fought on the track, in the field, or in the ring. Perhaps we should let Mike Tyson become the president of the world? Tongue in cheek of course.
*The broader picture I have already pointed out: Sport is fun, but it is still only a game. Why are we so concerned about chasing people that cheat in games? Wouldn't the money be more well spent on other things?
"...we look upon the rule-breakers with disfavor".
I do too, (wo)mankind will not evolve if we always take short cuts. I just think that we have more urgent issues to deal with in our society than spending millions on anti-doping. My sincere apologies to Arne Ljungqvist, who is doing an outstanding job, of course.
"The fact that you don't mind that you may have lost out to some doper points not to your resiliency, but to either your ignorance, your juvenile ambivalence, or to the fact that you don't see sufficient worth in the endeavor to make you feel otherwise".
No, it points to that I am more humane than I was before. How could we treat Ben Johnson like we did in 1988 (or imprison Marion Jones by they way [regardless if lying or not])? Golgata all over again. Get a grip! Put things into perspective.
I would not have been able to live with myself cheating, but if someone else chose to do so then fine. Sports are not on a level playing field to begin with and anyone who claims this is delusional.