It is possible for a research paper to have a publication date that does not accurately represent when the paper was truly published. Think of it as getting your April Track & Field News in March or even late February. It is also often the case that small slices of the final paper are sometimes released or shared prior to the full, published paper. That being said, there were other scholarly articles published before 2011 on the potential performance enhancements of l-carnitine. Mixed bag by the way...
On the second point, your story on the homepage started as balanced and I was initially pleased that you took the time to write it, but then it dilapidated quickly from there. I found two things troubling. One was how you referenced an anonymous message board poster, Angry Willy, and his assertion that there is a potential link between Rupp's known and reported medical thyroid issue with l-carnitine supplementation. Whether or not this is true, a balanced reporter would have obtained a medical expert to review the published paper (and how it relates to Rupp's particular medical issue) rather than relying on Angry Willy to do the leg work for you. That part was careless.
Secondly, your time line was inconclusive. If Salazar said they used the legal supplement in 2011 and 2012 and realized it didn't work, why is it hard to believe him in 2013 when he told The Telegraph, “We don’t take that much stuff and everything that Mo takes is from UK Athletics. None of our athletes are on any sports-specific supplement other than beta alanine, which is an amino acid. Other than that, it’s iron, vitamin D and that’s it. You don’t really need anything else.”
You claim your story was valid because the London Sunday Times ran a story about it. Last time I checked, all 27 comments on the Times website (regarding the two stories) lambasted the Times for running such a nonsensical piece of rubbish. Words like "ashamed," "shocked," and "pointless" were directed at the Times for running such gossip non-story. I encourage you to read the comments section. These stories will likely turn out to be an embarrassment for the Sunday Times and they won't approach the subject with a ten foot pole again.
Lastly, Weldon, you ran a headline our your homepage accusing Salazar that he asked his athletes to lie to USADA and WADA. This was gross, negligent error on your part - simply because you failed to read the Times story correctly and were swayed by another anonymous poster on your message board. Since then, you rightly issued a correction - but you should have issued an apology to Salazar.
This was a missed opportunity for Letsrun to bring clarity and fairness to an interesting issue.
Mo Interesting wrote:
No one has yet mentioned something that is very interesting: Alberto Salazar learned about L-carnitine in very short order after the 2011 research paper was published, and he very quickly placed a very large purchase order. Someone must have brought the paper up to Salazar before it was published. It doesn't make sense that he had the time to vet the paper himself.
Actually he ordered it a month BEFORE the paper was published. Paper is in the Feb issue. Order was in January according to Sunday Times.
Now it's possible the paper gets leaked before hand or the journal gets mailed before its official date.
Exactly. It's a non-story.
Letsrun is the e-equivalent of a grocery store rag magazine for runners. Its certainly not a place to go for well-informed/researched news or scientific evidence, and this recent toss is a prime example of why that's the case. The only issue this thread raises for me is why the moderators/creators don't use this forum to raise the sport rather than to spread false information or purposely slant things in such a way that encourages people to tear people/organizations down. Rather than this l-carnitine non-story people should be questioning the value of this immature, uniformed, gossip-laden nature of this forum.
Are you referencing our story on the homepage? I think it is very balanced and we gave the story some context. The Sunday Times a respectable paper in London devoted 2 stories to this. It was on the front page up top on their website. Not sure where it was in the print paper.