WTW: Craig Virgin’s Insight On Drugs At Nike’s Athletics West, RIP Niall O’Shaughnessy, Sarah Sumpter And Cameron Bean, And How Does Alan Webb Stack Up At Karaoke?
September 23, 2015
Our weekly recap – the Week That Was – appears below.
Last week, there wasn’t a whole lot of action of note other than the All-Africa Games (full mid-d and distance results can be found here), the US 5k Road Championships and the Dam tot Damloop 10-miler in the Netherlands, which you can catch up on at the links above. But there was still plenty of stuff to talk about, which we do below.
USADA Defends Its Integrity
Thumbs up to USADA for issuing a 25-page point-by-point rebuttal of the allegations that it was being bought off by prominent boxers. So often in modern society, entities believe the best way to respond to allegations is to simply ignore them. We are breathing a sigh of relief after USADA’s response. As fans of the sport, the ability to believe in the integrity of USADA is critical for us to believe that the anti-doping movement is working can continue to move forward.
Thomas Hauser, the author of the initial allegations, wasn’t convinced, however, as he said that “USADA has yet to explain the medical justification” for not treating Floyd Mayweather‘s dehydration with “several glasses of water.” To be honest, we don’t really care if Mayweather was on an IV or not as it’s not forbidden in boxing – we care very much if positive tests for things like steroids were covered up and USADA says they most definitely were not.
More: LA Times: USADA Delivers 25-Page Rebuttal To Writer’s Article Accusing Them Of Catching Floyd Mayweather Cheating But Looking The Other Way And Giving Him A Retroactive TUE
*Full 25-Page Detailed USADA Rebuttal They powerfully address Hauser’s allegations one-by-one.
*Hauser’s Response To USADA Rebuttal
Message Board Post Of The Week
Every week there are some great posts on the messageboard, often from some very famous people. We’re trying to figure out a way to highlight them on the forum as they happen (with some sort of software upgrade) but in the meantime will feature them in our weekly recap. Below is a great post from two-time World XC champ Craig Virgin.
Former World XC Champ and 3-Time Olympian Craig Virgin Writes About How Prevalent He Thinks Doping Was in Nike’s Athletics West Group In The 1980s
“Of course, everyone knows that (Dick) Brown’s blood monitoring and other physiological testing/evaluation for good health… while training as hard as possible without becoming sick or injured… is only one small step from managing PED usage from a safety/effectiveness standpoint. According to Julie Strasser’s book, Swoosh, and the newspaper article linked above…Dick Brown and other support medical people in Eugene ‘crossed the line’ and got into PED usage/monitoring sometime in the next few years. Based on my own experience with competing against AW athletes…. I would judge that to be around 1981 and later. With the exception of the field event athletes like Wilkens and Feurbach… I believe that everyone on AW from 1977-1980 was probably PED free. But, from 1981 on…. I have my doubts. To include Alberto Salazar’s huge breakthrough year of 1982 in when he set the AR in the 5K, 10K, and marathon… altho he did start to break down and his performances slacked off somewhat by mid 1983. Jeff Drenth’s mysterious death in 1986 (?) after a workout and massage at AW hdqtrs seemed to have been a turning point for AW Eugene….and I also believe that there was an ‘accidental’ fire not long after that which destroyed a bunch of paper office records in the AW office located in the AW hdqtrs. It wasn’t long after then … that it became apparent that AW was being ‘phased out’ in favor of individual contracts only as we led up to 1988 and beyond.”
Below you can find the Virgin’s full post in context.
MB: Athletics West Coach Dick Brown (Admitted to AW Athletes Being on Steroids but) told Suzy Favor she didn’t need to dope (link takes you directly to Virgin’s post, not start of thread). There is a follow-up to that post on what life was like in Athletics West by former American steeple record holder George Malley (aka “malmo” on the messageboards).
Debate / Video of the Week – Who is Better At Karaoke – Bernard Lagat, Shannon Rowbury and Alysia Montaño or Alan Webb?
Last week one of the more popular messageboard threads (MB: Shannon Rowbury, Alysia Montaño & Bernard Lagat Karaoke in NYC) was one that included a link to a video of top pros Shannon Rowbury, Alysia Montaño and Bernard Lagat doing a little karaoke at Coogan’s in NYC after the 2015 Fifth Avenue Mile. If you didn’t watch it, you can do so here now.
That gave us the courage to publish some videos from earlier in the year also from Coogan’s (located a block from the Armory) of American mile record holder Alan Webb doing a little karaoke with his brother after his final race as a pro runner – the 2014 Wanamaker Mile. There is a second video of Webb crowd-surfing after author Chris Lear demanded that those in the bar give Webb a proper send off into retirement.
You can watch both videos below. We were waiting to publish the Webb videos to make sure the statute of limitations had passed for any and all activities from that night but figured since the Lagat, Rowbury and Montaño haven’t been rounded up by the authorities that it was safe to do so now (that’s a joke people, nothing illegal happened).
Alan Webb Karaoke
Alan Webb Crowd Surfs
More: MB: Bolt spends in one night at the bar what most people make in months
*Shannon Rowbury, Alysia Montano & Bernard Lagat Karaoke in NYC
6 Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
#1 – RIP to Niall O’Shaughnessy
“Niall could be considered the George Harrison of the group. He was quiet and a little distant and only stood out by his action and competitiveness when the first chord was played. He was thoughtful and deliberate and was a great friend and ally to those who knew him. Much like George Harrison, Niall was the forgotten member of the Irish milers club; likely because he walked away from the sport at the pinnacle of his abilities at just 24.”
-excerpt from a tribute for Niall O’Shaughnessy by two-time world indoor champ Frank O’Mara on athleticsireland.ie. O’Shaughnessy, who helped start John McDonnell‘s dynasty at Arkansas, where he ran 3:55 for the mile in the 1970s, died last week at age 59. O’Shaughnessy was always thinking long-term and he walked away from the sport at 24 to focus on his engineering career.
#2 Beating A Doping Test Is Pretty Easy To Do – Therefore We Need To Work on Making People Feel That It’s Socially Unacceptable To Cheat
“In a BBC documentary I was a part of, a journalist ordered EPO from China and by simply searching on the Internet, took enough EPO to see massive performance benefits while avoiding raising any suspicion on the latest in anti-doping science, the athlete blood passport.
“Let this sink in for a minute. A journalist who is a recreational athlete figured out how to stay clean against our most sophisticated anti-doping measure. Not someone with reams of doctors or sports scientist behind him.
“A man, simply searching on the Internet.”
-excerpt from an excellent piece written by Steve Magness on the psychology of doping. Magness talks about things he learned from Dr. Dan Ariely’s book on why people cheat and are dishonest, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, and applies them to doping. Magness says the anti-doping fight will never be successful unless it goes after the psychological reasons that allow people to cheat. As Ariely says, “Cheating is not about the probability of being caught, it’s what’s socially acceptable in our circle.”
#3 Seb Coe Has His Dream Job
“This is a dream come true to be able to shape a sport. We should wake up each morning excited to serve, knowing we have the greatest job in the world. We should be very proud that we are working in this sport. It also needs to be fun. I want people to fall in love with athletics for all the reasons we did.”
– excerpt from Seb Coe’s speach to the entire IAAF staff at its headquarters in Monaco.
#4 When They Going Gets Tough, Don’t Quit
“When I crossed the line in the 400 meters I was physically and mentally drained. I had nothing left in the ‘tank.’ The only thing I could think of was to quit. Luckily I did not make an over-hasty decision. I phoned my coach and parents and they encouraged me to hang in there. I am glad I followed their advice because the next day I managed to throw 60 meters in the javelin which was a personal best for me.”
-All-Africa Games bronze medallist in the decathlon, Friedrich Pretorius of South Africa, talking to SuperSport.com after earning bronze.
#5 It’s Important To Always Keep Dreaming Higher
“When you first make your national team, there are two ways to look at it: The first is to think, ‘Yes! I’ve made it!’ and the second is to think, ‘This is just the start.’ I was definitely in the second camp.”
-former UK 400m record holder Derek Redmond talking to Athletics Weekly about the winning mindset and how he prepared for championships.
#6 Drake Might Not Be A Good Potential Boyfriend for Lolo Jones
“Drake likes sex”
-a reply by an Internet user to hurdler LoLo Jones tweeting out that she was interested in the rapper Drake if things didn’t work out with Serena Williams. In case you didn’t know, Jones is a proud virgin.
RIP Cameron Bean and Sarah Sumpter
Niall O’Shaughnessy wasn’t the only member of the running world to pass away last week. In the year 2015, 59 is viewed as a young age to die at, but the sport lost two people in their twenties as former Samford and ZAP Fitness runner Cameron Bean was killed after being hit by a car on a run and former UC Davis All-American Sarah “Stump” Sumpter lost her five-year battle with brain cancer.
Sumpter inspired thousands as both her battle with cancer and an eating disorder had been well-publicized. Being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2010 didn’t stop Sumpter, a California state XC champ and Foot Locker finalist in HS, from earning All-American honors in cross country in 2012. If you aren’t familiar with her story, we highly recommend that you read UC Davis’ tribute to Sumpter here.
Sumpter was a runner at heart. As she said to ESPNW in 2011, not being able to run for the first six months after her diagnosis was extremely hard:
“Running is my religion. It is who I am; it defines me. To not run — I didn’t know how to do that.”
Bean, who was coached by LetsRun.com legend Van Townsend in HS, went from being a 9:01 steepler in college to 8:32 at ZAP. Van’s son, Oliver, has set up a fundraising page to honor Bean with a mentorship program. Thanks to a single $10,000 donation, they have a shot at reaching their $20,000 goal. Donate here.
Sumpter’s family has started a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $50k for a scholarship in her honor.
More on Sumpter: UC Davis: Tribute To Former UC Davis All-American Sarah “Stump” Sumpter Who Lost Her 5-Year-Battle With Cancer
*MB: 25 year old former CA state champ and UC Davis standout Sarah Sumpter loses battle with cancer
*Blog Post on Sumpter By Team USA Minnesota Runner Jon Peterson
*ESPNW article from 2011 on Sumpter’s battle with cancer
*ESPNHS Girl article from 2012 on Sumpter’s eating disorder
*Sarah Sumpter’s college coach, Drew Wartenburg, Remembers Sumpter’s Fighting Spirit
Below you will find our “Recommended Reads” – the stories that most interested us last week. We particularly enjoyed Michael Heald‘s profile of Edward Cheserek for Running Times. It gives you insight into Cheserek the person, which is rare as Cheserek is normally pretty quiet in post-race interviews, and dispels some myths that have existed about Cheserek (he most definitely was not an orphan when he came to the US).
Edward Cheserek: Setting the Record Straight The usually quiet Cheserek opens up about his start in running, leaving his family to come to the US and eventually Oregon and why he doesn’t like doing interviews. And oh yeah, he’s begun the process of applying for US citizenship.
Steve Magness: Psychology Of Doping- Why We’re Fighting A Losing Battle”Magness looks at how and why people cheat and how to prevent it. Magness: “Doping is a psychological issue. It’s not that every person who dopes is evil and deranged. Some are seemingly good people who made a bad choice.”