OpinionProduct NewsDopers Tarnish The Sport For All Of Us

FasterSkierOctober 18, 2003

On October 21st, Canadian Beckie Scott will get her <medal upgrade to Silver or Gold for her performance in the Women’s pursuit race at the 2002 Olympics. 

It sounds like we are waiting for the outcome of a HBO boxing match where everyone knows who the winner should be, but the decision has yet to be made and is in the hands of the judges. More than once, these 'judges' have made the wrong call.

Regardless of the outcome, Beckie won’t experience what was taken away from her. She won’t receive a Gold medal in front of the spectators at the Olympics – and all the glory that comes with it.

Muehlegg stole other athletes’ glory and money

They make a joke of the Olympics, turn the event into a scandal, and they are welcomed back!?

The only real solution, as far as I'm concerned is jail time for the offenders, and not ever a chance to race international competitions again.

Some skiers never got a fair chance

Last week I translated an article about <Norwegian National Team skier Anders Aukland taking second in the Norwegian running Championship. It made me reflect (once again) on the fact that I have seen some US Cross Country skiers over the past decade that also could run fast. They trained hard, made good progress, skied technically well, had a high Max VO2, but came up short in World Cup racing. Today we know to a big degree why — they were up against dopers and never had a chance. Up to 80% of their competitors might have used blood doping or other performance enhancing methods. In my opinion some of our skiers had what it took, did the right training but they were cheated out of ever skiing in the top ten — cheated by racers and coaches with no morals and entire nations with no regards for “fair play” or “may the best athlete win”. In their opinion everything goes as long as you don’t get caught.  

Running and skiing fast has often been going “hand in hand” in Norway. I’m not sure how fast today’s Norwegian National team skiers are running, but back in the nineties the team used to do a 3000 meter running test (on the track) once or twice per season. I remember hearing from then Norwegian Head Coach, Inge Braaten the different skier’s running times. Skiers like Mikkelsplass, Daehlie and Ulvang were running around 8:30 give or take a few seconds. The tallest and heaviest person on the team ran in 9:10. A young skier named Anders Aukland had just been named to one of the teams (not sure which one) — he had posted times under 8 minutes!

Having been involved in skiing and racing in theUS since the mid eighties I can recall several former US National team skiers with good on the track/flat running skills. On the men's side: Audun Endestad, Todd Boonstra, Joe Galanes, Jim Galanes, Ben Husaby, John Aalberg and Justin Wadsworth all could run 8:45 or better. For women: Nancy Fiddler, Nina Kempel, Dorcas Wonsavage and Leslie Thompson were all fast runners. This group and the rest of many Canadian and US skiers that participated in World Cup racing, all trained hard and occasionally captured top-20 results in fields of 70-120 World Cup skiers from all nations. They gave it their all but never made the podium. From what we know today they raced against a field where up to 50-80% of the skiers were cheating — doping.

I think that the above mentioned skiers were all better that their results indicated. They could also have skied and developed to the next level, the top. But confidence, support and patience wore down when they were up against pills, injections and transfusions.

We suspected, and often wondered how we could train hard all summer and fall, make progress in everything from strength, endurance, technique and speed and then find that that while we had made a 30 second improvement — competitors had made an unbelievable 2 minutes (or more) improvement!

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