Gatekeeper for Clean Sports

FasterSkierAugust 19, 2008

This is the fourth article in a series on doping from the Christian Science Monitor. Written by former elite US skier Christa Case Bryant, this piece profiles Don Caitlin, the man who created the test that broke BALCO, and headed the team that caught dopers Johan Muhlegg, Olga Danilova, and Larissa Lazutina at the 2002 Olympic Games. Caitlin is now working on a program to help athletes demonstrate that they are clean.

Read the articles:
Profiles in Doping
For Athletes Accused Of Taking Drugs, A Perry Mason Of Their Own

The back lot behind Barry’s Plumbing doesn’t look like a fitting place for one of sport’s greatest sleuths to set up shop. The narrow alleyway is unmarked, as is the plain brick building — a former clothing manufacturing shop. Google Maps will not get you here.

But then again, fame and fancy office space aren’t what Don Catlin is after. It’s illegal performance-enhancing drugs he’s targeting.

Antidoping czars plead for his help. Dopers dread it. His team was, after all, the one that cracked the designer steroid at the heart of the California BALCO scandal — arguably the biggest doping ring unearthed since East Germany’s program, involving more than a dozen athletes including track star Marion Jones and baseball giant Barry Bonds.

“[Chief BALCO investigator] Jeff [Novitsky] called me one day,” recalls Dr. Catlin, chuckling. “He’s reading me an e-mail that he lifted from somewhere and it said something like, ‘Catlin’s on to it [the drug]. Better move to another one.’”

One of the world’s most respected names in the science of doping, Catlin spent 25 years pioneering a global antidoping model in the Olympic lab at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). He oversaw the Olympic drug-testing labs at the 1984, 1996, and 2002 Games, and is playing a supporting role in Beijing.

Still, despite his success as one of the cleverest cats in a Tom-and-Jerry pursuit of dopers, Catlin has become convinced that the paradigm on which he based his work for two decades is faulty: It’s the clean athletes — not the dirty ones — who deserve his services.

Read the full article on the Christian Science Monitor website:
Gatekeeper for clean sports

Source: Christian Science Monitor


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