In response to the recent article on the doping scandal, one reader wanted to know how often US and Canadian athletes are tested. To the best of my knowledge, no US or Canadian cross-country skier has ever failed an international drug test. US Ski Team Coach Pete Vordenberg told me that the US World Cup athletes get tested 4-6 times each summer, and another 4-6 times during the winter. Summer testing can be logistically challenging, but Vordenberg says the US team completely supports the testing as it is “easy price to pay for being able to compete against other clean athletes.”
Dave Wood of Cross-Country Canada reported similar numbers for out of season testing – he estimated 6-8 times. The in-season World Cup testing is not much – the team gets tested when the entire field is blood tested, and all podium finishers are tested.
So top North American skiers are tested anywhere from eight to more than a dozen times every year.
The New York Times ran an article last month on out of competition testing. Some athletes have found the restrictions too tight. If nothing else it paints a clear picture of what these elite athletes must put up with as a result of doping problems.
Rule Requiring Drug Testers to Know Athletes’ Whereabouts Draws Protest
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Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.