Friday, May 15, 2009

Shannon Rowbury sounds off on doping

The title of this article should be "Shannon Rowbury Whines About USADA's Not Giving Her a Free Pass to Use Supplements Containing Banned Substances." Sheesh.

Rowbury whines:

"Rather than making a blanket statement that essentially leaves us (the athletes) to try to makes sense of the hundreds of products out there on our own or spend thousands to test our vitamins independently, why doesn’t USADA instead use it’s resources to find 1 or 2 safe companies for the athletes to use? All I ask is that USADA help me in my quest for clean records and a clean sport."

But she seems to understand that USADA doesn't certify nutritional products because of liability concerns and the fact that there are simply too many products on the market. She writes:

"USADA admits that it is hard to be sure about the quality, even of a multi-vitamin: Supplements do not appear in DRO™ because USADA is not able to provide a definitive answer as to the status of each product. This is due to a variety of reasons, but primarily to limitations in the regulation and ongoing quality control over dietary supplement labeling, purity and many of their ingredients..."

The reality is that it's unfortunately "Buyer Beware" for those of us athletes who are in the OOC testing pool (I don't even train full-time anymore but I still have to submit my whereabouts in the form of a guaranteed 1-hour availability for testing time window, just like Rowbury). USADA isn't going to pick two out of 200 supplement manufacturers and certify them, because neither Travis Tygart nor his board are going to risk the legal liability or claims of commercial favoritism that would accompany such an action. As long as the government says that we can get the RDA of vitamins and minerals from eating food (regardless of whether or not people do), USADA won't get into the business of certifying non-essential nutritional supplements that themselves aren't regulated by the FDA.

But if Rowbury feels this strongly about the issue, perhaps she can develop the framework for a program whereby the supplement industry itself can fund the analysis of its products. Oh wait - what industry is going to intentionally invite increased government oversight just to satisfy a few whiny elite athletes who typically don't even have enough money to pay retail price for their nutritional products?

1 comment:

  1. She is being pretty whiney.

    She does have a bit of a point though.

    A few years ago, when USADA was busting people who had miniscule amounts of Nandralone in their urine (e.g., way below the amount necessary for a performance benefit), they knew that at least some of those cases were the result of cross contamination by suppliment manufacturers. Of course, the moved forward with prosecutions anyway.

    In some cases USADA is the worst of both worlds: Inneffective at busting big time systematic dopers, but inappropriately hassling people who are caught up in the system but were obviously not trying to cheat (e.g., Zack Lund).

    Thanks,
    Burt

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