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LaShawn Merritt fails drug test‎

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Merritt accepts provisional suspension

By PAT GRAHAM (AP) – 1 hours ago

Olympic and world champion sprinter LaShawn Merritt has accepted a provisional suspension after testing positive for a banned drug, his lawyer said.

According to Thursday's release from lawyer Howard Jacobs, Merritt used an over-the-counter male enhancement product that contained substances that caused him to fail three successive tests between October and January.

Merritt said he hopes his family, friends and sponsors will forgive him for making "a foolish, immature and egotistical mistake." The 400-meter runner will not compete until the case has been decided.

USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan said in a release he is "disgusted by this entire episode."

"He has now put his entire career under a cloud and in the process made himself the object of jokes," Logan said. "In this day and age, a professional athlete should know better."

Merritt was recently notified that the presence of DHEA was the cause of his positive test. DHEA is short for dehydroepiandrosterone, which is a steroids precursor banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

USADA officials did not immediately return an e-mail left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

The USADA process can last from weeks to months. Typically, an athlete hit with a first-time doping violation receives a two-year suspension and forfeits any results from the time when he doped. USADA does have a precedent of giving more favorable terms to athletes who cooperate.

"To know that I've tested positive as a result of product that I used for personal reasons is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around," Merritt said in the release. "Any penalty that I may receive for my action will not overshadow the embarrassment and humiliation that I feel inside."

Over the years, Merritt has developed a robust rivalry with 2004 Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner, one of the best in track since no one can touch Usain Bolt in the 100 and 200.

Merritt held off Wariner for the gold in Beijing. Then, last summer at the world championships in Berlin, Merritt topped Wariner again, flying past Wariner on the final curve.

AP

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Really a male enhancement creme *snickers* is a big deal? Yet another example of how WADA and the "Anti-Doping" cadre think they control the World. I have no problem with competition testing, but this guy who already has a lot to be proud of was trying to do whatever to his penis to impress whomever in the sack, and that's no business of WADA, the USADA, and USA Track & Field, although if he's self-conscious he should probably talk to a counselor.

Since when has your penis helped you win at track and field?

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The WADA code says that an athlete must be aware of all things taken into their bodies. There are no excuses. This was because during the late 80's and 90's athletes were either using natural small dose medications that had the same steroid they were taking as a masking agent/excuse or taking the over-the-counter medications with full knowledge of the steroid being p, resent, but with a built-in excuse that they didn't know the steroid was in the drug. So when the anti-doping measures were being codified this loop-hole was closed.

Merritt is actually going about this in a far better manner than most athletes have. Its good to see at least some have learned how to properly handle these situations.

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The USA Track and Field Team has at least cleaned up their image after what happened in 2000 when everyone except Michael Johnson and Maurice Green tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Still though, it's one of the few sports in the United States without a true homegrown superstar, someone who everyone would stop down and watch when they normally would not watch.

If Merritt is suspended for two years, he won't run in next year's IAAF World Championships, but would be back for the London Olympics. It will probably be that none of his medals will be stripped.

2004 100 Meter Olympic Champion Justin Gatlin will end his four year suspension and will return to the track this summer in the IAAF Diamond League. The earliest he can be back for is August 6th in Stockholm. It will be interesting to see if he's lost any speed. USA Track and Field is fortunate that medals were not stripped as a result of Gatlin's suspension.

Then, there's the suspension of Crystal Cox. She got suspended in January and now there is a chance that the 400 Meter relay medal that she won running the qualifying heat in Athens in 2004 will be stripped as well as the medals of her teammates from that team (one of them Sanya Richards). Of course, I saw her on Survivor: Gabon.

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Really a male enhancement creme *snickers* is a big deal? Yet another example of how WADA and the "Anti-Doping" cadre think they control the World. I have no problem with competition testing, but this guy who already has a lot to be proud of was trying to do whatever to his penis to impress whomever in the sack, and that's no business of WADA, the USADA, and USA Track & Field, although if he's self-conscious he should probably talk to a counselor.

Since when has your penis helped you win at track and field?

The problem is that it can hide, you know, actual steroids.

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LaShawn Merritt's victory leaves the Olympic movement at a loss

In an unfortunate example of butterfly-wing theory, LaShawn Merritt and his bedroom insecurities have just inflicted a nasty blow on the credibility of the London Olympics.

You can argue that the Court of Arbitration for Sport was right to rule in Merritt’s favour, on the grounds that he should not be punished twice for taking a banned “male enhancement” product.

But it will be harder to swallow the dozens of convicted drug offenders who are expected to gatecrash next summer’s Olympics on the back of this case. If we believe Merritt’s story, he was primarily concerned about how he measured up in the showers, but others took steroids to improve their athletic performance. They were not naive victims but deliberate cheats.

The complexities of this issue stem from the changing nature of the Olympics. Were the Games still an amateur festival, as they were 50 years ago, the International Olympic Committee could set its own rules. It could suit itself, like some multinational private members’ club. It could ban athletes with a history of Morris dancing, if it felt like it, or a fondness for sushi.

But now that the Games are just another part of a professionalised sporting circuit, the athletes have become — in effect — a workforce. The rights of the individual trump the ethos of the event. And the romantic ideal of the Olympics as the ultimate celebration of human potential can only suffer as a result.

It is hard to argue with the CAS judgment on legal grounds. The Osaka Rule — which prevented athletes banned for more than six months from competing in the next Olympic Games — was vulnerable because of the legal principle known as ne bis in idem, which means you should not suffer twice for the same offence.

But however logical the argument might be, it doesn’t make the decision any easier to stomach. To live up to our hopes and aspirations, the Games have to feel right. And while the Osaka Rule might not satisfy a lawyer, it does feel right that, if you commit a doping offence of a certain seriousness, part of your punishment should be to miss the next Olympics.

In a perfect world, the athletics events at the Olympics would be unimpeachable. These runners, jumpers and throwers should not only be the best of the best, but the purest of the purest, stretching the envelope for mankind without using the magic bullet that comes packed into a syringe.

Athletics — which remains at the heart of the modern Olympics — is particularly vulnerable to doping issues because physical conditioning is everything. And you only have to cross the line once for your body to be compromised. Even if you stay clean thereafter, no one will ever know how much you owe to that desperate shot in the arm, or leg, or buttock.

That is the principle that underlies the British Olympic Association’s version of the Osaka Rule — a bylaw that makes any convicted drug offender ineligible for the national team for life. Yet the BOA’s stance is now the lamest of ducks, a paper-thin sanction that surely cannot withstand a challenge. It may be the will of the vast majority of athletes, as well as the British public, that Dwain Chambers should not run for Britain at the Olympics. But that, now, appears to be a decision that only Chambers himself can take.

By comparison with the match-fixing scandals rumbling on in football and cricket, the Merritt case might seem a minor issue. But the presence of up to 150 doping offenders in London next year could become a depressing sideshow, especially if many of them win medals.

The hardliners, such as Lord Coe and Lord Moynihan, will do their best to fight the incoming tide. But tradition alone will not be enough to preserve the Games from business logic and the tyranny of equal opportunities, even for those who have committed the ultimate sporting sins.

Most sports fans will tell you that the Olympics should be more than just another stop on the athletic calendar. They should operate at a higher level than anything else.

Perhaps they still do, but for how much longer? Whether through grandiosity, rampant commercialism or the inclusion of daft sports (football? golf?) the Games’ cachet is gradually being eroded, chip by chip.

It is a shame, from the IOC’s perspective, that Merritt chose to visit a pharmacy rather than a shrink. As a result of his self-esteem issues, another crack has just appeared in the five rings.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/8813867/London-2012-Olympics-LaShawn-Merritts-victory-leaves-the-Olympic-movement-at-a-loss.html

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Rebecca Adlington and Sir Steve Redgrave criticise decision to overturn LaShawn Merritt ban

British Olympic athletes have criticised the decision to allow drug cheat LaShawn Merritt to compete at the London 2012 Games and expressed their opposition to the possibility of Dwain Chambers and David Millar competing.

In a boost to the strident position of the British Olympic Association, which will maintain its ban in refusing to select previous drug offenders, forcing Dwain Chambers and David Millar to go to court to try and overturn its rule, British athletes have been upset that Merritt will get the chance to qualify and compete in London.

Double Beijing Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington tweeted "Can't actually believe this story!!! Whatever happened to drug free sport?"

Her position was reinforced with a stream of supporting views from other top athletes.

Swimmer James Goddard said: "'Anyone explain to me what's the point in drug testing if people are tested positive and still allowed to compete?"

The BOA said it surveyed athletes after every Olympics and more than 95 per cent of athletes had consistently backed the BOA's lifetime ban for drug offenders. The vehement reaction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport supports those statistics.

One of the few pro-Merritt views was expressed by the cyclist David Millar, previously banned for two years for systematic EPO abuse, who said there should be one rule for everyone.

“A lifetime ban for a first offence does not encourage rehabilitation nor education, two things that are necessary for the future prevention of doping in sport," he said.

But Millar's views were not reflected by other athletes. Triple world champion rower Zac Purchase said: "Doping in sport should be a lifetime ban from all competition. How else can we keep sport clean? Cheats wil be shunned."

Britain's five-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Steve Redgrave said any athlete who knowingly cheated had potentially prevented clean athletes from having the chance to fulfil their Olympic ambitions.

"I will always believe that that is wrong and unacceptable," Redgrave said, stressing he hoped the BOA rule would be in place for the next 100 years.

“I wholeheartedly stand by the BOA’s Eligibility by-law which aims to exclude athletes who intentionally dope from being selected for Team GB," Redgrave said.

"It is fair, there is a clear right of appeal and it serves to catch those athletes who consistently cheated.

"Most importantly for me, the by-law sends out a very strong and positive message that doping in sport is wrong. It sets an example that Team GB is clean to those athletes training with the ambition to one day represent Team GB at the Olympic Games.

"But not only for our future Olympians, the BOA by-law sends a message out to every childand young person in our country; that physical endeavour, determination, courage and commitment are the cornerstones of achieving in life, not just in sport. It is this fundamental message that I feel so strongly that the BOA by-law must remain as a symbol of clean, fair and honest competition."

In reference to the CAS decision, which found the International Olympic Committee's rule invalid and unenforceable yet encouraged the IOC to change the rules of the World Anti Doping Agency so that the ban could legally be enforced, rower Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell was philosophical in his tweets: "Socrates self-administered his death sentence as he insisted that he must abide by the law even when he didn't agree".

Reilly-O'Donnell then noted it was a sad day for clean athletes and the Olympic Movement. "Drug cheats are not welcome here," he said.

Karen Pickering the four-time world swimming champion said :"I am fully in favour of a lifetime ban and I think it is a real shame that more countries do not adopt the stance. There are sometimes mitigating circumstances but for those who do not have them, I am absolutely in agreement with a lifetime Olympic ban. How an athlete who has served a ban for a serious doping offence can be allowed to compete in another Games is beyond me."

Pickering highlighted how drug cheats have denied others the chance to win medals and earn accolades.

"The drug cheats argue that by being denied the chance to compete they lose the opportunity to make a living but they did not give a second thought to the athletes they cheated out of medals, sponsorship, possible funding and everything that comes with being in an Olympic final or winning an Olympic medal,” she said.

Andrew Triggs Hodge, the Beijing rowing gold medallist said drug takers were selfish and steal medals and said they don't belong in the Olympics.

“The moment these people decide to take drugs they undermine the whole of sport for their own selfish reasons," he said.

"They don't belong in the Olympics anymore and, of course, are more than welcome to set up their own Games. However, the moment they steal medals from honest champions, the associated endorsements and importantly the money that comes with these contracts, not to mention pride and pain, these cheats sign up to a different life.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/8812805/London-2012-Olympics-Rebecca-Adlington-and-Sir-Steve-Redgrave-criticise-decision-to-overturn-LaShawn-Merritt-ban.html

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I don't get Redgrave and Adlington's outrage over male-enhancement. Seems crazy. As crazy as Andrea Raducan being stripped of her medal because of cold medicine.

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They're outraged because it will let in a lot of genuine cheats from all over the world. Those who've mistakenly taken a drug in cold medicine or whatever ought to have the right to appeal and compete, but this ruling goes further than and means those who have a past of truly cheating can turn up at an Olympics at the expense of those who don't.

The US Team alone has 33 such athletes who can now compete in London because of this ruling. I don't want them in our stadiums or in the UK to be honest. Maybe someone at customs can stop them coming in. <_<

Also, domestically, the BOA has a by-law which prevents any drug-cheat competing for the team in any future Games. It's now arguable that by-law, which is supported by 95% of our athletes, the British public and the IOC (who applaued te UK's stance on drugs as the toughest in the world), may now not stand up in court, allowing athletes who have cheated to compete for Team GB at an Olympics when really, nobody wants them there.

If this isn't fixed and medals are won by known drugs-cheats in London, I think - depending on how high-profile the athletes are and how many win - it's entirely possible that the Olympic movement will be irreperably damaged in the eyes of the UK and indeed around the world, with consequences which will also affect Rio 2016 and beyond. Do we really want to return to the sitaution where people simply don't trust the results of Olympic competition?

The IOC need to implement a stronger emergency law before our Games to prevent these athletes competing in London.

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They're outraged because it will let in a lot of genuine cheats from all over the world. Those who've mistakenly taken a drug in cold medicine or whatever ought to have the right to appeal and compete, but this ruling goes further than and means those who have a past of truly cheating can turn up at an Olympics at the expense of those who don't.

The US Team alone has 33 such athletes who can now compete in London because of this ruling. I don't want them in our stadiums or in the UK to be honest. Maybe someone at customs can stop them coming in. <_<

Also, domestically, the BOA has a by-law which prevents any drug-cheat competing for the team in any future Games. It's now arguable that by-law, which is supported by 95% of our athletes, the British public and the IOC (who applaued te UK's stance on drugs as the toughest in the world), may now not stand up in court, allowing athletes who have cheated to compete for Team GB at an Olympics when really, nobody wants them there.

If this isn't fixed and medals are won by known drugs-cheats in London, I think - depending on how high-profile the athletes are and how many win - it's entirely possible that the Olympic movement will be irreperably damaged in the eyes of the UK and indeed around the world, with consequences which will also affect Rio 2016 and beyond. Do we really want to return to the sitaution where people simply don't trust the results of Olympic competition?

The IOC need to implement a stronger emergency law before our Games to prevent these athletes competing in London.

Whether or not they keep these athletes out, there still will be drug cheats winning medals. That horse left the barn a long time ago.

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Whether or not they keep these athletes out, there still will be drug cheats winning medals. That horse left the barn a long time ago.

Sure, but letting known drugs-cheats win medals is different.

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