Armstrong doctor: ‘We need to get better tests’
After years of denials, Lance Armstrong has reportedly admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs at times during his seven Tour de France wins.
The disgraced cyclist made the confession during a two-and-a-half hour interview with Oprah Winfrey, which is set to air Thursday.
She described him as “thoughtful” and “serious” but said he “did not come clean in the manner to which I expected.”
Armstrong also reportedly “tearfully” apologized to Livestrong, the cancer organization that he helped found before the meeting. He then admitted to participating in the illegal activity to Winfrey.
I TESTED HIM MYSELF
“Lance Armstrong does bring out a lot of points and discussion,” Dr. Don Catlin, International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commissioner and retired professor at UCLA, told Metro World News. “The reality is Lance had advisors that were able to keep him from getting positive tests. It’s confirmed he’s had 200 or 300 tests and never had a positive one.”
“That bothers me because I probably did 100 of them myself,” Catlin added. “We need to get better tests. Everything that Lance is doing, anyone else can do today and get away with it.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Director General David Howman iterated to Metro World News that Armstrong’s soon-to-be televised confession won’t change their decision to ban him from the sport.
“Whatever he’s got to say (during the interview), the lifetime ban against him is not going to be changed at all,” Howman said. “It’s not going to be changed by what he says to a talk show host.”
NOT IN THE SPIRIT
Catlin, who founded many of the modern drug tests used in sporting today, explained when cyclists admit to “blood doping,” it actually means they used substances that increase the amount of blood in the system. This can be done in various ways including using a substance called EPO (Erythropoietin) or transfusing extra blood either from themselves or other people into the athlete. The goal is to increase the number of red blood cells, which in turn ups the amount of oxygen the blood can carry.
“(EPO) turns on the bone marrow, and gets the bone marrow making more blood cells,” Catlin explained. “Red cells are very important to athletes because they carry oxygen. They are very vital to their performance.”
Other illegal drugs athletes might take include testosterone and stimulants. Testosterone can enhance performance as well, while stimulants are known to improve athletic performance.
In addition, using these drugs in any sport brings up an ethical question, Howman pointed out.
“By blood doping do I get an advantage — that’s to say a chemical advantage over my competition?” Howman said. “That’s not in the spirit of sport.”