We start this morning with an article from Runner’s World. Scientists hypothesized for years whether women ultramarathon runners will surpass men. The theory is that physiologically, women carry more fat than men. Fat acts advantageously as fuel at slow speeds for long periods of time, and it was thought that women could defeat men in ultramarathons. However, the scientists found that men still outperform women due to men having higher “muscle, less fat, higher hemoglobin and hematocrit, and higher VO2 max” – in other words, men overall possess better physiological traits that enable them to run faster than women. However, the article does mention an exception to this rule. The author suggests that if women want a competitive edge, he encourages them to take up long ocean swims in frigid waters. The author hypothesizes that the higher amount of body fat carried by women enables women to swim faster than men at long distances.
Kenya is not the only one dealing with problems within their anti-doping task force. Yesterday, Jamaica jumped onto the unofficial list of countries with failing anti-doping agencies. What is fortunate for Jamaica is that its failure impacts one athlete: Sherone Simpson. The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has the responsibility of deciphering a lap report received from HFL Sports in Kentucky. JADCO possessed the report for over three weeks, and JADCO attorney Lackston Robinson asked for an additional continuance due to his inability to analyze the document yesterday. Allegedly, none of the in-house counsel attorneys has enough knowledge to deal with the complex technical details of the report. The report contains information that Simpson consumed the supplement Epiphany D1. The supplement contains oxilofrine, a substance used in doping, and is also a banned substance deemed by the World Anti-Doping Agency. What is unclear about the article is determining what the lawyers see as the issue. I can only guess, and I surmise that the issue is likely identifying what substances are contained in the ingested supplement, and whether those substances are banned by WADA. While the panel agreed to postpone the hearing for another time, Simpson’s lead attorney, Kwame Gordon, expressed his and his client’s frustrations. He reasoned that JACDO rules in cases of “clear matters” must be completed “expeditiously,” and the substantial delay from the “adverse analytical finding…from last year June” to now seriously disrupts the process and constitutes unfairness to the athlete. Situations like these causes one to wonder whether the panel should take a more assertive position.
Yesterday, ESPN ran an article questioning whether sports leagues should consider allowing its players to use marijuana in light of many states legalizing it. According to one report, approximately “half of all NFL players smoke a little (marijuana) to manage pain and anxiety.” I hasten to point out that the logical reasoning that follows from this is that “everybody does it, so legalize it” is a fallacious argument. The fact that many people engage in a polemical activity does not create rightness or wrongness; it simply is.
The article goes on to explain the benefits of cannabinoids as seen in a study on rats. The scientists at Israel’s University of Haifa found two clear benefits: it reduces stress, and it has anti-inflammatory-like properties which produce new cells and repair old ones. These discoveries, along with an approximately one-third of NFL teams playing in states with some degree of legalized marijuana, and “nine more states considering legislation for medical marijuana,” appears to push the NFL against the corner. In other words, the NFL is running out of arguments and excuses to prevent players from using marijuana.
Other sports leagues deal with marjiuana differently. The NBA takes a less-restrictive approach than the NFL. The NBA publicizes which players test positive after the player tests positive for the third time. If players reach that level, that player serves a five-game suspension. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has yet to discuss any change in this policy. The MLB takes the least restrictive, or closeted approach: it classifies pot as a “drug of abuse,” but no players have been punished for its abuse within the last 10 years. It is not surprising, though, that the MLB is not keen on reprimanding players. Their record for imposing drastic rulings on players engaging in foul play is fairly sparse, unless the circumstances are extreme.
ESPN does not comment on other sports with a greater international presence. The simple and quick answer is that for international competition (including the Olympics), WADA controls. Within the past year, regulations have been more lax, and limits were increased to protect athletes using marijuana outside of competition.
Yesterday, San Diego Chargers attorney Mark Fabiani stated that the Chargers will not be leaving Qualcomm Stadium, despite the Chargers’ right to leave without being sued by the city.
In the last bit of news today, the focus is again on Sochi. The court in Sochi delivered its first ruling and rejection to Austrian freestyle skier Daniela Bauer, denying her bid to enter the Winter Olympics. As if Russia could withstand any more corruption over these games, we learn in L.A. Times that circumstantial evidence points to the conclusion that funding for the Olympics in Sochi were misspent and embezzled. Most structures, buildings, and equipment needed to run the Olympics cost 1.6 to nearly 6 times over what it would cost for comparable facilities in other locations. Uttering the real estate mantra “location, location, location” only carries so much weight, and it appears that it is not enough to explain the reasons for the costly repairs. Finally, in continuity with how much things costs, take a look at some hilarious tweets by journalists who arrived in Sochi to find that the majority of the hotels remain unfinished.