Much of the track and field news today highlights featured meets for this weekend, but there are some articles that touch on interesting legal issues. Today, we have two articles which discuss doping: one is negative, while the other is positive. We’ll start with the negative one. Yesterday, Australian Josh Ross lost his appeal against a ban imposed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA). Ross, a “seven-time national champion and dual Olympian” will discover this April how long his sanction from the sport lasts. He could face a minimum of a one year suspension, with a maximum of two. The process started when Ross received an infraction notice due to his failure in his missing three drug tests within an 18-month period. The ASADA code contains a “whereabouts” rule, where “an athlete must inform ASADA of his movements at all times.” The purpose of the rule is to allow ASADA to test an athlete at any time at any place during certain competition time periods. Julieanne Levick, Ross’ attorney, argued that the fault is upon the ASADA tester. Her argument was that the tester failed to find Ross’ home, despite the fact that Ross’ home is registered with the ASADA. Further, testers have twice found Ross’ residence prior to the alleged failures. Ross’ ban backdates to December 5, 2013, when the provisional ban first took place.
While the situation for Ross looks grim, Jamaica takes a proactive approach in promoting an anti-doping message early. The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) and the Jamaica Athletics Association (JAA) collaborated to hold anti-doping workshops for “athletes and athlete support personnel” all over Jamaica. The first workshop was held on February 12. Minister without Portfolio for Sport Natalie Neita Headley encouraged young athletes to “double-check with JADCO before taking medicine or supplements, despite the advice of their coaches or trainers.” Her encouragement is certainly warranted, given Asafa Powell’s ongoing doping case. Moreover, JADCO Chairman R Danny Williams supplemented Headley’s advice with some of his own: “you, not your coaches, not your parents or your doctor will be held responsible for any prohibited substance found in your body.” Williams’ insight likely comes from reading and hearing about numerous athletes who tested positive, who then blame (and are almost always unsuccessful) their trainers, doctors, other athletes, coaches, and any other personnel working with that athlete.
You’ve probably never heard of the name Michael Brannigan, but it might be a name you’ll want to keep in mind in the near future. Brannigan, a New York native from Northport, qualified for the Boys Mile at the prestigious Millrose Games which will take place at Madison Square Garden tomorrow. College coaches are already sending letters, and they appear to keep coming. What makes him different than any other elite high school athlete? Brannigan is autistic. His ability to perform at a high level will hopefully encourage other autistic individuals to strive for success in running or other athletic endeavors.
U.S. Olympic speedskaters in Sochi are blaming Under Armour’s suits for allegedly causing them to run slower races. Finally, the U.S. speedskaters are not the only athletes complaining about the lack of speed. Complaints about Kenya’s inability to produce world-class sprinters since the early 1990s have grown, and the alleged lack of preparations for sprinters in the upcoming Bahama Relays further slows down the dream to restore Kenya back to sprinting greatness.