What's The Scuttlebutt?

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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Koseph Jarpenter » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:33 pm

stormin mormon wrote:I would be careful to compare big leaps from goats to big leaps from people at the world-class level. The marginal gains are so much smaller at that level that it is difficult to equate big improvements from people like us to people like Jager.

But it would be interesting to try and define it more clearly.

I do think a part of it can be based on the times that are being run in a given context, I think the 90's were particularly enhanced as endurance sports across the board were filled with EPO when everyone knew there was no test for it. So I look at the top times in the world back then and think that most/all of them were run with significant enhancement.

But that isn't really accurate by any stretch given that people are now running times not very far off from what they ran in the 90's (I was just looking quickly at the steeple since that is what I have been thinking about) though no one is running 7:53 of late. But then that 7:53 came in 2004 which was after the urine test was accepted as valid for catching EPO. And you can go back on some letsrun threads about Cherono's training that indicate when WADA came to test him so there were out of competition tests as well. So even though I would argue that without the blood passport, you have to just get lucky to catch EPO as long as the athlete is smart and careful about when doses happen and how big they are, etc.

In your mind is there a clear indicator of a change in performance or jump in progression that would make you skeptical?


Probably not a clear indicator, but definitely some features that make it more or less probable. Makhloufi's olympic performance in 2012 definitely comes to mind as worthy of significant skepticism. So yeah, big jumps, especially going from no-name to world class dominating performances, seem iffy. And the amount of skepticism I have will be influenced by things like where an athlete is at in his/her career (long period of stability followed by big jump makes doping seem more likely), the rigor of his/her countries' testing, trustworthiness of the coach, coaching change, etc. But these are all probabilistic, and it seems silly when people act like any one factor, especially an amazing performance, is definitive. And for me getting too sucked in to figuring out who is and isn't probably doping takes away from my enjoyment of the sport, and ends up being based on a lot of biased factors (e.g. Nick Willis would never dope, because I met him one time and he seemed like a really great guy).

Also regarding grey area stuff, I'm curious what people's thoughts are on caffeine. It's illegal in certain amounts (I think they are very large), but a lot of people (including myself) happily take it in what I presume to be legal amounts because it makes them feel slightly better. Replace caffeine with something that's similarly beneficial but not normally in our diets/part of our culture, and I don't think we'd look so favorably upon it.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby deadgoose » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:43 pm

I was under the impression that caffeine's banned in large amounts because it's a diuretic, and therefore a masking agent. Not because of the performance enhancing effects.

Drugs are banned not just because they're performance enhancing. There's also the question of whether or not they're harmful to the health of the athlete, and whether or not they violate the spirit of the sport. Obviously #3 is tough to answer but with #2 caffeine appears to be pretty harmless, if not beneficial.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Robocop » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:51 am

Interesting read from the Guardian on LR this morning: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/ ... esting-epo
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby nathan patton » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:21 pm

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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby docvfm » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:48 pm

How sad about David Torrence! What could have happened?
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Goat Fan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:53 am

Maybe hit his head on a dive? Tragic.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby runnerfan » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:06 am

Still a bit of disbelief over David's death. While I didn't really know the man, he was a household name in our family. A product of Loyola High School DT was a huge role model for Charlie and countless west coast runners.

Last night Charlie posted on LRC about how David, upon signing a Nike contract, showed up at HS practice with a giant bag of Adidas gear he couldn't wear anymore. At day's end the whole team had a new favorite professional runner and a souvenir to prove it. The yellow road flats Charlie chose are on my desk as I type (adizero, bright yellow, size 10). I think those shoes represented long term goals and dreams to Charlie. He won some races in them, probably imagining he was David Torrence down the home stretch, chasing the 4 minute mile.

Some random memories are of: Watching him hold court with kids seeking autographs at the CIF XC championships (he couldn't have been nicer)... Sitting with his mother at the Oxy Mid distance performance meet where she cheered him on like any good track mom would have... and stumbling on David and Charlie hanging out on the stands at the Mt. Sac Relays just killing time before their races. Most recently I read the "Sub-4 minute mile attempt... downhill !!!" thread on LRC and really enjoyed it.

RIP David. It was too soon.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby mwalsh88 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:19 pm

Doping in Two Elite Athletics Competitions Assessed by Randomized-Response Surveys


Background

Doping in sports compromises fair play and endangers health. To deter doping among elite athletes, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) oversees testing of several hundred thousand athletic blood and urine samples annually, of which 1–2% test positive. Measures using the Athlete Biological Passport suggest a higher mean prevalence of about 14% positive tests. Biological testing, however, likely fails to detect many cutting-edge doping techniques, and thus the true prevalence of doping remains unknown.

Methods

We surveyed 2167 athletes at two sporting events: the 13th International Association of Athletics Federations Word Championships in Athletics (WCA) in Daegu, South Korea in August 2011 and the 12th Quadrennial Pan-Arab Games (PAG) in Doha, Qatar in December 2011. To estimate the prevalence of doping, we utilized a “randomized response technique,” which guarantees anonymity for individuals when answering a sensitive question. We also administered a control question at PAG assessing past-year use of supplements.

Results

The estimated prevalence of past-year doping was 43.6% (95% confidence interval 39.4–47.9) at WCA and 57.1% (52.4–61.8) at PAG. The estimated prevalence of past-year supplement use at PAG was 70.1% (65.6–74.7%). Sensitivity analyses, assessing the robustness of these estimates under numerous hypothetical scenarios of intentional or unintentional noncompliance by respondents, suggested that we were unlikely to have overestimated the true prevalence of doping.
Conclusions

Doping appears remarkably widespread among elite athletes, and remains largely unchecked despite current biological testing. The survey technique presented here will allow future investigators to generate continued reference estimates of the prevalence of doping.

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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby GoatMP » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:12 pm

your link didn't work for me. PubMed ID is 28849386 for those looking there

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=28849386

Also, I had to look up Randomized Response Technique...

From Wikipedia:
Ask a man whether he had sex with a prostitute this month. Before he answers ask him to flip a coin. Instruct him to answer "yes" if the coin comes up tails, and truthfully, if it comes up heads. Only he knows whether his answer reflects the toss of the coin or his true experience. It is very important to assume that people who get heads will answer truthfully, otherwise the surveyor are not able to speculate.

Half the people—or half the questionnaire population—get tails and the other half get heads when they flip the coin. Therefore, half of those people will answer "yes" regardless of whether they have done it. The other half will answer truthfully according to their experience. So whatever proportion of the group said "no", the true number who did not have sex with a prostitute is double that, because we assume the two halves are probably the same as it is a large randomized sampling. For example, if 20% of the population surveyed said "no", then the true fraction that did not have sex with a prostitute is 40%.



Fascinating.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Koseph Jarpenter » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:17 am

Apparently WADA and the IAAF delayed the results being published - https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/ ... lous-delay
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Brick Neynolds » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:59 am

Wow, that is a staggeringly high number (to me, not to JB ...), and the delay seems effed up.

Random, ignorant comments on the methods: As the author's write, most obvious types of noncompliance would bias them towards finding a lower percentage of dopers than the truth. Ie. even with the randomization dopers are still concerned that they can somehow be found out, or they think it's in their interest that the sport be viewed as clean, etc.

One caveat could be that the instructions are somewhat confusing ... which could bias people towards randomly choosing yes or no, and lead to the ~50% doping rate that they get. I'm curious how much that's been studied and if it's a common problem with this method. Seems tough to study because you don't have some ground truth to compare to.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby GoatMP » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:03 pm

Brick Neynolds wrote:Wow, that is a staggeringly high number (to me, not to JB ...), and the delay seems effed up.

Random, ignorant comments on the methods: As the author's write, most obvious types of noncompliance would bias them towards finding a lower percentage of dopers than the truth. Ie. even with the randomization dopers are still concerned that they can somehow be found out, or they think it's in their interest that the sport be viewed as clean, etc.

One caveat could be that the instructions are somewhat confusing ... which could bias people towards randomly choosing yes or no, and lead to the ~50% doping rate that they get. I'm curious how much that's been studied and if it's a common problem with this method. Seems tough to study because you don't have some ground truth to compare to.


Reading the paper itself and seeing the screenshots from the tablet used, it doesn't seem like the instructions were that confusing. But who knows?

Image

There's also possibility that the languages used were limited, and thus, even if an athlete says they can speak a certain language, it certainly may not be their native language and thus they could be prone to errors there too.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Goat Fan » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:36 am

I'm not the least bit surprised by the result of this study. I've always maintained that about half of every elite field is juiced. In my day the ones that drew my suspicion were those who competed week in and week out almost year around with what seemed to be super-human powers of recovery.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby stormin mormon » Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:02 am

Yeah, don't seem high to me at all. I would suggest even low. Particularly at the top, I think the rate of participation in doping or things that might skirt the rules (or that rules don't exist yet for) reaches something very close to 100%. There are times where things drop off, big changes in testing, a common method getting ruled out thanks to a new test, etc. but there's always new techniques out there.

The question I always ask is why wouldn't you?

If you'd spent your entire life working very hard to compete in a sport, you know you have the talent and have put in the time, but the only way to compete with the best is to get real comfortable with the gray area or more, why wouldn't you? I have to imagine that, in that situation, it becomes quite easy to justify it and incredibly hard to either not do it and remain mediocre or to walk away.

I don't see it anymore as a moral failing, though it can be impressive when someone truly walks away because of a desire to stay "clean" or whatever. I just think that is vanishingly rare.

We talk about Willis as being a guy we all assume is clean but I don't see any reason why he would be more likely to be clean than anyone else. Because he is christian? Because he is outspoken about anti-doping? Because he is white? Because he's never won the big one? Because he admitted he watched a lot of porn and felt like it was an addiction?

Whatever it was, it doesn't mean he is less likely to rationalize/justify decisions about taking something that will help him stay relevant and continue to provide for his family.

And once you've crossed that line, I think there are very, very few people who ever go back. Once you know what it feels like to recover magically, to push beyond your normal limits, to compete with people you were never able to compete with before... I can't imagine many people are strong enough to walk away from that.
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Re: What's The Scuttlebutt?

Postby Brick Neynolds » Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:49 am

Do you guys have any ideas for strategies to decrease doping? Or just view it as the inevitable consequence of human ego and winner-take-all competition?

I guess I wouldn't be surprised to hear that > 50 % of hedge fund managers committed fraud in the last year.
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