Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Sept. 15, 2016 — And speaking of pharmaceuticals …

Yesterday, we touched on the subject of opioids in discussing the autobiography of Abby Wambach.

Late yesterday, the Russian hacking group Fancy Bear published medical data on four American Olympians from Rio 2016 — Simone Biles, Elena Delle Donne, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams — showing that they each had received medical waivers to take medications such as cortisol, prednisone, oxycodone, and methylphenidate for theraputic purposes.

The revelations do raise a couple of questions. One, of course, is how the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was not able to protect medical information from hackers. It is likely only to add to the narrative that WADA protocols were bypassed allowing Russian athletes to evade detection in multiple Olympics.

I think it will also raise questions about the medical waiver process. Is there a double-standard as to which athletes are allowed waivers? Were some nations favored and others denied?

For me, however, the questions are certainly about Fancy Bear and its motivation. For them to release information on four female athletes is a sign of cowardice on the part of the hacking group. Why not release information on, say, every member of the Olympic delegation if American doping is so pervasive?

And I think the thing that most folks already understand about the way that the anti-doping mechanisms work is that often, the drugs used have perfectly legitimate theraputic uses.

Your Founder, for example, has benefitted from the use of a peformance-enhancing drug. In this case, it was a shot of cortisone several years ago to treat De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.

In the case of Lance Armstrong, he had received a waiver for testosterone replacement therapy in order to compensate for the after-effects of testicular cancer. Only he went further — a lot further — into the rabbit hole of performance-enhancing drugs.

There is no evidence of the same when it comes to the leaks from late yesterday. I think this is going to be less than a one-day story.


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