The Floyd Landis hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) began today in Manhattan; for an excellent overview as usual see TBV. The five day appeal hearing is the last remedy in the appeal process for Floyd’s doping case involving positive testosterone test (“Landis, Stripped of Tour Title, Begins Final Appeal,” March 19).
Landis, 32, has spent millions of dollars on a defense that tried to cast doubt on the scientific validity of doping tests and the procedures followed at antidoping labs. But last September, in a 2-to-1 ruling, a United States Anti-Doping Agency arbitration panel concluded that Landis had used synthetic testosterone to achieve his comeback win at the 2006 Tour. As a result, he was barred from racing until January 2009….
In its 84-page ruling last year, the United States Anti-Doping Agency panel accepted Landis’s argument that the French antidoping lab that tested his urine samples from the Tour was sloppy in some of its operating procedures, and in how it documented its work. But the panel also found that a more sophisticated second test, conducted after the initial screening proved positive, was accurate.
But make no mistake about it, this isn’t just about Floyd Landis. It is also about the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the anti-doping organization and program that is held as the model for drug testing around the world.
It is about the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and other national anti-doping association that are dependent on taxpayer funding for their independence.
WADA Watch is harsh in its criticism of WADA, its incompetent procedures and its “hypocrisy over justice” particularly in today’s commentary about the Floyd Landis CAS hearing (“WADA trial, de novo with a twist: WADA sandbags Landis,” March 19).
On trial today, is a defendant, yet an entire system is also at risk. When the decision falls, we will voraciously read the logic of a reversal*, in which Floyd is exonerated due to ‘errors of procedure’, or ‘incapability of staff in a lab to follow clear rules, and use precision tools’ (up to more than 500 thousand Swiss francs, or similarly in dollars).
OR, we will read an affirmation* that the substantive evidence, in spite of the known, acknowledged, and minimized errors found therein, are still sufficient proof of a digression from purity in sport.
WADA Watch, in the context of its criticism of WADA, makes good use of a quotation from Floyd Landis.
“[T]o wrongly strip a champion of his victory due to a flawed test is much worse than to have an athlete cheat his way to victory.”
Regardless of the outcome, the loser is clearly WADA and the “entire system” arising from it.