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Doping testing

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  • Stephen Seiler
    Hello, As ardent Olympic observers will have noted, a Norwegian weigthlifter tested positive for nandrolone just prior to the Olympics. He went home from
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 25 7:21 AM
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      Hello,


      As ardent Olympic observers will have noted, a Norwegian weigthlifter
      tested positive for nandrolone just prior to the Olympics. He went home
      from Sydney crushed, and claiming innocence, or at least ignorance. The
      guy's name was Stian Grimseth, 150 kg, sheep farmer, and the Norwegian
      Olympic development center's poster-boy for anti-doping. He had gone out
      publically asking to be tested every month in order to prove that it was
      possible to climb to the top in weightlifting "clean." He was an outside
      medal hope. Suffice it to say that the positive test was a real bummer for
      Norwegian sports officals. However, Grimseth may have been telling the
      truth. And this suggests that a lot of vitamin companies are not.
      Grimseth claimed that the only product he had ingested that could account
      for the posiitve test was a supplement called Ribose purchased in the
      Canary islands. He had checked all the posted contents against the banned
      substance list (via the Olympic training center) and it came up "clean."
      So, he took it. Chemical analysis has since revealed that 2 nandrolone
      precursers are in this compound. In the body, they are converted to
      nandrolone.
      He had 3 times the near zero accepted amount in his body, which is still
      low by "doping standards," but high enough. His Olympics were over. The
      lawsuits are just beginning.

      Given that several athletes, including former anti-doping poster-lady
      Merlene Ottey, have claimed stories similar to Grimseth's, what is going
      on? Given that nandrolone is such an easy drug to detect, why would these
      high profile "anti-doping" athletes choose this drug to cheat with, knowingly?

      I am told by bodybuilding insiders, that this is not news. The hardcore
      bodybuilding crowd knows that a lot of supplements contain illegal
      substances, or the precursors of illegal substances. But this seems like
      pretty important news for athletes and coaches who are less
      pharmaceutically informed; In the multi-million dollar supplement business,
      product labels lie.

      Perhaps, I (and the sheepfarmer/weightlifter Stian Grimseth) was the last
      to know.

      Stephen Seiler
      Stephen Seiler PhD
      Assistant professor
      Institute for Sport
      Agder University College
      Service box 422
      4604 Kristiansand S, Norway

      email: Stephen.Seiler@...
      phone: (47) 381 41 347
      fax (47) 381 41 301

      Endurance performance physiology website:
      http://home.hia.no/~stephens/index.html

      Sportscience News and journal website:
      http://www.sportsci.org

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    • James Whitehead
      ... This interesting story is an (understated) illustration of what is currently going on. For example, a glance at web sites (e.g.
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 25 4:47 PM
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        Stephen Seiler Wrote:

        >I am told by bodybuilding insiders, that this is not news. The hardcore
        >bodybuilding crowd knows that a lot of supplements contain illegal
        >substances, or the precursors of illegal substances. But this seems like
        >pretty important news for athletes and coaches who are less
        >pharmaceutically informed; In the multi-million dollar supplement business,
        >product labels lie.
        >
        >Perhaps, I (and the sheepfarmer/weightlifter Stian Grimseth) was the last
        >to know.

        This interesting story is an (understated) illustration of what is
        currently going on. For example, a glance at web sites (e.g.
        http://www.discount-supplements.com/) gives one an insight that there's
        more to "dietary supplements" these days than carbo loading (Ribose
        features heavily). The company Chemins was just caught adding
        pharmaceutical ephedrine to "Formula One." And if you want to chance the
        wonders of "Traditional Chinese Medicine," try:
        http://www.nejm.org/content/1998/0339/0012/0847a.asp first. It's a multi
        *billion* $upplement industry these days, and we have the "health freedom"
        of DSHEA to thank for it in the USA.

        Good luck to Stian. I hope his lawsuit buys him all the sheep in NZ.

        Sigh,

        Jim Whitehead.

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      • Catherine J. BACON(LFM)
        Dear Dr Seiler Thank-you for detailing the infomation relating to Stian Grimseth. Interestingly, in January of this year a report on Nandrolone, prepared by a
        Message 3 of 3 , Sep 26 3:10 AM
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          Dear Dr Seiler

          Thank-you for detailing the infomation relating to Stian Grimseth.
          Interestingly, in January of this year a report on Nandrolone, prepared by a
          panel of experts (chair Professor Vivian James) was presented to the UK Sport
          Council.

          One of the conclusions of this report states,

          "Some dietary supplements contain compounds similar to nandrolone or its
          metabolic precursors, which produce the same metabolite as does nandrolone. It
          may not be obvious from the label that such substances are present and are
          banned substances. Users of inadequately or incorrectly labelled products are
          at risk of unknowingly ingesting a banned substance. We therefore recommend
          that the sports community should be reminded they must maintain a high level of
          awareness of the possible hazards of using some nutritional supplements and
          herbal preparations."

          The full report was evidently distributed to all sport governing bodies in the
          UK, national sports councils, IOC accredited labs, and international sports
          federations and organisations. A more readable "factsheet" was also included
          which warned athletes against "relying soley on claims on labelling and
          packaging or by distributors". I seem to remember a couple of fairly high
          profile athletes in the UK as being quoted in the media as saying that they
          were now very careful about nutritional supplements or avoided them altogether.
          It seems that the message at least got out to elite level UK athletes:
          although for some perhaps, it was too late!

          Do you know which precusors of Nandrolone (or perhaps of the Nandrolone
          metabolite 19-norandrosterone) "Ribose" was allegedly supposed to contain?

          Could you please keep the list informed of the legal developments of this case.
          Will the lawsuit take place in Norwegian courts? Has it been already filed?
          Do you know of any websites detailing progress?

          Catherine Bacon

          NB: A copy of the Conclusions and Recommendations of the report presented to
          the UK Sport Council and a UK Sport Summary are located on their website in the
          News Archive from 18th Jan, 19th Jan and 8 Feb, 2000.
          www.uksport.gov.uk.

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