Dick Pounds Tyler
World Anti Doping honcho Dick Pound commented at a breakfast in Toronto that Tyler’s Gold was “no longer a Gold Medal in the eyes of the world”. Known for making broad statements about Cycling in general, then backpedaling a bit, Dick now see’s fit to speak, not just for WADA, the IOC, the UCI and sporting fans, but for every man, woman and child on the Planet.
Funny, but I don’t remember him calling and confirming my opinion with me…
After making a fair statement that “a cyclist might have escaped this net because of human error”, Pound goes on to say “but if nothing else, we got him on the second bounce” (source: Canadian Press). That sounds less like a line from someone who holds people’s careers and lives in their hands, and more like something I would expect to hear from a Gang Banger in LA, explaining how they sprayed an entire city block with bullets to get their man. They don’t care about where all the other bullets end up, just that they got someone…
We have received several emails asking us to comment on Tyler and the validity of the test used to give him his positive. Some have suggested that we are “pro doping” because we have not ventured a guess yet or stated a position.
That is simply not the case.
We have little sympathy for the Richard Virenques and Frank VDB’s of the peloton (or other convicted or admitted cheats, especially multiple offenders), but we try not to toss people under a bus without letting things take their course. However, we
have no problem revving the engine a bit and popping the clutch when someone crawls under the damn thing on their own.
Regarding Tyler, we don’t want to be the Journo version of Dick Pound. Us climbing up the back of a first time offender, that has shown nothing but character in the past, with a set of spiked shoes and a bull horn in order to prop up our own image and exposure just isn’t going to happen.
Tyler’s case, at least for us, is a tough one. On one hand he maintains his innocence and is challenging the testing methods and outcome, on the other hand the testers say he tested positive on 2 separate occasions for blood doping. We – as observers, do not know all the facts, nor do we know what really happened. So we’re in no position to take a position.
But we can take a position on this: In the war on doping, there will be casualties. Some will be harder for us to take than others, but we are only human, and won’t try and put up a facade of impartiality. We count ourselves among Tyler’s biggest fans, so we are giving him an opportunity to come good. Call that us wearing rose colored glasses or favoritism but we prefer to wait for the test to be,
um… tested before slapping a label on Tyler.
We don’t want to help create a negative image, that an athlete will have to dig out from under for years, in order to boost our traffic (or in Dick Pound’s case, for a simple sound bite over breakfast). In fact, we wouldn’t have posted comment on a loose cannon like Dick Pound at all, had most other cycling sites not already done so. But even that isn’t what is most important in all of this.
What is critical is that the testing deemed valid or invalid, with no ” Grey area”. There simply should be no grey area when an athlete’s career is on the line. If the testing holds up, we lose a friend, but gain a powerful new bullet in the war on doping. If it is deemed invalid, Tyler will not only have saved himself, but will have kept others from having their lives ripped apart.
It’s tough to say, but as long as the final outcome is solid, and the results of this investigation are remembered & acted upon by riders, sponsors, and the sport’s governing bodies, the sport wins either way.