March 14, 2013

Syringes     Photo: NathanF/Wikimedia Commons

IAAF Investigating 17 Athletes

Found potential doping violations

The International Association of Athletics Federation is investigating 17 athletes after its biological passport program turned up evidence of possible doping. Thomas Capdevielle, the organization's medical and anti-doping results manager, said that 19 athletes had already been sanctioned under the program. The biological passport program, which creates a blood profile of athletes to monitor them for unusual spikes in chemistry that could arise from doping, is also in use by tennis and cycling's governing bodies.

The announcement comes on the heels of the IAAF's announcement that it is planning to establish a testing station in Kenya's El Doret region. According to Capdevielle, the organization currently monitors about 150 Kenyan runners under the program.

Via Times of India


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bayou Pipeline Fire Blazes On

Struck by a tugboat

A fire continues to rage in Louisiana after a tugboat pushing an oil barge struck a liquefied natural gas pipeline in shallow Bayou Perot on Tuesday night. Four people were injured in the crash, one critically, but no oil had spilled as of Wednesday.

Captain Jonathan Burton of the Coast Guard said at a news conference that a protective boom was still being deployed as a precaution. Oil skimmers have also been dispatched to the area. “We’re not waiting for something to happen,” he said.

Chevron, the owner of the pipeline, cut off the flow of gas, but the 19-mile section affected by the crash is expected to continue burning for some time. The gas giant has reportedly begun an operation to inject nitrogen gas into the pipeline to help extinguish the blaze, but it is unclear whether that will have any effect at all.

An investigation is underway to determine how the tugboat struck the pipeline, and what it was doing navigating water that the Coast Guard estimated to be just two to three feet deep.


    Photo: Creative Commons

Ryan Hall Withdraws From Boston Marathon

Drops out due to quad injury

The 2013 Boston Marathon will take place without Ryan Hall, who holds Boston’s American record (2:04.58 in 2011). He has dropped out of this year’s race with a quad injury.

"I am gutted to have to bow out of this year's Boston Marathon,” Hall tweeted yesterday. “I had put in a great deal of very hard training before sustaining a quad strain that made me miss about a month of training."

As Runner’s World notes, the 30-year-old has been dealing with the injury for a while:

Hall has been injured for much of the last year. He dropped out of the Olympic Marathon in August after about 10 miles with a hamstring strain. In September, he withdrew from November's New York City Marathon because of a quadriceps strain. Hall's last completed race was the Healthy Kidney 10K last May, where he placed 15th in 30:15.

In December, Hall announced that he was giving up self-coaching to work with Italian coach Renato Canova, who has guided the training of many top Kenyan marathoners. Hall had planned to spend time in Kenya with Canova before Boston, but canceled that trip in February when the quad injury resurfaced.

This year’s Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 15.


The face of an angel.     Photo: Kristof Ramon/Flickr

Taylor Phinney Last in Tirreno-Adriatico Stage

Pushed through rough conditions

Olympic cyclist Taylor Phinney finished dead last in the penultimate stage of the Tirenno-Adriatico race on Monday. He finished in 109th place to be exact, but that isn't the whole story.

The race organizer admitted later that the stage was too difficult with a 27 percent climb so steep that some riders got off their bikes and pushed them uphill.

Phinney's bike chain broke, but he chased his way up to rejoin the main group of cyclists. With about 80 miles left, Phinney was in a group of riders that began discussing dropping out of the race, which is more common than you might think.

Not Phinney, though. The rest of the group quit the race, but he kept pedalling on in the rain. The son of Olympian Davis Phinney who lives with Parkinson's disease, Phinney said remembering his father's struggles kept him in the fight.

Phinney didn't qualify to race in the final time trial on Tuesday, but it didn't matter. "I knew that if my dad could be in my shoes for one day—if all he had to do was struggle on a bike for six hours, but be healthy and fully functional—he would be me on that day in a heartbeat," Taylor Phinney said. "Every time I wanted to quit, every time I wanted to cry, I just thought about that."

His father didn't find out until later about his son's race, he said to him in an email, "You make me so happy and beyond proud—and that is better than any medicine and can defeat any disease."

Via Wall Street Journal