12 June 2007

BAH Sports

The unthinking, machine-like drones otherwise known as bureaucrats are at it again, this time from the ivory towers of Athletics Canada. As reported by all the usual suspects, champion paralympian, Jeff Adams, was banned from competition for two years, and has lost his eligibility for funding for the rest of his life. All this because of an erroneous, positive test for cocaine metabolites in his system due to contaminated testing equipment, despite the fact that an arbitrator found as fact that he did not have the drug in his system at the time of competition, and acknowledged that the positive test was indeed the result of an assault and contamination.
Adams claimed that an unknown woman inserted cocaine into his mouth at the nightclub. Two witnesses testified on his behalf that there was an immediate commotion at the Vatikan Club, but neither saw the alleged offence.

Adams, who needs to self-catheterize, testified that the only catheter he had at the Ottawa race was the one used immediately after the club incident. Scientific experts testified on the likelihood that a catheter contaminated with dried urine from a previous use could lead to the offence. Adams had said that the cost of the catheters meant that he didn't dispose of them after a single use, and admitted they weren't always thoroughly cleaned.
So he was assaulted by an unknown woman in a club - an incident that was witnessed by two other people - and that was the source of the cocaine. He is not a cocaine user; his status as a role-model and an exemplar of sportsmanship and perseverance in the face of adversity is unshaken.

That the bureaucrats from Athletics Canada can make statements like,
"At any time, when there's a positive test, it impacts athletics," Joanne Mortimore, the CEO of Athletics Canada, said on Tuesday. "As far as the implications for athletes with a disability, I think it's the same as a high performance athlete that's tested positive."
is positively shameful - an automatic, programmed response without any acknowledgement of the facts of the case. This is a sad day for athletics in Canada, and yet another triumph of BAH - Bureaucracy, Administrative control, and Hierarchy - over thoughtfulness and insight.

For shame, Athletics Canada. For shame!

And kudos to Jeff Adams, who maintained his composure and civility during his interview on As It Happens this evening. You are still a hero and an exemplar of perseverance in the face of adversity - particularly when the adversity is caused by those on whom you count for support.

A couple of media notes: The Globe and Mail report conveniently neglects to provide the full facts of the case, namely any mention of the contamination incident. This leads the braying pack animals in its comments section to jump to conclusions about fallen heroes with comparisons to Ben Johnson. Shame on the Globe for such shoddy reportage. The CBC and The Star get it right. And, Athletics Canada has already distanced themselves from association with Jeff Adams. The Google hit now points to a "We're sorry, not found" page. Thank goodness for the Google cache.

[Technorati tags: | | | ]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your kind words, they're very much appreciated.

A few points of interest that didn't get out into the mainstream media:

These findings were taken directly from the decision made by Richard McLaren, posted at the web site of the Sport Resolution Center of Canada - www.adrsportred.ca
Case #SDRCC DT-06-0039

The Arbitrator found that:
1. This case has nothing to do with performance enhancement and cheating.

2. The prohibited substance was involuntarily ingested. Even Athletics Canada, which did not support me in these proceedings, accepted my evidence concerning the involuntary consumption of the substance which then contaminated my catheter . Athletics Canada agrees that this contamination caused the adverse analytical finding. In other words, it is a fact that the substance was not in my body, but rather in my catheter, which was washed into my urine sample when I provided a sample of my urine through a catheter which I had no idea was contaminated. (see paragraph 92 of decision).

3. Notwithstanding serious factual errors, the Arbitrator found that “the cross examination
of the athlete does not reveal any obvious reasons to conclude that the Athletes version of the facts lacks credibility …..I must conclude that the credibility as to what is said by the athlete remains unshaken through cross examination” (see paragraph 116 of Decision).

4. The Arbitrator accepted that “the scientific evidence is unequivocal that cocaine ingested more than 6 days before the sample was taken could not have remained in the athletes system to be present in the urine sample” (see paragraph 118 of Decision).

5. The WADA Code states “An athlete’s out-of-competition use of a prohibited substance that is not prohibited out-of-competition [as with the substance in this case] would not constitute an anti-doping rule violation” (see paragraph 111 of Decision).

6. Two of Canada’s top experts in the field of pharmacology and toxicology testified that it was highly probable that the adverse analytical finding was as a result of a contaminated catheter, and therefore the prohibited substance was not in my body at the time of the competition. [The Director of the lab conceded that only two drops of residual urine in the catheter would have produced the positive result found].

7. The Arbitrator concluded “on the whole, the scientific evidence presented at the hearing is inconclusive about whether the contaminated catheter caused the adverse analytical finding”. Under Canadian and International law, this findings, in and of itself, must result in a finding that no doping offence has occurred. By the Arbitrator’s own findings of fact, the CCES wholly failed in demonstrating that the adverse analytical finding was not caused by the contaminated catheter. The fact that the Arbitrator found me guilty of a doping infraction in light of his own finding that he has absolutely no proof that the adverse analytical finding was not caused by a contaminated catheter, constitutes a serious error of law.

8. The Canadian Anti-Doping Program, administered by the CCES, is almost entirely funded by the taxpayers of Canada on the basis that the CCES is carrying out the government’s anti-doping policy. The notion that such government action is immune from the Charter is an issue that I intend to take all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary. The failure to provide disabled athletes with the same rights as able-bodied athletes takes us back to a time long past.

Warmest regards,