Friday, July 28, 2006

Doping? Or just a bunch of dopes?

Ok, I admit, I'm not a cycling fan. I can say the same about watching the Tour de France as people do about watching soccer.

But that's not to say that I don't recognize the absolutely amazing athletic acheivement even finishing that race is.

I also admit that at first I couldn't have cared less about all this doping talk, but the more it goes on the more I've read and I have to say that, if nothing else, all of these accusations are incredibly premature and fairly unfounded.

Now I understand that officials are on their toes because of all that's gone on recently, but the current situation has proven to make them seem more clueless and not so with it.

The best breakdown I've read is here. What I like is that there are no real opinions on here. The writer doesn't seem to care whether or not Landis did it. What we're searching for here is truth, and in this case, that truth search needs to extend into the media.

I highly suggest reading the piece, which raises a lot of questions about the statistical accuracy of the testing, but also as to whether or not we even have enough information to be making the judgements that have been levied.

My favorite paragraph:
"Two things boggle my mind on this. One is that the admittedly tainted sport of cycling has led to the media immediately leaping to the conclusion that Landis behaved illegally, when the correct inference to make from the data does not necessarily support that conclusion. At this point we cannot reject that conclusion, but it doesn't sell stories to be statistically literate, does it? The other is that the UCI has publicized the results of the A test (although it was Landis' team that identified him by name) before they have run the B test. That is unprofessional, and raises the criticism of the anti-American bias of French cycling. It would be better for the sport if riders did not attempt to enhance their performance illegally, and it would also be better for the sport if its organizers behaved with more professionalism and respect for statistical evidence."

Basically, the lab has behaved extremely unprofessionally, first by leaking the story on fairly flimsy reasoning (and likely to protect the fact that they have a connection with a newspaper) and also by even considering these results as proof of anything before even doing test B, much less having those results.

1 comment:

parnellpr said...

When I posted on this I committed a heinous crime. I called Floyd ......Troy. Shameful I know. I think i must have been a few too many USC trojan sites b4 hand.