USA Triathlon Compete Clean Campaign Launched to Expand Anti-Doping Efforts

By USA Triathlon

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon has increased its investment in anti-doping efforts for age-group athletes as part of an initiative launched earlier this year with support from the USA Triathlon Board of Directors. The USA Triathlon Compete Clean campaign, implemented in collaboration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), focuses on education, awareness and accountability for amateur triathletes competing in USA Triathlon sanctioned events.

As part of the program, USA Triathlon has expanded its testing at age-group races across the country, including but not limited to national championships and ITU World Championship qualifiers in several multisport disciplines.

“I am really thrilled with the progress we’ve made over the past year in expanding our anti-doping programs to an entirely new level for age-group athletes,” said Chuck Graziano, USA Triathlon Board Member, Certified Coach and head of USA Triathlon’s Anti-Doping Steering Committee. “We are not only testing and deterring the intentional use of performance-enhancing substances, but also providing education and resources to our athletes on the ill effects of doping and what constitutes doping. Many athletes may not be aware that a prescription they’re taking might be banned — unless an exemption is granted — or that a supplement they’re taking might contain a banned substance. This important new program helps to protect the health of our athletes and ensure a level playing field.”

USA Triathlon supported the formation of an Anti-Doping Task Force to evaluate the organization’s clean sport programs and provide recommendations for future direction. The eight members included Graziano, who served as the Task Force Chair; Chris Bowerbank, USA Triathlon former Level II Race Director and Regional Chair; Matthew Fedoruk, Chief Science Officer at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency; Andrew Getzin, USA Triathlon Head Team Physician; Courtney Kulick, USA Triathlon National Team Program Manager; Kate Mittelstadt, Director of the IRONMAN Anti-Doping Program; Steve Sutherland, Chair of the USA Triathlon Age Group Committee; and Jon Whiteman, USA Cycling Risk Protection Manager.

Based on the recommendations of the Task Force, the Board of Directors approved $100,000 in funding for USA Triathlon to implement significant new programming in 2018.

The Steering Committee, which is overseeing the timeline and implementation of that programming, retains many members of the initial Task Force — including Bowerbank, Fedoruk, Graziano, Kulick, Mittelstadt and Whiteman. Leslie Buchanan, Director of Anti-Doping at the International Triathlon Union, has also joined the effort.

“USA Triathlon is proud to have the support of the Board of Directors, as well as a diverse Steering Committee, in our efforts to protect clean athletes and prevent issues of doping in multisport,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “We look forward to driving awareness among our age-group community, while at the same time elevating the organization’s clean sport outreach as a whole.”

“We are very supportive of USA Triathlon’s efforts to promote clean sport across all levels of competition,” said Travis Tygart, USADA CEO. “In addition to its regular USADA-run anti-doping program, it is investing in anti-doping education for both elite and amateur triathletes. This not only helps ensure that athletes, coaches and others are prepared to compete clean, but also helps create a culture of clean sport.”

USA Triathlon has implemented the following as part of the Compete Clean campaign:

  • Hiring of Full-Time Staff Member Dedicated to SafeSport and Anti-Doping Initiatives: Shelbi Meyer was hired in June and serves as a direct liaison to USADA, working closely with USADA’s education and testing departments to implement best practices and coordinate testing at USA Triathlon-sanctioned events.
  • Education and Awareness Resources: USA Triathlon has communicated with its members on anti-doping topics throughout the year via e-newsletter, the quarterly USA Triathlon Magazine, social media and a promotional video featuring IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Andy Potts and 2016 Paralympic gold medalist Allysa Seely. USA Triathlon is also sharing printed educational materials and video content to address age-group athletes’ most common anti-doping questions and concerns, such as checking medications, obtaining a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) and making smart choices around supplements. Athletes at the elite and age-group levels have been involved in the campaign as ambassadors, wearing “Compete Clean” shirts at events around the world including the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia, and the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
  • USADA Education Staff at National Events: Representatives from USADA’s education department were onsite at the 2018 USA Triathlon Sprint and Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in Cleveland; the Art & Science of Triathlon International Coaching Symposium in Tempe, Arizona; and the USA Triathlon Multisport National Championships in Miami. At these events, USADA staff presented informational sessions to coaches and athletes, shared educational resources and answered questions at an expo booth. USA Triathlon will continue to coordinate with USADA for education and awareness at competitions and industry events through the 2019 season and beyond.
  • Increased Testing for Age-Group Athletes: Age-group athletes are now tested with more frequency and in higher numbers at collegiate and national championship events, especially those that qualify top finishers for the ITU Age Group World Championships. If an athlete has reason to believe a competitor is using performance-enhancing substances, he or she can submit a tip to USADA’s Play Clean Tip Center at usada.org/playclean with an option to remain anonymous.
  • Industry Collaboration: The organization continues to work closely with USADA, other Olympic sport National Governing Bodies, IRONMAN and additional triathlon industry partners to share resources, best practices and experiences in promoting clean sport.

Beyond its outreach to age-group athletes, USA Triathlon is also offering detailed educational opportunities to coaches, race directors, USA Triathlon staff, medical personnel and support staff.

For more information about USA Triathlon’s clean sport efforts, and for a list of USA Triathlon members currently serving sanctions for anti-doping violations, visit usatriathlon.org/antidoping.

Additional anti-doping resources are available at usada.org. For educational content geared toward youth athletes, visit truesport.org.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

 

 

Doping: Pozzetta Suspended – Always Check “High Risk” List

PICTURE SHOWS COMPLETE ENTRY FROM USADA SUPPLEMENT 411 for MetaSalt.

By Mark Cathcart

Every now and again a triathlete is suspended for failing controlled substance test. More often than not, the announcement is made by the IRONMAN® Anti-Doping Program and sometimes from USAT. This week, it was announced that American professional athlete Lucas Pozzetta  accepted a six-month suspension for an anti-doping rule violation after testing positive for a prohibited substance from a contaminated product.

It’s actually less than easy to find out what the contaminated product is, and since I’ve managed and worked with a number of professional triathletes, and am vehemently against athlete doping, I always do my best to keep up to date, especially when it comes to contaminated products. For various legal reasons(I guess?) the products are almost never discussed in the press release announcing the findings. That’s what happened in this case. No named product.

I went and checked the High Risk List and while there is no indication of a link between Pozzetta and MetaSalt, it’s worth noting that MetaSalt has been updated on the High Risk List (see attached entry). In this case, we had a bottle on the shelf in the pantry. Unfortunately since there is no batch number, or other unique qualifying detail, I can only implore you to discard this if you have it, I did.

Racing Clean is not just the purview of pro’s and age group winners, it is an important stance for all of us to take. It’s not sufficient to just demand more testing, that would come at an enormous cost. It’s estimated it costs some $300,000 to catch one cheat. I don’t want that bill added to my race entry price. Train clean, race pure.

UPDATE on Triathlete Banned for Doping Racing Ultras, Balogh’s Justification

Holly Balogh: Holly Balogh cycles up Fish Creek Road last June. Balogh was suspended by Ironman for four years after testing positive for testosterone. In addition to Ironman races, Balogh is barred from events put on by USA Track and Field and USA Cycling, among other organizations. – RYAN DORGAN / NEWS&GUIDE FILE

From Jackson Hole News and Guide

Balogh said prohibited substance was for medical use, not sport.

Jackson amateur triathlete Holly Balogh tested positive for a prohibited substance last year and accepted a four-year suspension from Ironman, according to a press release sent out Feb. 21 by the Ironman Anti-Doping Program.

Balogh, 46, tested positive for an exogenous testosterone or its metabolites. She was tested May 14 following her first-place finish in the women’s 45-49 age group at the 2016 Ironman North American Championship Texas.

Balogh did not have a therapeutic use exemption for the testosterone and began serving her suspension July 11, 2016. The Jackson real estate associate said she didn’t apply for a therapeutic use exemption — which those in the sport abbreviate to TUE — because she said she didn’t know what a TUE was.

“I didn’t think that I was doping,” she said. “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.”

The press release said Balogh “was aware of the inherent risks associated with her conduct and proceeded to knowingly take the prohibited substance.”

Balogh called the statement “completely inaccurate.”

After she was tested Balogh immediately began surfing the internet to find out if there was anything in her body that could produce a positive test. When her research revealed that the testosterone was a banned substance, she then disqualified herself from the race.

“Even though I was taking a substance within my body’s normal hormonal range, that because it was a synthetic, it would not be allowed,” she said.

Balogh initially exercised her right to appeal the hefty penalty for a first-time offender, but withdrew the appeal.

“At the end of the day it was going to cost me in excess of $12,000 and expose significant details of my health history, which as an amateur athlete just didn’t make sense to me,” she said.

Read the full story, including Balogh’s justification for racing under her maiden name after the ban, HERE

RELATED:

From irunfar

On Thursday, March 2, triathlon website 303 Triathlon published an article by Tim Heming stating that Holly Ballogh (née Hancock), a triathlete who had recently been giving a doping suspension by IRONMAN’s Anti-Doping Program, had turned to competing in ultramarathons under her maiden name of Holly Hancock and was entered to race this past Saturday’s Old Pueblo 50 Mile and had previously finished The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile – Utah in September 2016, also registered under her maiden name.

The text of the press release that explains her ban says it is a four-year ban starting on July 11, 2016, which precludes her from racing in “IRONMAN-affiliated competition or any events organized by any other WADA Code Signatory” during that time span.

By end-of-day Thursday, March 2, Holly Balogh (née Hancock) was no longer on the Old Pueblo entrants list. On Friday at 2 p.m., the race administration posted the following to their Facebook page, “I’ve been in touch with US Track and Field and USADA since Tuesday morning. I spoke to the person in question and she has been removed from the entrants list. All this can be verified by contacting Jeff Cook in the legal division at USADA, or you could have just checked the entrants list since Wednesday.” Thus, it seems conclusive that Holly Balogh (née Hancock) didn’t compete this weekend. (iRunFar attempted to contact the race administration on Friday, March 3, but has not received a response as of this publishing).

Given that her ban was announced on February 21, 2017, but that its start date preceded the TNF 50 Mile – Utah race day in September 2016, it looks like her results from that race should be removed as well. To be most precise, it actually looks like Holly Balogh (née Hancock) should not have been allowed to race TNF 50 Mile – Utah because she was already under a provisional suspension and because The North Face Endurance Challenge Series has an anti-doping policy that went into effect in August 2016 that disallows runners under current doping suspensions from participating in their events.

US age-group triathlete banned for doping competing in ultras under maiden name

Photo: PRICE CHAMBERS / NEWS&GUIDE

Exclusive for 303Triathlon

By Tim Heming

A US age-group triathlete banned for four years for doping is now competing in ultra marathons under her maiden name.

Holly Balogh, 46, a Kona qualifier and Ironman All World Athlete champion in 2014 and 2015, tested positive for exogenous testosterone after winning her age-group at Ironman Texas last summer.

The mum-of-two from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, trained under the highly reputable purplepatch Fitness, headed up by British coach Matt Dixon. It is believed a whistleblower alerted the drug enforcement agency USADA..

However, despite the ban, Balogh is now entered under her maiden name Hancock for the Old Pueblo ultra, a 50-mile race taking place this weekend in Sonoita, Arizona. The race is not thought to be governed by World Anti-Doping Association rules, and the organiser has not yet replied to requests for comment.

The use of any exogenous anabolic androgenic steroid is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code and Balogh did not apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

“It is unfortunate that Ms. Balogh chose to disregard the education, advice and knowledge she had regarding anti-doping and instead competed in violation of the Ironman Anti-Doping Rules,” said Kate Mittelstadt, Director of the Ironman Anti-Doping Program. “We applaud the decisions of the athlete support personnel to step forward, first to report Ms. Balogh’s use with disregard to their advice, and also for the conviction to include anti-doping awareness in their coaching. They each recognised the importance of honoring their obligations under the anti-doping rules and cooperated with Ironman’s investigation.”

Balogh initially challenged the verdict, before later dropping her case. A source who did not want to be named said: “To cut a long story short, she’s a type A person who became more obsessive through triathlon.

“She was a mid-level triathlete with a dream to go to Kona and a strong work ethic, but something changed around 2013. She injured herself through overtraining, but raced too soon and re-fractured her leg. She found a doctor who told her there is a pharmaceutical cure to her problem, when the problem is a mental one: she just can’t rest.

“It sounds like this new coaching group either saw something in her performance or she told them what she was doing. I suspect the latter because she was not terribly shy about this claiming it was for ‘medical reasons’.”

Balogh, a real estate manager who trained up to 25 hours a week, said finishing the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2014 was “the coolest experience of my life. That gets me a little emotional when I think about.”

Her failed samples from Texas comprised her only drug test of  2016. For comparison, Tim O’Donnell, the professional Ironman, was the most tested triathlete by USADA (15 times), with professionals responsible for the lionshare of tests.

Matt Dixon, head coach of purplepatch, said, “purplepatch has a very clear policy on any use of PED, as well as what we would see as potential ‘abuse’ of TUE with the aim of gaining a performance advantage.  We make it clear to each athlete, beginning with a set of commitments with our professional team, as well as information and education to all the amateurs who utilize our coaching services. … This global purplepatch policy applies to every athlete we help, and we find that establishing this policy ahead of time, and revisiting periodically, allows our primary focus to be channeled to our passion, namely, to help athletes improve and flourish.”

I asked Balogh via her new Twitter account whether she thought it was morally right to race in an ultra event while serving a doping suspension. I cited her tweet: ‘Interesting times right now, I will begin anew now, today, despite the insanity around me.’ Her response was to block me from following her or viewing her tweets.