Sun | Feb 25, 2018

Follow The Trace | Is The IOC Being A Big Bully?

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Nesta Carter

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has so meticulously structured the rules of engagement as they relate to stored samples and retroactive drug testing that it is virtually impossible for the accused athletes to be judged fairly.

The Nesta Carter case is a classic case in point, where the Olympic governing body, after the original sample taken in 2008 was deemed clean by their own testing machinery, eight years later, then declares an adverse analytical finding from the same sample for a substance that was not on the banned list at the time of taking the original sample. The now banned substance, methylhexanamine, was indeed added to the banned list some three years after Nesta gave his sample in Beijing in 2008.

Injustice does not get any more fundamental than that. If this scenario was a matter of a crime and law, Nesta Carter would walk away a free man, with the option of suing for damages.

Athletes have absolutely no legal obligation not to take any substance that is not on the banned list, therefore Nesta Carter, and or any other active athlete should, in principle, be free to ingest any substance into his system as long as that substance is not on the banned list. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should put every single performance-enhancing substance they can define scientifically on the banned list and go testing for them. Outside of that, it should all be fair game. My bewilderment is that a principle so simple and fundamental is being violated so publicly and with such vulgarity, with very minimal pushback.

The claim by the IOC is that methylhexanamine, the substance found in Carter's eight-year-old sample, has similar chemical properties to tuaminoheptane, which was on the banned list at the time. therefore, the essence of what the IOC is saying is that in this "similarity" lays the breach by Carter. In science, however, "similar" cannot be interpreted to mean "same", and this is the case that the IOC is seeking to make, and because of their unique position of power, they will more than likely they will continue to make.


IOC justice


This is akin to a man being found "not guilty" of the specific crime of "washing cars" in 2016 because washing cars was not illegal in 2016. Washing trucks, however, was illegal in 2016, but despite not washing any trucks in 2016 and washing only cars, that man is now being charged and convicted retroactively for washing cars in 2016 because it was "similar" to washing trucks and is now illegal in 2017. That is IOC justice.

One is forced to wonder if the flawed principles surrounding this Nesta Carter case are so clearly visible to the untrained eye, what kind of approach did Carter's legal team take in arguing this case? what other angle could they take? If Carter tested for a substance that was on the banned list in 2008 when his sample was taken, this conversation would not be taking place because it would not be relevant.

It is, however, a spurious denial of scientific principles to accuse and convict a person on the premise that similar is the same. Methylhexanamine is not even close in spelling or pronunciation to tuanimoheptane. The latter was on the banned list in 2008 and was duly not found in Carter's sample. the former was not on the banned list in 2008, thus Carter had all the right to ingest it into his system.

Nesta Carter, and to a lesser extent Jamaica's entire programme, is being brought to shame and scandal by an action that is unjust in principle. Having listened extensively to almost all the discussions and analysis surrounding this issue, I find that for the most part, the discussions have been charged with self-righteousness and emotionalism while missing the very essence of justice.