Letter to the Editor

In support of anti-doping agency

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dear Editor,

I respectfully disagree with your negative comments regarding the United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into suspicions of illegal drug use by Lance Armstrong. ("So, to hell with you, United States Anti-Doping Agency, and your fanatical 13-year quest to bring down a hero...for reasons, I suspect, that have a lot to do with the agency trying to justify its own not-so-useful existence, and its director trying mightily to make himself famous at someone else's expense." - Pilot Tribune" letter from the editor", Tuesday, September 11, 2012)

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit with the original director of the agency, Frank Shorter, who helped found the organization in 1999. Frank is one of the most famous people in the running world, having won the gold medal in the 1972 Munich Olympic marathon, so he certainly didn't need to get involved in the agency for additional personal publicity. Actually he should possess another gold from the 1976 Olympics, however, because of drug cheating by "winner", East German marathoner, Waldemar Cierpinski, Frank was only awarded the silver. So following that negative experience, Frank chose to devote a considerable amount of time and energy in trying to instill fairness and integrity into the sport he loves, an endeavor I find very admirable.

The current director of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Edwin Moses, is also a highly famous world class athlete, so he definitely is not involved in the agency to attract more fame and fortune, as well.

Another accomplished athlete, Cheri Blauwet, MD, formerly of Larchwood, Iowa, presently serves as a member of the USADA Board. A two time winner of the Boston Marathon, she is one of the most celebrated wheelchair athletes in our nation's history who, after retiring from active competition, is pursuing a medical career. A very busy person, I doubt she joined the agency to gain more attention for herself.

As an elite masters runner, I am very thankful for the efforts of people involved in the United States Anti-Doping Agency in trying to eliminate unfair competition in my sport. This weekend I will be running in the National Masters Marathon Championship being held in conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon. The afternoon before the race I will be attending a mandatory elite athlete's meeting in which information on rules and regulations, including random drug testing, will be presented. I very much appreciate the extra time and expense of the race organizers in making the Twin Cities Marathon a quality event that cares about integrity and fairness.

So I am very glad for the existence of the USADA, and if my competition gets ahead of me on Sunday, it will be because of better genetics and training, not on account of unfair doping advantages.