“SAY NO! TO DOPING” but why aren’t we?

Our sport is young enough, it is connected to campaigns that drive the words Say NO! to doping, yet we accept those that go back into competition? More so they are allowed to earn victories and earn prize money.

There are enough motivated, honest people in our sport to override the minority and out those who have chosen to dope, cheat or bring the sport into disripute. So why is it that victories, prize money, media attention and sponsorship is being given to those who have once chosen to dope?

The past weeks have seen a large increase and focus on Lisa Hütthalers victories at IRONMAN 70.3 events. Observing these Tweets, Facebook posts and comments from other professional triathletes globally has brought me to think we need to speak our mind in order to better the future of our sport. Now I fully believe if the system, organisation and structure of our sport is correct, it will go mainstream. The bottom line is if we don’t get a hold of the doping situation at an early enough stage our sport will loose recognition.

Should those who have once tested positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs be eligible for qualification to major championships and receive race prize money? My answer to this question is – NO! Why? Because my belief and duty as a high performance sports person is to stand for what is right in sport; clean, honest and fair racing. Whether it be now or in the past those that have failed doping tests should become ineligible for qualification to major championships and/or games and ineligible from receiving prize money.

Lisa Hütthaler to those that don’t know has a history that includes failed drug testing, bribery and cheating. Here is what we know through publications written and available in the media. The information stated in the below bullet points has been gathered from online medias.

– Lisa Hütthaler, according to this article, paid 15.000 EUR for EPO.
– Lisa Hütthaler, according to this article, attempted to bribe a laboratory worker 20.000 EUR to make a ‘B’ sample test negative.
– Lisa Hütthaler, according to this article, used controversial racing methods in IRONMAN 70.3 Miami.

Lisa is not the only one and there are probably a few out there. So is it right that those that have once cheated are eligible to compete in major championships, claim race victories and receive race prize money?

I certainly think a lot more can be done to combat cheating in our sport. Doping regulations and testing programs have got better but I believe there is still a large room for improvement. We should also focus on past offenders; my wish and belief is that triathlon organisations (WTC, ITU, USAT etc.) will write their own rules to combat past offenders also. Rules that go something like “…any person committing any form of doping violation becomes ineligible indefinitely; to compete in major championships; be awarded race victories; receive any form of payment from race organisers (start fee or prize money)”.

Now we are very ignorant if we believe every triathlete out there today is clean, BUT we are certainly a sport that is young, not wrapped in doping scandals and in a position to make change. So before it goes to far I think a stronger stance needs to be taken on doping whether past or present.


  1. You may add EPO Dealing – Lisa Hütthaler was also sentenced for selling her EPO:
    End of 2008, three months before her interview for the SPIEGEL she sold her remaining doping drugs: 20.000 units EPO + 30.000 units Dynepo to the Austrian runner Susanne Pumper and 20.000 units EPO to her supplier, the Austrian ex-cyclist Christian Kerschbaumer according this article in German:

  2. Have you considered organizing a professional boycott of events where Hutthaler is allowed to race? That is guaranteed to send a strong message.

    • You are right on target! If I was a Pro, the only “Pro” that would be racing at an event where a known doper was racing would be that doper!

      Once caught, you should be banned for life. In fact, if I was a sponsor I’d go after that person in a court of law to get back every penny paid, and more!!

    • Doug unfortunately as sad is it is, professional athletes do not have value to race organizers and very few race organizers see professionals as an attraction. There isn’t a big enough ROI due to many factors, lack of media interest, professionals not being the main attraction of races etc. Currently race organizing is a business and we have to remember that. So unfortunately as much as I would LOVE to boycott an event in order to send a strong message, the truth is unless there was a mass boycott in an event like the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships then it would not make any difference. One boycotting athlete will can easily go unnoticed. It takes a strong message from an event organizer to send out the biggest message. It shouldn’t be the athletes that do this, it should be the organizers. No BS just be straight and say they are not welcome, none of this “everyone deserves a second chance stuff.” As Jodie Swallow recently wrote on Twitter, in life yes maybe, in sport it has no place.

  3. I think that obvious PED use should carry a lifetime pro and age-group ban (maybe you can race, but you can’t win – so if you want to race for fun as an AG’er enjoy yourself but you’ll never podium).

    I also think that a 2nd explicable positive test (regardless of excuses) should carry the same ban.

  4. Hi Helle,

    Just like you I am against doping. To me sports is all about getting the best performance without using any kind of doping. But as people watching top athletes doing the impossible and trying to believe that this is possible we should not fool ourself. A few weeks ago I was training in Iten in Kenya (you might know the place). At that moment there was a doping check and managers were informed about the moment the doping check was executed. I was told by the doping authority that in cycling teams offered cyclist two contracts. One with an high income, all big races and full support from doctors and the team. The other contract was one with much less money, no access to the big races and minimal support. The cyclist had the option to choose… But there was one catch! If the athlete wanted option one, he should not ask questions about the pills and medical care that he received from the doctor. Now you might question why most of these cyclist accepted this! But if this is your career and this is your one option to become a pro, it is maybe not a hard choice…

    One of the main problems, in my opinion, is that we as not top athletes want to see athletes performing on a non human level. And we forget that this is not possible. Doping should be banned from it roots and people should accept that we are humans and humans have limits!



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