It’s a controversy that’s taken the swimming world by storm, with Australia’s Mack Horton refusing to stand on the podium alongside China’s Sung Yan in apparent protest of his recent dealings with FINA’s doping authority.
Most elite sports take the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) quite seriously.
If you are at the top of your game, you accept at some point someone in a brightly coloured vest with the word ‘doping’ emblazoned upon it will approach you and take you to the doping tent to watch you have a pee.
You will also know that at some time there will be a knock on your door at home and once again you will be asked to provide a sample.
It is just a part of top level sport.
In the pursuit of sporting success, dealing with doping control is a fact of life, but when does it become too much of a burden?
Imagine you have just completed a personal best in your event. The excitement, the euphoria is palpable. You simply do not want that feeling to stop.
Right at this moment, someone taps you on the shoulder and says, “Excuse me, could you follow me to the doping area?”
Of course you do what you need to do, but it would be a buzz kill, would it not?
Emil Hegle Svendsen is one of biathlon’s top male competitors – the 28-year-old Norwegian is currently in second place in the 2013/2014 Biathlon World Cup.
As an elite competitor he is used to providing regular doping samples.
In biathlon, like many other sports, each competitor that climbs the podium is tested, plus there are the usual random tests – both in and out of competition.
Svensden recently tweeted his frustration at the amount of testing:
The last 14 days I have completed no less than 7 doping controls. 4 competition tests and 3 out of competition tests. Good work @wada_ama !
— Emil Hegle Svendsen (@SuperSvendsen) January 12, 2014
With seven tests in 14 days, how different could each sample be?
It is a part of sport that these controls must be in place, but when does the number of samples taken become too many?
When does the push for ‘clean competition’ start to be simply a procedural burden?