Monday 23 October 2017

Lost for words in this strange world of acronyms

Sean Diffley

The machinations of those organisations hiding behind a flux of weird initials have, of course, become something we are so familiar with, or bored with, if you prefer.

The latest acronym to assault our delicate ears is something called USADA, which we shouldn't mix up with WADA, the world anti-doping association.

USADA is the US Anti-Doping Association and they are after Lance Armstrong in a pursuit which is a bit like that mystery man with the posse chasing Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.

The file is open again with Armstrong, the seven-times Tour de France winner, alleging that USADA is "dredging up discredited allegations 16 years old".

Armstrong is retired from cycling but is toying with the idea of being a triathlete.

And then there is the strange case of the British Olympic body striving to have Dwain Chambers, back after two-year ban for drugs, barred from representing his country in the coming Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the British ban should be lifted, so Chambers is eligible to run in the Olympics, provided he gets picked of course.

There was spectacular success in Seoul in 1988 when Ben Johnson was caught, except it was so obvious that technology was hardly all that necessary.

But Linford Christie got the silver that Games and then in 1992 in Barcelona, the Briton won gold. Then in 1999 he tested positive for nandrolone. But there was never a move to remove his gold and silver.

There have been a couple of drug-testing scandals that are disturbing. I refer to Michelle de Bruin and Cian O'Connor's horse, Waterford Crystal.

Like many involved in Irish sport, I believe the treatment of De Bruin (left) has been harsh, and many will agree with Eamonn Coghlan's recent remarks that she has been unfairly sidelined and the decision -- whoever made it -- to omit her from the recent bearers of the Olympic Flame was, to put it at its mildest, mean.

Basically, she has been the victim of a character assassination by one element in the media, a unique example of misplaced 'principle'.

As for O'Connor on Waterford Crystal in Athens in 2004, he won the individual show jumping but a drug was administered as a calming influence on the horse five weeks before the Olympics.

The FEI -- initials again -- ruled that the drug did not improve the horse's performance -- but O'Connor still had to give his gold medal back.

It's a strange sporting world we live in, isn't it?

Irish Independent

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