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Doping in XC skiing

The Clinic is the only place on Cyclingnews where you can discuss doping-related issues. Ask questions, discuss positives or improvements to procedures.

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27 Feb 2018 15:03

My only point here is how you guys ripped into Bjørgen winning by 2 minutes while completely glossing over the fact that the same happened in the usually much more competitive men's 50k, and they did it while absolutely demolishing the (according to the regulars here) most doped up, doped skier in modern times. And hilariously, now some start arguing that maybe MJS did'nt dope "as much" during this olympics due to media/CAS/WADA scrutiny. At the same time, the same people were outraged at the TUE's and amount of corticosteroids the norwegians brought to Korea, and took it as proof of systemic cheating. You can't have it both ways.
The core of the problem here seems to be the anger at the "veil of innocence" shrouding the norwegians in the public eye. And this makes a lot of you go ballistic. But, it's possible to critique norwegians without being a russian apologist and constructing elaborate, far reaching conspiracy theories to defend them.
I must admit though that its kind of fun to see some of the mental gymnastics, like the otherwise well informed LS questioning what is most dubious, winning only in championships/most important race in the season, or winning all throughout the season for 15 years? As if she suddenly knows nothing about how dopers cheat detection.
Oude Geuze
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Re:

27 Feb 2018 18:33

Oude Geuze wrote:My only point here is how you guys ripped into Bjørgen winning by 2 minutes while completely glossing over the fact that the same happened in the usually much more competitive men's 50k, and they did it while absolutely demolishing the (according to the regulars here) most doped up, doped skier in modern times. And hilariously, now some start arguing that maybe MJS did'nt dope "as much" during this olympics due to media/CAS/WADA scrutiny. At the same time, the same people were outraged at the TUE's and amount of corticosteroids the norwegians brought to Korea, and took it as proof of systemic cheating. You can't have it both ways.
The core of the problem here seems to be the anger at the "veil of innocence" shrouding the norwegians in the public eye. And this makes a lot of you go ballistic. But, it's possible to critique norwegians without being a russian apologist and constructing elaborate, far reaching conspiracy theories to defend them.
I must admit though that its kind of fun to see some of the mental gymnastics, like the otherwise well informed LS questioning what is most dubious, winning only in championships/most important race in the season, or winning all throughout the season for 15 years? As if she suddenly knows nothing about how dopers cheat detection.

I was not questioning what was most dubious, I was framing the discussion prior to my post as a discussion of which was most dubious, and then making a statement that both the likes of Bjørgen and the likes of Bolshunov are outliers, just at other ends of the distribution. Racing form, and indeed career trajectory, is like a bell curve. All things being equal, some people can hold form for longer, some people will get race fatigued quicker. Over the course of a season, people will have some periods with better form and some with worse form. People whose results jump up enormously at a given point will always attract suspicion, but people who never have a bad day also attract it too. People whose performance capability suddenly jumps up several years into their career justifiably raise some eyebrows, but people who don't deteriorate with age do too.

Now, we must point out, however, that for all the fuss she attracts in this thread, Marit Bjørgen HAS shown signs of deteriorating with age; while she is still capable of dismantling a field with a destructive performance like that Olympic 30k, there was a time when she was doing that in nigh on every race, and performances like that have become much more infrequent. But the fact that she's still capable of doing that at this point in her career does make a lot of people baulk, not least because of all of the other noise that has surrounded the team, whether true or not, of late, and given her physical frame which is against the historical precedent for what you'd expect of a 30k racer. For a cycling comparison, imagine if Valverde was performing like he still is to this day, only he had never been suspended, and had Indurain's frame. You can argue that that's a very superficial way of looking at it - and you would also be right. After all, older skiers always tend towards the super-endurance as their explosivity dwindles, and for the most part the marathon skiing events on Visma Ski Classics are filled with elder statesmen of the sport, so it makes sense that Marit may become less successful in the shorter events but hold on to her level in the longer ones for longer. But you also can't deny that in terms of the kind of people that are able to perform at that elite level in the 30k - and to do so consistently - historically, Marit Bjørgen is, physically, very much an outlier.

Just like Bolshunov finding form or Niskanen borrowing Johann Olsson's traditional season plan.
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Re: Re:

28 Feb 2018 09:14

Libertine Seguros wrote:
Oude Geuze wrote:My only point here is how you guys ripped into Bjørgen winning by 2 minutes while completely glossing over the fact that the same happened in the usually much more competitive men's 50k, and they did it while absolutely demolishing the (according to the regulars here) most doped up, doped skier in modern times. And hilariously, now some start arguing that maybe MJS did'nt dope "as much" during this olympics due to media/CAS/WADA scrutiny. At the same time, the same people were outraged at the TUE's and amount of corticosteroids the norwegians brought to Korea, and took it as proof of systemic cheating. You can't have it both ways.
The core of the problem here seems to be the anger at the "veil of innocence" shrouding the norwegians in the public eye. And this makes a lot of you go ballistic. But, it's possible to critique norwegians without being a russian apologist and constructing elaborate, far reaching conspiracy theories to defend them.
I must admit though that its kind of fun to see some of the mental gymnastics, like the otherwise well informed LS questioning what is most dubious, winning only in championships/most important race in the season, or winning all throughout the season for 15 years? As if she suddenly knows nothing about how dopers cheat detection.

I was not questioning what was most dubious, I was framing the discussion prior to my post as a discussion of which was most dubious, and then making a statement that both the likes of Bjørgen and the likes of Bolshunov are outliers, just at other ends of the distribution. Racing form, and indeed career trajectory, is like a bell curve. All things being equal, some people can hold form for longer, some people will get race fatigued quicker. Over the course of a season, people will have some periods with better form and some with worse form. People whose results jump up enormously at a given point will always attract suspicion, but people who never have a bad day also attract it too. People whose performance capability suddenly jumps up several years into their career justifiably raise some eyebrows, but people who don't deteriorate with age do too.

Now, we must point out, however, that for all the fuss she attracts in this thread, Marit Bjørgen HAS shown signs of deteriorating with age; while she is still capable of dismantling a field with a destructive performance like that Olympic 30k, there was a time when she was doing that in nigh on every race, and performances like that have become much more infrequent. But the fact that she's still capable of doing that at this point in her career does make a lot of people baulk, not least because of all of the other noise that has surrounded the team, whether true or not, of late, and given her physical frame which is against the historical precedent for what you'd expect of a 30k racer. For a cycling comparison, imagine if Valverde was performing like he still is to this day, only he had never been suspended, and had Indurain's frame. You can argue that that's a very superficial way of looking at it - and you would also be right. After all, older skiers always tend towards the super-endurance as their explosivity dwindles, and for the most part the marathon skiing events on Visma Ski Classics are filled with elder statesmen of the sport, so it makes sense that Marit may become less successful in the shorter events but hold on to her level in the longer ones for longer. But you also can't deny that in terms of the kind of people that are able to perform at that elite level in the 30k - and to do so consistently - historically, Marit Bjørgen is, physically, very much an outlier.

Just like Bolshunov finding form or Niskanen borrowing Johann Olsson's traditional season plan.


Maybe not completely fair for Niskanen as at least he has been competing regularly before the big games in last 2 years, which you can't really say about Olsson save to 1-2 odd competitions with barely top 10 and then up to Olympics/World Champ podium.

But Niskanen and Bolshunov are fairly interesting comparisons as there are lot of similarities between the 2.

Niskanen came from nowhere to win U23 world champ in 2014 and followed that with Olympic gold in pair sprint and 4th in 15km Classic in Sotshi. Yes, he was always very promising Classic skier, but nothing really special before the outburst in 2014. He did have also lot of health problems in younger age, which did slow down the progress, but still the way he came to the top of the lists was fairly suspicious in terms of clinic respect.

Bolshunov on the other hand was pretty decent TOP 10 skier in U20 (like Niskanen) still in spring 2016 including the Junior Champs, but in general his best results always came from sprint. He was beaten fair and square (normally calculated in minutes) by his fellow compatriots Yakimushkin, Spitsov and year older Chervotkin in longer distances during 2015 and still the spring season of 2016. 8 Months later in the first races of autumn 2016 the situation was turned upside down with Bolshunov destroying the named skiers (and many others) with half a minute to a minute in 15km. He definitely did something right in the summer 2016 compared to others - and as we know today i.e. Spitsov hasn't exactly had off season in between, but his progress has been much more stable and understandable than the one with Bolshunov. After the summer 2016 all is history with Bolshunov with several golds in U23 and of course this season with outstanding (too?) results in the top of the field. One hell of a transformation I would say.

For the Norwegian - enough is said in here - it is suspicious and it keeps on being suspicious, but I can't see anything groundbreaking to be revealed about their methods - if there ever has been any groundbreaking to be revealed. I would like to copy what Tom Boonen said about Froome - yes Salbutamol (and Asthma medicines in general) are in the grey area, but those will not make you to win TDF rider. Equally so for mom Marit or MJS. They are also hell of an athletes.
bambino
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Re: Re:

28 Feb 2018 10:05

bambino wrote:
But Niskanen and Bolshunov are fairly interesting comparisons as there are lot of similarities between the 2.

i replayed the olympic 50k twice...indeed, the similarity btwn the 2 was quite noticeable. i mean their classic styles, statue and physical characteristics. feel free to disagree, i am relating only my own impressions..both are approximately the same height, weight (niskanen could be lighter by a couple kg). both favour the traditional long striding with upright posture. they were almost indistinguishable on some sections with identical cadence, where as i could instantly pick anyone around or behind them. what i am trying to say is that there are very efficient styles and less so. the 2 i am describing have certainly worked successfully to polish theirs. to add, and this hasn't been widely known, is that bolshunov at his tender 21 is a fastidious analyst and student of his own and others performances including of course the video. to assume, that a talented professional skier at 21 (or even at 26 like niskanen) cant achieve a substantial performance gains due to style/efficiency/strength improvements is not reasonable. to assume the improvements due to doping isn't unreasonable, but i personally need MORE before going there.

that's why i do not pay much attention to performance differences unless they CONSISTENTLY start pushing 3,4,5% margin over the runners up...in a friction-dependent sports like XC, the occasional outliers are easy to explain by a mariad of random realistic factors...that's why johaug for instance has always been on my radar...

the spikes in their haemoglobin and rets are a far more serious suspicion driver. but we aren't afforded the look.

to conclude, i do NOT suspect niskanen, bolshunov and even klaebo (with all his outstanding results) of any wrongdoing yet. all have been outstandingly gifted and are quite young to keep progressing naturally. i will however add that i have no trust in the bolshunov coach borodavko as he's an old soviet school.
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Re: Re:

28 Feb 2018 10:44

python wrote:
bambino wrote:
But Niskanen and Bolshunov are fairly interesting comparisons as there are lot of similarities between the 2.

i will however add that i have no trust in the bolshunov coach borodavko as he's an old soviet school.


I'm with you on your analysis and will wait and see what the future will bring.

Glad you mentioned Borodavko, who was banned by Russian federation from any official role in 2010 for 2 years and has quite some clinic history behind him in his athleetes. Currently teaching how Bolshunov, Spitsov, Chervotkin and Nepryaeva should ski. In others words most of the medals for Russians in Korea.
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28 Feb 2018 13:52

Both Bolshunov and Niskanen use Rossignol skis, I think that also was a significant factor in the 50k race.
pettero
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Re:

28 Feb 2018 15:47

pettero wrote:Both Bolshunov and Niskanen use Rossignol skis, I think that also was a significant factor in the 50k race.

i am not the latest equipment expert, but owning a dozen pairs myself (including the rossignols) i'd tend to look at a ski brand as a less important component (in a particular performance !) compared to such factors as the proper stiffness/flex and, particularly, the ski surface preparation wrt glide and kick wax zoning, wax selection etc. besides, most elite skiers have their skis customized by the sponsors for them and them only. again, i am looking at a given set of snow/weather conditions, of course.

for instance, lets look at bolshunov vs niskanen in the olympic 50k...and this can illustrate the importance of ski preparation for those often wondering of a doping advantage vs. a ski prep.

recall, that after the skiers were well past half the distance, bolshunov started his gradual chase of niskanen. the pull back of about 25 seconds was gradual and took many kilometers to eventually catch up. were the bolshunov skis working better than niskanen's then ? i'd tend to say yes, b/c 1) bolshunov changed to new skis at 25km and niskanen didn't; 2) the difference in their speed was unlikely due to niskanen getting tired. he was NOT more tired than bolshunov b/c as we learned later (i will come back to that in a moment) niskanen had enough energy to not only catch bolshunov after a swap, but also much later to execute a winning surge on his new skis. missing his last feed, mind you !

so. bolshunov chose to not change to the finish. he gained about 10-11 seconds while niskanen has put a perfectly prepped pair. what happened then ? as if a new man, niskananen took 1.1 km (!!!) to catch/eliminate the 11 seconds gap and visibly gliding much better when both were together. as we learned later, the snow got colder over several hours and the REASON bolshunov had decided to take a risk not changing was b/c the pair awaiting him in the box was prepped for warm conditions. that's what he said himself.

now decide for yourself how important is the right prepping vs the brand (which was the same) vs. doping...
-----
- revised the highest gap from 40sec to 25 sec
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Re: Re:

28 Feb 2018 17:41

python wrote:
pettero wrote:Both Bolshunov and Niskanen use Rossignol skis, I think that also was a significant factor in the 50k race.

i am not the latest equipment expert, but owning a dozen pairs myself (including the rossignols) i'd tend to look at a ski brand as a less important component (in a particular performance !) compared to such factors as the proper stiffness/flex and, particularly, the ski surface preparation wrt glide and kick wax zoning, wax selection etc. besides, most elite skiers have their skis customized by the sponsors for them and them only. again, i am looking at a given set of snow/weather conditions, of course.

for instance, lets look at bolshunov vs niskanen in the olympic 50k...and this can illustrate the importance of ski preparation for those often wondering of a doping advantage vs. a ski prep.

recall, that after the skiers were well past half the distance, bolshunov started his gradual chase of niskanen. the pull back of about 25 seconds was gradual and took many kilometers to eventually catch up. were the bolshunov skis working better than niskanen's then ? i'd tend to say yes, b/c 1) bolshunov changed to new skis at 25km and niskanen didn't; 2) the difference in their speed was unlikely due to niskanen getting tired. he was NOT more tired than bolshunov b/c as we learned later (i will come back to that in a moment) niskanen had enough energy to not only catch bolshunov after a swap, but also much later to execute a winning surge on his new skis. missing his last feed, mind you !

so. bolshunov chose to not change to the finish. he gained about 10-11 seconds while niskanen has put a perfectly prepped pair. what happened then ? as if a new man, niskananen took 1.1 km (!!!) to catch/eliminate the 11 seconds gap and visibly gliding much better when both were together. as we learned later, the snow got colder over several hours and the REASON bolshunov had decided to take a risk not changing was b/c the pair awaiting him in the box was prepped for warm conditions. that's what he said himself.

now decide for yourself how important is the right prepping vs the brand (which was the same) vs. doping...
-----
- revised the highest gap from 40sec to 25 sec


My own suspision is that indeed Russians made some sort of mistake in the ski selection. Whether it was warm vs. cold pair or simply not having 2 really good pairs to that weather is debatable. I recon actually the latter, I think the first pair they used (and should've changed to again) was much worse in relation to the second they used to ski home.

Yes, Bolshunov took 25 odd seconds back from Niskanen after his change in 25km, but let's look at Larkov who only did one change as did Bolshunov during the race:

after Larkov's pitstop, he was 52sec behind Subdby and 3rd place. He took that deficit back in mere 6-7km! And the group with MJS et all was not exactly holding back. Larkov actually went good couple of km's about the same speed as Niskanen/Bolshunov. I recon the pair Russians had was fabulous, keeping in mind all the other had only 8km old pairs at the point.

Now all the others (MJS, Harvey and Holund) did change their skis second time after Larkov catched on them, yet he was still able to hang on, was actually the one increasing the speed of that group when they noticed Poltoranin is fading and was able to drop all the rest (with fresher skis) fair and square for the Bronze.

All in all, I think the Russians had the best pair of skis of the competition in the second leg and that is the sole reason Bolshunov (not Larkov) didn't change for the last lap. They simply didn't have anything better in offer. Yes Niskanen had very good glide, but he was also stronger. Bolshunov changing to whatever they had would've not changed anything.
bambino
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28 Feb 2018 18:25

my source of information as to why bolshunov DID NOT change the last time he had an opprtunity is as good as is available in any circumstances, as opposed to bringing another skier's performance. the source is bolshunov himself, which i repeat was a warm pair was awaing for him while the weather got colder. dont know why would he not tell the truth. no russian staff contradicted his story. so he decided to forgo the pair he felt was waxed as those he had already on. it does not mean he had a bad pair, but niskanen had a better pair. it is ABSOLUTELY obvious from the available video as he was straightening his back behind bolshunov avoiding to bump into the guy. the point where niskanen attacked - again absolutely clear from the video - was a downhill. again, this is the evidence he was gliding MUCH better.

regarding larkov - again using his own words - he was thinking of quitting the race so bad was his 1st pair. he said he barely made to the exchange and started to feel MUCH better b/c the 2nd pair felt very good. that said, the way larkov's skis worked has little to do with the way bolshumnov's did. of course, the russian techs talk to each other and compare the notes and coordinate waxing, BUT there are several reasons why the 2 dont have much to do with each other. one, they use different flex skis designed for their individual bodies and styles. bolshunov is visibly a more pronounced push down skier. two, dont know how the finnish team works, but each russian skier has an assigned personal lead tech that is responsible for the skis. the 2 coordinate their work with the skier they serve as opposed to some team-wide pattern.

and lastly, you seem getting hung on niskanen being stronger and that's why he won. i never referred to him not being strong. in fact, i explicitly said that niskanen was not more tired than bolshunov when alex caught him. we can only say what's visible from the video. that was the whole point of my previous analysis - to entertain the ski prep vs their brand vs the potential doping that many suspect. i dont. yet.
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Re:

28 Feb 2018 18:37

pettero wrote:Both Bolshunov and Niskanen use Rossignol skis, I think that also was a significant factor in the 50k race.


Yup, Jaks and Patterson also punching above their weight --> Rossignol.

Sundby actually said it straight out after the race. Guess Fischer was not happy about that.
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Re:

28 Feb 2018 19:11

python wrote:my source of information as to why bolshunov DID NOT change the last time he had an opprtunity is as good as is available in any circumstances, as opposed to bringing another skier's performance. the source is bolshunov himself, which i repeat was a warm pair was awaing for him while the weather got colder. dont know why would he not tell the truth. no russian staff contradicted his story. so he decided to forgo the pair he felt was waxed as those he had already on. it does not mean he had a bad pair, but niskanen had a better pair. it is ABSOLUTELY obvious from the available video as he was straightening his back behind bolshunov avoiding to bump into the guy. the point where niskanen attacked - again absolutely clear from the video - was a downhill. again, this is the evidence he was gliding MUCH better.

regarding larkov - again using his own words - he was thinking of quitting the race so bad was his 1st pair. he said he barely made to the exchange and started to feel MUCH better b/c the 2nd pair felt very good. that said, the way larkov's skis worked has little to do with the way bolshumnov's did. of course, the russian techs talk to each other and compare the notes and coordinate waxing, BUT there are several reasons why the 2 dont have much to do with each other. one, they use different flex skis designed for their individual bodies and styles. bolshunov is visibly a more pronounced push down skier. two, dont know how the finnish team works, but each russian skier has an assigned personal lead tech that is responsible for the skis. the 2 coordinate their work with the skier they serve as opposed to some team-wide pattern.

and lastly, you seem getting hung on niskanen being stronger and that's why he won. i never referred to him not being strong. in fact, i explicitly said that niskanen was not more tired than bolshunov when alex caught him. we can only say what's visible from the video. that was the whole point of my previous analysis - to entertain the ski prep vs their brand vs the potential doping that many suspect. i dont. yet.


Yeah this has nothing to do with clinic and we should move to the other end of the forum. But as I'm not the one who started, I'll reply once more.

There are several reasons to "lie" for the real reason, i.e. not the upset your ski supplier (also often personal sponsor) about not supplying enough good pairs, or not to upset your team management (especially in Russian culture) for not brining good pairs for the athelete. But I'm with you that Bolshunov might've told exact truth, but I can't find statistics how much the temperature actually changed during the race. Finns were worried (publically) about snowing and not the change in temperature, but they might've taken temperature better into account to start with.

I agree in Niskanen, of course he had better (fresher) skis at the end, but downhill speed is also dependent to your strehght and moving of legs etc. It is a static situation and if you are done with the energy (especially legs) your speed will reduce significantly.

I didn't know about Larkov's comments about the first pair, but I think that only proves the point of no alternatives. Why the hell did he not change earlier then when he had (2) the opportunity? Probably because he new he will not have pair for 2nd change and skiing 4-5 laps with single pair would've been a suicide.

According to TV commentary, the finns service team had up to 4 guys continuously skiing with different combinations during the race and giving their observations to all personal lead techs of all 4 skiers. So yes, it was very much of a team work. I assume the other big teams had similar setup.

Btw. Not sure if you noticed, but Rickardsson was the quickest of them all in the last 45min of racing. That should make you happy :)
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Re: Doping in XC skiing

01 Mar 2018 02:59

I thought the Clinic would find this entertaining :redface: :razz:
"Ms. Bjorgen’s training also confounded expectations about how young athletes progress and what human beings, including women, are capable of."

NY Times:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/well/move/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-be-an-olympian.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad
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Re: Doping in XC skiing

01 Mar 2018 11:38

Sciatic wrote:I thought the Clinic would find this entertaining :redface: :razz:
"Ms. Bjorgen’s training also confounded expectations about how young athletes progress and what human beings, including women, are capable of."

NY Time
s:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/well/move/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-be-an-olympian.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

So, two universities in Norway studied Marit Bjoergens training data stretching over 17 years, in hope of finding new knowledge in how to become a top athlete. Basically the conclusions from the Norwegian researchers are:

The lessons for more-average athletes from her training arc are perhaps subtle, Ms. Solli says, since Ms. Bjorgen most likely has physical, genetic and psychological gifts that have thoughtlessly bypassed the rest of us.

Ms. Bjorgen, as an athlete, is remarkable and probably, Ms. Solli says, “unique.”

Discgear
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Re: Doping in XC skiing

01 Mar 2018 12:40

I should read the paper more carefully before making too much noise about it, but I think I am not the only one whose first impression was pretty much the same that one cynical exercise physiologist made some twelve years ago under oath after reviewing the data of another outstanding athlete:
I guess when I first saw this article, the thing that struck me is if you have a look at the maximal oxygen uptake values, you know... those aren't the sort of values that I would have expected to see in an athlete who could literally leave behind the best [] on the planet. So it struck me as, gee, that's lower than what I would have expected.

One might've expected that after the genetic selectivity and high altitude training, the Vo2MAX figure would have tendency to be higher now than in the (pre-blood doping) past, but Björgen's relative oxygen uptake is indeed stated as "only" ~68 ml/kg/min.

When one puts the figure into comparison, physiologists Bengt Saltin and Per-Olof Åstrand quote in a 1967 working paper a Russian source about a female XC-skier (Maria Gusakova) with a value of 74 ml/kg/min already in the 1960's and the Finnish triple-medallist of the 1972 Sapporo games with a similar height as Marit (169 cm) tested 75.1 ml/kg/min when Saltin and his pals tested her in 1973, most likely because the Finn was very much leaner (59 kg) than Marit (~65 kg).

Assuming that Marit Björgen is doping, maybe this illustrates once again (as with the Froome data) that the data provided for publishing isn't the most exact data about how good the "engine" is on the D-day.

Another equally tempting likelihood is that the oxygen engine isn't the alpha and omega of the performance particularly in a complex sports such as xc-skiing and that the research on the limiting factors of the performance and on the methods to circumvent them has taken enormous leaps since the 1960's particularly regarding females.
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01 Mar 2018 12:53

i am pretty sure i read an article in a norwegian media last year (cant recall exactly which) where our infamous muscle mamma boasted of raising her vo2 max to 75 or so. the article also mentioned her 'intermediate' vo2 values and was basically a promo of her unique training methods...whatever.
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01 Mar 2018 12:59

The article should have mentioned that Bjoergen made her remarkable transformation from a great skier to the GOAT right after she started taking asthma medicine before the 2010 Vancouver games. Giving Bjoergen the benefit of the doubt, maybe she actually does have asthma and it was the asthma that was holding her back from being a 'unique' athlete, as much as it was here training regime.
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Re: Doping in XC skiing

01 Mar 2018 21:01

Aragon wrote:I should read the paper more carefully before making too much noise about it, but I think I am not the only one whose first impression was pretty much the same that one cynical exercise physiologist made some twelve years ago under oath after reviewing the data of another outstanding athlete:
I guess when I first saw this article, the thing that struck me is if you have a look at the maximal oxygen uptake values, you know... those aren't the sort of values that I would have expected to see in an athlete who could literally leave behind the best [] on the planet. So it struck me as, gee, that's lower than what I would have expected.

One might've expected that after the genetic selectivity and high altitude training, the Vo2MAX figure would have tendency to be higher now than in the (pre-blood doping) past, but Björgen's relative oxygen uptake is indeed stated as "only" ~68 ml/kg/min.

When one puts the figure into comparison, physiologists Bengt Saltin and Per-Olof Åstrand quote in a 1967 working paper a Russian source about a female XC-skier (Maria Gusakova) with a value of 74 ml/kg/min already in the 1960's and the Finnish triple-medallist of the 1972 Sapporo games with a similar height as Marit (169 cm) tested 75.1 ml/kg/min when Saltin and his pals tested her in 1973, most likely because the Finn was very much leaner (59 kg) than Marit (~65 kg).

Assuming that Marit Björgen is doping, maybe this illustrates once again (as with the Froome data) that the data provided for publishing isn't the most exact data about how good the "engine" is on the D-day.

Another equally tempting likelihood is that the oxygen engine isn't the alpha and omega of the performance particularly in a complex sports such as xc-skiing and that the research on the limiting factors of the performance and on the methods to circumvent them has taken enormous leaps since the 1960's particularly regarding females.

How many female crossfitters do you know who can puff a 68 of plain water and air? Let's not forget again the many kilograms of muscle Bjoergen hauls around, compared to ALL female endurance athletes. She's an endomorph basically.
Remember Armstrong's lying about his weight to obscure his increased power compared to worlds winning form? Bjoergen has a "modest" VO2max thanks to hauling all that armstrong around, and then some. Lance is a twigg compared to her.
With such figures in her decades long prime, Bjoergen as a skinny teenager should have been way quicker than the likes of Neuner already. But she started a sprint specialist who never got svelte for the long distance.
Funny how with runners, they do get skinny to hit the (half)marathon after doing mid distance. What do they know, huh.
Again, 68 is a good but acceptable number for TONED women focused at endurance, not ripped ones. The heart cannot grow along with the muscle mass, it's going to act up. Oh, what? It already did?
Last edited by Cloxxki on 03 Mar 2018 15:36, edited 1 time in total.
Cloxxki
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Re: Doping in XC skiing

03 Mar 2018 13:46

"Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on the podium busting my biceps lifting all these medals"

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Pazuzu
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Re: Doping in XC skiing

07 Mar 2018 16:23

Yeah that team sprint performance in Korea by Randall is looking more and more fishy now...
BullsFan22
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08 Mar 2018 18:11

The usage of medications in the Olympics are now ready:
https://www.nrk.no/ytring/ol-fjaera-som-ble-til-fem-astmatiske-hons-1.13947216

It seems I have been misled. NRK used wrong comparisons between the nations. The only comparable area for which numbers were available were Ventoline. Thats all the info NRK got from other nations. The number of inhalers with Ventoline that was brought to the Olympics: Norway: 12, Germany: 30, Sweden: 10, Finland: 10.

During the Olympics the Norwegians used 2 of the inhalers. One for an athlete and one for a member of the support staff. Both had a previous diagnosis of asthma.

The 6000 number NRK used relating to all asthma medication is number of doses. Each inhaler contains 120-200 doses. If I understand correctly they had a total of 43 inhalers with them. That is about 140 doses per inhaler.

The other countries apparently didn't want to disclose how many medications they sent. With the way NRK misused the information they got from the Norwegians, I can understand why they won't give out that information.

In total they have used about 1% of the medication during the Olympics.
There were no applications for TUEs during the Olympics.
No athlete has received cortizone injections.

The drugs will remain in Korea until the paralympics are over. I don't know if they divide the medications into 4 areas like they did for the olympics. I guess it depends on where the athletes have their living quarters.

I didn't expect this kind of "journalism" from NRK. I'm very disappointed.
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