Doping in XC skiing

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Sep 25, 2009
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i saw some arguments above that a relatively small nation (about 5mln) can produce a dominating breed of super nordic skiers through a process of natural selection. THAT, according to some, was the reason for their CLEAN domination over the rest of the world’s best but badly doped elite skiers in the 90’s.

before it makes sense to me (and i do not mean it dismissively) such statements need some serious validation. yes, because blood doping was so prevalent in the sport in the 90s, that the chief anti-doping officer of the sport (dr saltin), someone with an unlimited access to the relevant data and who can hardly be accused of bias, called it ‘a cultural problem in the sport’. he went even further, the distinguished scientist said it was very unlikely to win clean in that era.

so I am asking 2 questions in this regard:

1. why other tradition-rich nations, like for instance, bike-crazy france, failed to produce the super-breed through a natural selection. in fact, their recent history proved they had to resorted to blood doping too (virenique etc come to mind) in order to keep their share of the pie. moreover, when they decided to clean their act (post-festina), they got shoved to the back of the doped up peloton for over a decade……as expected, good old dope trumped the natural selection.

2. a natural selection, whilst a valid concept, is a complex process and must be based on more than a speculation of a cn forum contributor with an agenda . so, in that regard, i am asking:

does anyone have any solid, verifiable xc skiing population statistics/studies encompassing all age groups as to the number of competitive/registered skiers mapped by the major xc nations (norway, sweden, russia, finland, italy….) and the numbers that progressed to the elite level.

to me, the answer to the last question would form a rational beginning beyond a mere speculation like, ‘because we love skiing’.
 
Aug 5, 2010
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Based on active participation, of course... I guess that's the case in most countries. Based on viewership and general interest is another thing.
 
Feb 27, 2013
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northstar said:
Football is the most popular sport in Norway based on active participation according to this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_in_norway
Remember that it's much more usual for small kids who play football regularly to participate in organised football than it is for kids and others who ski regularly to participate in organized skiing.

A large portion of those who participate in organised footballing is no more 'serious' with regards to a professional career than the many skiers who don't show up in any statistics.

That said, I would personally estimate that football is the bigger sport in Norway, attracting more interest, being more talked about, more written about etc etc, Skiing might still be bigger as an activity though, at least for the adult population.

There are plenty of different ways to do these kind of gallups, so that one shows biathlon and XC at top doesn't necessarily mean it reflects reality in a significantly meaningful way.

However, there's zero doubt that XC skiing is way up there and engaging insane interest from just about the entire population during the winter. So the discussion is kind of meaningless. Both football and skiing is extremely popular in a country that's nuts about sports..
 
Jun 21, 2009
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andybb said:
I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but in Norway XC-skiing is the most popular sport - narrowly beating biathlon. Just read here: http://sport.aftenposten.no/sport/langrenn/article267740.ece
I meant as in number of participants. It should be fairly obvious as when natural selection was mentioned we weren't discussing whether Norway had the best TV audience :rolleyes:

to really put this myth about xc skiing being the #1 sport in Norway, here's some numbers on it, football kills every other sport, while skiing barely beats handball and gymnastics, swimming isn't too far behind either.

take a look at the table near the top of page 8:
http://www.idrett.no/tema/barneidrett/Documents/Barns idrettsdeltakelse i Norge.pdf

It doesn't state whether "skiing" means xc skiing only, or if biathlon, alpine skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined etc are also included. If they are, the numbers are even less impressive
 
Jun 21, 2009
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blueskies said:
Skiing might still be bigger as an activity though, at least for the adult population.
the non bolded bit is nonsense and even if it wasn't, it is completely pointless when we're discussing whether xc skiing gets the top talent or not.
 
Feb 27, 2013
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workingclasshero said:
the non bolded bit is nonsense and even if it wasn't, it is completely pointless when we're discussing whether xc skiing gets the top talent or not.
Can you please elaborate? Why do you apply premises to my reasoning which were never there? The discussion was "biggest sport". I would also suggest that it's difficult to compare talent for football and talent for skiing. It's not always a competition.

Most people stop playing football actively when they get in their 30s. They don't stop skiing.. People in norway go to the hytte, and they ski. That means they're using skiing as an activity.

The ratio between men and women who play football actively when they are adults, is a lot higher than the ratio between men and women who ski. The entire family ski.

Why is it nonsense? There are no numbers available to me that can support my suggestion. It's simply an educated suggestion/possibility.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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blueskies said:
Can you please elaborate? Why do you apply premises to my reasoning which were never there? The discussion was "biggest sport". I would also suggest that it's difficult to compare talent for football and talent for skiing. It's not always a competition.

Most people stop playing football actively when they get in their 30s. They don't stop skiing.. People in norway go to the hytte, and they ski. That means they're using skiing as an activity.

The ratio between men and women who play football actively when they are adults, is a lot higher than the ratio between men and women who ski. The entire family ski.

Why is it nonsense? There are no numbers available to me that can support my suggestion. It's simply an educated suggestion/possibility.
What we were discussing was someone's claim that xc skiing gets all the best sporting talent in Norway. Your mate dukoff said the best Norwegian athletic prospects choose skiing and quoted some nonsense Bjorn Ferry had said.

What some fat woman in her 30's og 40's does for recreation in her spare time is of no interest in this context.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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workingclasshero said:
What we were discussing was someone's claim that xc skiing gets all the best sporting talent in Norway. Your mate dukoff said the best Norwegian athletic prospects choose skiing ......
it's truly ironic - your bolded words above (which are a better, simpler version of the same concern expressed in my questions above) lead me to post here an interesting observation from earlier today...

i was watching the european indoor athletics championship. they showed sprints...an athlete of an unmistakeably african background sported 'norway' on his upper garment. i could not resist a smile and a though about the need to fill the vacuum created by the xc skiing indulgence :rolleyes:
 
Dec 31, 2011
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python said:
i saw some arguments above that a relatively small nation (about 5mln) can produce a dominating breed of super nordic skiers through a process of natural selection. THAT, according to some, was the reason for their CLEAN domination over the rest of the world’s best but badly doped elite skiers in the 90’s.

before it makes sense to me (and i do not mean it dismissively) such statements need some serious validation. yes, because blood doping was so prevalent in the sport in the 90s, that the chief anti-doping officer of the sport (dr saltin), someone with an unlimited access to the relevant data and who can hardly be accused of bias, called it ‘a cultural problem in the sport’. he went even further, the distinguished scientist said it was very unlikely to win clean in that era.

so I am asking 2 questions in this regard:

1. why other tradition-rich nations, like for instance, bike-crazy france, failed to produce the super-breed through a natural selection. in fact, their recent history proved they had to resorted to blood doping too (virenique etc come to mind) in order to keep their share of the pie. moreover, when they decided to clean their act (post-festina), they got shoved to the back of the doped up peloton for over a decade……as expected, good old dope trumped the natural selection.

2. a natural selection, whilst a valid concept, is a complex process and must be based on more than a speculation of a cn forum contributor with an agenda . so, in that regard, i am asking:

does anyone have any solid, verifiable xc skiing population statistics/studies encompassing all age groups as to the number of competitive/registered skiers mapped by the major xc nations (norway, sweden, russia, finland, italy….) and the numbers that progressed to the elite level.

to me, the answer to the last question would form a rational beginning beyond a mere speculation like, ‘because we love skiing’.
Ok this is an answer to several posters..

I don't mean the sport with most participation. But it's the sport most popular in terms of likability and interest. What people consider their favorite sport, what they most like to watch etc. No 1 is cross country, no 2 is biathlon. This can be seen as what the people think of as being "cool", and hence it has an influence of what a young wanna-be athlete will feel desire for when chosing a sport. Like Northug, he has expressed he was not sure what sport to pick up, but at one point he decided on xc. I don't remember at what age, but it was a concious choice for him, not just a coincidence of just ending up there.

Why this could not happen in cycling?

While France do have a strong tradition, they are not the only country where cycling has a strong popularity. Also Italy, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, USA, Germany are countries that produce a significant number of top athletes. But it's not just this simple. Cycling has a long history of producing what you can call "world wide superstars", and on a personal level producing waste amounts of price/sponsor money. The fame and financial gain in xc has been rather modest. Who in their right mind would pick up xc? For what reason? In Norway we do it because it's the sport of greatest national glory. That's not just about money, it's about culture.

The second reason is that the race time difference between the racers are so much smaller in cycling than in cross country. Although interesting, I don't think it's necessary for this discussion to analyze why that is. The thing is that it is a fact, and that this makes the distribution of a doping-effect on the result-list completely different. If you have a 5% advantage in xc, unless you are one of the worlds top 5 naturally gifted racers, you are not going to dominate completely, and you may be beaten clean.

The cumulative effect of Norways advantage on natural selection, combined with the nature of doping-effect distribution on the results, makes this possible for Norway to do what to the quick eye looks impossible.
 
Dec 31, 2011
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Norway sells about 590,000 pair of skis per year (2011). Of which 470,000 was cross country. Assuming a main target population of everyone from 0-30 years of age, which is 1.8mill, that is 0.33 ski pairs per person, per year, or 0.26 xc ski pairs.

For Sweden I find numbers of 155,000 xc skis (highest of 2006-08). They have twice the population of Norway. So even Sweden sells only 16% xc skis per capita compared to Norway.

I think probably this is the easiest way to make some quantitive comparison between the popularity of skiing amongst countries, to look at ski sales. I don't know numbers for other nations though.

http://www.sportfack.se/artiklar/artiklar/20080215/skid-och-bradforsaljningen-2008/?page=1
http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/distrikt/troms_og_finnmark/1.7597915
 
the sceptic said:
Strange that norwegians arent winning every race with 2-3 minutes now that they dont have to compete against the EPO monsters anymore. Did everyone else learn how to prepare skis at exactly the same time they had to stop doping?
Whatever happened, it's a bit difficult to directly compare nowadays skiing with 90's skiing. The sport have changed a lot.

And yes, regardless of dope, ski preparation have probably gotten a lot more attention now that you can directly compare skis in every race.
 
RdBiker said:
How did that happen? Neither was mentioned (Smirnov's 198 was from '95) on the documentary concerning the Hb limits in Lahti, so neither was pushing the limits so both were 'clean' :)
Ok, Trondheim was a Freestyle race but even looking at the 50K C race Smirnov was 19. with 9min behind the winner.
You forgot to mention that he beat Alsgaard in the 10km. Picking results like this isn't really proving anything.
 
May 23, 2010
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dukoff said:
1-2% between 1st-20th is simply not correct. I have ran these numbers over a number of years, it's not something I just take out of thin air. Which, no offense, but I think you did, as yours are incorrect. Here is for 50k olympics since 1924 to 1992, difference 1st to 8th:
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/912/screenshot2013030216245.png
Check the 15k from few days ago, similar numbers.

You can not compare this situation to cycling. Cycling is a top sport in a number of countries, so such natural selection can not be argued to exist. XC is completely unique in this respect. The position xc has in Norway compared to everywhere else is a completely different system to analyze.

There are many ways to analyze this, but it really doesn't take much more complexity than to imagine that in other countries, a "similar Dæhlie" would chose a different sport. How to analyze the imaginary situation he instead chose xc? You take Dæhlie away, and analyze that field instead. The thing is that the difference between no 1 and 2, in any country is substantial. What would TDF have looked like without Armstrong, without Contador? Take away any single athlete, and everything is turned on it's head.

The only way this argument would have little significance is as you rightly suggest, if the difference from 1st to 20th would be something like 1-2%. But that is simply not correct.

I know very well what happened in cycling. I read Tyler's book, and to be honest I'm a big conspiracy theorist on probably more fields than you can guess. But in all matters I hate opinion and care for two things deeply; the truth, and evidence for it. And in lack of conclusive evidence, the balancing of what exists.

An argument like "that's what Armstrong said", or "this was the wild 90s" are not exactly good "data points".
I think you're trying to obfuscate the point. Let me try with a specific example.

Let's use this year's WC opener as the example, 30th place was 1:15 off the lead, or 4.1% of the winner's time:

http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=20654

Let's then pick a race from distant past, at a time when EPO was already well known, but yet not all nations had realized how necessary it was to keep up. Lillehammer Olympics in 1994, 30 km freestyle. Difference from 1st to 30th is 10.1%:

http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=457

The numbers are similar if you look at the Albertville Olympics in 1992. In the latter 1990's, EPO use became more and more common - just about everyone was using it, as if you did not, you might as well not race. When the Hb limits were established, the use of plasma expanders to get around the controls required a new level of sophistication - which benefited the bigger teams.

The logical explanation is that the tighter competition today is a result of better doping controls - and lower Hb limits. During the wild 1990's, a non-doper would race with a typical Hb of 140-150 while some (such as Fauner & Smirnov), raced with an Hb above 190. Tyler's book details one of his own uphill time trials where he improved by 3 minutes over a 32 minute course in 2 months - after a period of EPO use.

A simple translation: a non-doper had zero chance during the 1990's to crack top 10, and perhaps even top 20. This was true in cycling, and there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest cross-country skiing was just as dirty. All top nations were involved. To say one country was the exception due to "natural selection" is to defy simple logic.
 
Aug 14, 2012
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blueskies said:
And recent success is still because of doping?
Why wouldn't it be?! Are you really claiming that Norwegians are somehow more ethical and genetically superior than the rest of the world? Nothing had really changed since 90's. The amounts used have only become smaller but the doping is still here. It's all about microdosing now. You cannot just shoot EPO until your blood becomes syrup anymore.

There have been no serious attempt to clean the sport and catch cheaters. FIS even didn't have a biopassport or blood passport program until the beginning of THIS year (2013)! Blood manipulation was more than easy before that passport. And we know from cycling that even the biopassport means very little when the federation is unwilling to do anything to the adverse findings. And FIS is at least as corrupt as UCI.

I would say FIS even more corrupt. The SVT documentary showed that nicely when they didn't even follow their own rules when an athlete had too high blood values. Their only concern was and is that the sport doesn't look bad. They are totally unable even to discuss about doping. Norwegians' reaction to the documentary was SO revealing. The sport is still dirty as hell.

And right know Norway has their own man running cross country in FIS. When you have one of the nineties EPO-skiers, Vegard Ulvang, as the chairman of the executive board of the International Ski Federation's cross-country committee, you can be pretty sure that there will be no unfortunate "accidents". And what more "Ulvang was given the position without election after the board of the FIS decided unanimously that Ulvang was the best man for the job." Nice. That's how you increase credibility of you federation. :rolleyes:

But whatever... You can choose to believe in fairy tales. I couldn't care less. It's just so puzzling to me and the same time hilarious, that people are so naive and willfully gullible. It never ceases to amaze me. But then again how else would all the businesses and governments of the world sell all those incredibly silly things to us. :)
 
Dec 31, 2011
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Tubeless said:
I think you're trying to obfuscate the point. Let me try with a specific example.

Let's use this year's WC opener as the example, 30th place was 1:15 off the lead, or 4.1% of the winner's time:

http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=20654

Let's then pick a race from distant past, at a time when EPO was already well known, but yet not all nations had realized how necessary it was to keep up. Lillehammer Olympics in 1994, 30 km freestyle. Difference from 1st to 30th is 10.1%:

http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/610.html?sector=CC&raceid=457

The numbers are similar if you look at the Albertville Olympics in 1992. In the latter 1990's, EPO use became more and more common - just about everyone was using it, as if you did not, you might as well not race. When the Hb limits were established, the use of plasma expanders to get around the controls required a new level of sophistication - which benefited the bigger teams.

The logical explanation is that the tighter competition today is a result of better doping controls - and lower Hb limits. During the wild 1990's, a non-doper would race with a typical Hb of 140-150 while some (such as Fauner & Smirnov), raced with an Hb above 190. Tyler's book details one of his own uphill time trials where he improved by 3 minutes over a 32 minute course in 2 months - after a period of EPO use.

A simple translation: a non-doper had zero chance during the 1990's to crack top 10, and perhaps even top 20. This was true in cycling, and there's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest cross-country skiing was just as dirty. All top nations were involved. To say one country was the exception due to "natural selection" is to defy simple logic.
You are cherry-picking results to support an argument. Just looking at the most recent ones, are not much different from 90s:


There are so many things in xc that throws results up from one race to the next, so it's really important to look at a continuous series of data. Single events can't be analyzed.

When you do that, the changes are gradual going back many decades. There are some outliers from Myllyla and Muehlegg when they got caught, but otherwise I think it's quite stable trends.

I'm not saying of course there wasn't doping in xc. To be specific, 50% of the field was doped. But I don't believe the impact on the top finishing race times in the 90s have been very substantial. There is nothing I've seen so far to prove that.

If you want to show some data for argument, show an Olympic games series from 1924, or world championships, from the beginning. And include top 8 for sensitivity. Top 30 may perhaps skew numbers a bit due to development of participation.

Don't just pick out a race or two, it has no value.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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MrRoboto said:
If you go further back, before EPO, you will find a lot of huge gaps too.
i think there is a misplaced emphasis on gaps or perhaps it's an intentional effort to fit a particular scenario. clearly gaps between the 1st and the 20th will ALWAYS be wider than between the podium winners. at all times...but looking too wide, as is generally the case, serves to shift the focus away.

in the context of blood doping/not doping in the 90's, repeat in the 90's -the very golden era of epo - the only gaps that count are those between the 1st and the 4th. these gaps are indeed small and can be easily overcome by blood dopers vs.not dopers...

if skiers of a particular nation, or any nation, finished consistently 4th and below, they'd never be the subject of much speculation. in stead, what we see in the historical records, only one particular nation continued it's dominance through the 90's and we are told it has nothing to do with doping but natural selection. then, i asked specific, well-intended questions to support the theory, in stead i am offered ski sale statistics in norway compared to sweden :rolleyes:

again, give me the number of registered/licensed racers across age groups and countries and how they progressed into the elite !

i repeat, where is the proof, that a sport's popularity can produce a super breed trouncing effect of the epo golden era in the 90s ?
 
The Norwegians and the 90s

I've been reading this forum now and then and appreciate the high quality of opinions expressed. However, the Swedish documentary from last week needs a deeper discussion since a couple of quite revealing facts was presented. After the Swedish Documentary was broadcasted last week, SVT held a chat with the program makers. There were some interesting questions asked:

Question from caller Fredrik: If the Norwegian and Swedish Ski Federations don’t have anything to hide, how come they don’t present values from the tests that have been made?

Uppdrag Granskning/Hasse Svens: We have directed that question several times to the Norwegian Ski Federation but not a single test result has been presented. If Dählies HB-values were wrong, we’ve asked: What’s the correct value? But no answer.


Question from caller Anders: What source do you have for the HB-values of Dählie an Jevne, they didn’t come from the Finish list?

Uppdrag Granskning/Hasse Svens: That is a secret source.
In a debate program broadcasted two days later on SVT, the Editor in Chief Uppdrag Granskning, Nils Hansson answered the very upset Norwegian representatives - former information director of the Norwegian Ski Federation Otto Ulseth and former trainer for the Norwegian cross country national team Dag Kaas, on their threats about bringing SVT to criminal court for broadcasting the program:

- If you are going to press charges against us I can’t see any problems, we are confident in our case when it comes to Björn Dählie, very confident.

In the debate prof Saltin was very clear in his view about the Norwegians and expressed annoyance that Saltin and his collegues had the last 10-12 years been asking that the tests that FIS took during the 90s - about 800 male and more than 300 female - would be released, but as he expressed it:

- It’s tragic it hasn’t been done, especially not in Norway since they are holding the data.

I can’t really figure out what he meant with the last quote, but the impression is that he is turning to the Cross Country Skiing Committee within FIS which is dominated by the Norwegians.

The Norwegians, both in the documentary and in the debate expressed three opinions.
First, that high HB-values can be obtained by High altitude training which they’ve been doing on a large scale. Prof. Saltins answer:

- But the most important which the Norwegians always forgot to tell is that, okey if you lift the HB value through high altitude, depending on how high it will get higher and higher, but as soon as you come back to sea level it will go back to normal HB for that height within 48 hours.

Second opinion was that the screening instruments used for the tests in the 90s weren’t very accurate and that they showed to high values constantly. A little bit strange, since the Norwegians already explained that high values was obtained by the high altitude training. Saltin protested afterwards in the newspaper Expressen about the claim that the tests weren’t reliable:

- It’s utter nonsense. Every single small medical clinic in Sweden could perform such tests, with accuracy, why couldn’t specialists?

The third claim from the Norwegians, which was a bit surprising concerning the two first claims, was that it was no change in the Norwegian values since the 90s, they are on the same low level today. Kaas agreed that the average level was much higher in the 90s but not for the Norwegians.
Somehow, those three claims really doesn’t make sense since they are in fact contradicting each other. Of course, they could bring clarity into this if the FIS tests from the 90s were released.

Finally, there is connection between Dählie, Ulvang, di Centa and Smirnov which could be tracked down to the year before the Lillehammer Olympics 1994, which were a great success for the same quartet. In Lillehammer they took 13 medals together (10 individual) and among them 5 golds.
In this article from New York Times there are some revealing facts, but you can’t find any information about this in Norwegian newspapers online http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/28/sports/winter-olympics-smirnov-s-long-race-and-wait-are-over.html

It [Smirnov’s victory] also came at the expense of Smirnov's Norwegian friends Bjorn Daehlie and Vegard Ulvang, who finished fourth and 10th.
Since then, he has begun pitching coffee on Norwegian television and continued his adventures with Ulvang, spending three weeks climbing mountains and riding horses with him in Mongolia last summer.
The two skiers first met at the World Junior Championships in 1982 but were unable to develop a friendship until Smirnov left the Soviet Union in 1991.
And di Centa from this article in New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/14/sports/winter-olympics-di-centa-of-italy-shouts-volare-to-freestyle-gold.html:

Di Centa trained in the illustrious company of Vladimir Smirnov, the skier from Kazakhstan who has dominated the men's World Cup circuit this year.
"I think Vladimir will win," she said when asked for her prediction for Monday's first men's race, the 30-kilometer freestyle.
Despite such allegiance to Smirnov, Di Centa is best known in these parts for her rather cryptic relationship with Vegard Ulvang, local cross-country superhero and the most eligible bachelor in Norway
Today it seems to be a widespread consensus that di Centa, a Conconi protégé and Smirnov was doped. What about the two Norwegian friends which were even more successful in the forests? How come no Norwegian journalists hasn’t dug into those connections?

Dählie is a very successful businessman today, a wealth built on his repute as this biggest Olympian of all time, Di Centa is member of the International Olympic Committee as well as the Italian, Ulvang is also a successful businessman and the chairman of the International Ski Federation's cross-country committee and finally Smirnov is a successful businessman, former member of WADA – anti doping agency and vice president of the International Biathlon Union.
 
May 23, 2010
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MrRoboto said:
If you go further back, before EPO, you will find a lot of huge gaps too.
Blood transfusions were not even against the rules before 1984, and are known to have happened a early as 1970's. Lasse Viren of Finland won 5000 & 10000 meter gold in track & field in 1972 and 1976 - and was among the first athletes to recognize that in addition to a coach, you also need a good doctor.

EPO made blood doping MUCH easier (it could be self-administered), less expensive, and continuous - no need for "down" periods after taking blood for storage, and no need to worry about transporting blood to far away places for well-timed re-infusion.

As a consequence of the limitations of blood transfuctions, before EPO, an athlete could be seen to "peak" for the main event (or two) per season - but during the EPO era, you could have a steady, consistent season of top performances.
 
May 23, 2010
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dukoff said:
You are cherry-picking results to support an argument. Just looking at the most recent ones, are not much different from 90s:


There are so many things in xc that throws results up from one race to the next, so it's really important to look at a continuous series of data. Single events can't be analyzed.

When you do that, the changes are gradual going back many decades. There are some outliers from Myllyla and Muehlegg when they got caught, but otherwise I think it's quite stable trends.

I'm not saying of course there wasn't doping in xc. To be specific, 50% of the field was doped. But I don't believe the impact on the top finishing race times in the 90s have been very substantial. There is nothing I've seen so far to prove that.

If you want to show some data for argument, show an Olympic games series from 1924, or world championships, from the beginning. And include top 8 for sensitivity. Top 30 may perhaps skew numbers a bit due to development of participation.

Don't just pick out a race or two, it has no value.
Ok, one more angle at getting to the main point. If EPO can give a trained athlete up to 10% boost, how it is possible for a clean athlete to beat the doped-up one?

Specifically, we now know that at least the Italians, Finns, Russians, and Kazakhstanis were using blood boosters during the 1990s - yet the top Norwegians were often beating these dopers throughout the season.

Your assertion is that "natural selection" gives Norway the edge to win. If today's field is clean, why aren't Norwegians now beating everyone else by that 10% margin?
 
Jun 25, 2009
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Tubeless said:
Ok, one more angle at getting to the main point. If EPO can give a trained athlete up to 10% boost, how it is possible for a clean athlete to beat the doped-up one?

Specifically, we now know that at least the Italians, Finns, Russians, and Kazakhstanis were using blood boosters during the 1990s - yet the top Norwegians were often beating these dopers throughout the season.

Your assertion is that "natural selection" gives Norway the edge to win. If today's field is clean, why aren't Norwegians now beating everyone else by that 10% margin?
Humans aren't machines. It's not like they all start out at the same level. I got my *ss handed to me in basketball by Americans. No doping could change that.
 
Mar 4, 2013
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#python: I notice that you don’t seem to take kindly to newcomers. I still hope that you may find these figures of some interest. They indicate the number of currently active male XC athletes with a valid FIS license, nations selected by me.

AUT: 83
GER: 194
SWE: 495
FIN: 513
RUS: 724
NOR: ~1.700

Of course, this is just the top of the iceberg, as many racers do not care to apply for a FIS license (young racers, racers only interested in local races etc.). In Norway the total number of licensed racers in the 2011/12 season was 8.684, up from 7.855 the previous season. I do not have corresponding figures for other nations.

http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/competitorbiographies.html?listid=&lastname=&gender=M&sector=CC&firstname=&nation=NOR&status=O&fiscode=&Search=Search&limit=100
http://www.skiforbundet.no/langrenn/Info/Documents/Langrennskomiteen/LK 2010-2012/Langrennskomiteens Fagmøte juni 2012/Skilisenser 2011-2012.pdf
 
May 23, 2010
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Mr. Brooks said:
#python: I notice that you don’t seem to take kindly to newcomers. I still hope that you may find these figures of some interest. They indicate the number of currently active male XC athletes with a valid FIS license, nations selected by me.

AUT: 83
GER: 194
SWE: 495
FIN: 513
RUS: 724
NOR: ~1.700

Of course, this is just the top of the iceberg, as many racers do not care to apply for a FIS license (young racers, racers only interested in local races etc.). In Norway the total number of licensed racers in the 2011/12 season was 8.684, up from 7.855 the previous season. I do not have corresponding figures for other nations.

http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/competitorbiographies.html?listid=&lastname=&gender=M&sector=CC&firstname=&nation=NOR&status=O&fiscode=&Search=Search&limit=100
http://www.skiforbundet.no/langrenn/Info/Documents/Langrennskomiteen/LK 2010-2012/Langrennskomiteens Fagmøte juni 2012/Skilisenser 2011-2012.pdf
What then happened in 2004-2007 when Germany, a tiny country in cross-country skiing produced 4 consecutive world cup overall winners - which were 3 different skiers? Did Norway's superiority in "natural selection" fail to find a suitable male skier capable of winning during that period?
 

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