Athletes, Stop Taking Supplements

Athletes, Stop Taking Supplements
They’re expensive, they don’t improve performance, and they might make you test positive for dope.
Slate, July 26, 2012

Excerpt:

Hardy is among a growing number of athletes who have traced a positive doping test back to a tainted supplement. Swimmer Kicker Vencill and cyclists Flavia Oliveira andScott Moninger (an acquaintance of mine), also tested positive after taking supplements, and 400-meter gold medalist LaShawn Merritt linked his positive dope test to a product called Extenz that he picked up at 7-Eleven. The problem is so prevalent that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has developed an educational campaign for athletes, called Supplements 411.

Supplements are risky thanks in part to a piece of legislation passed in 1994 called the Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act. The DSHEA essentially deregulated dietary supplements, including vitamins, herbs, protein shake mixes, nutritional supplements, and other powders and pills that millions of people of all levels of athletic ability might take to improve their health. Most people assume that if a product is available on store shelves, it must be OK. But supplements are not required to be evaluated or proven safe or effective before they’re sold. New rules finalized in 2007 gave the FDA power to regulate the manufacturing and packaging of supplements, but the agency’s ability to police supplement companies remains limited by DSHEA. Its chief author and most powerful advocate is Sen. Orrin Hatch, whose home state of Utah is home to much of the U.S. supplement industry. Hatch, who attributes his good health to the supplements he takes each day, fought a recent amendment to increase the FDA’s ability to regulate the industry.

Read the rest at Slate: Athletes, Stop Taking Supplements

Who is the Real Lance Armstrong?

Excerpt:
The fight with his many opponents for his image, his integrity, his character would be every bit as difficult as the Tour de France, but he would win. Lance Armstrong always wins.
HONEST LANCE was eager to return to the peloton. He’d tasted victory in the Tour de France, he’d won stages in 1993 and 1996, and 1999 was his chance to wear yellow. When he stood on the Tour podium, he’d be standing up for every person who’d ever heard the words, “You have cancer.” He would show the world that it was possible to beat cancer—and also the world’s best cyclists in the sport’s most difficult race. Continue reading “Who is the Real Lance Armstrong?”

Truth and Tyler Hamilton

Me and Tyler in October, 2006.

A lot of people have been asking me what I think about Tyler Hamilton’s confession. In 2007, I wrote a Bicycling magazine feature about Tyler, his supporters and why I don’t believe. (You can read the story here.)

Some friends over at the Last Word on Nothing blog invited me to write about Tyler’s confession. Here’s what I wrote: Lies and the Lying Bicyclist Who Tells Them.

I believe in forgiveness, but it takes more than the wave of a hand. I hope that Tyler finds a way to atone for his betrayals and revive the person that he once was. He has a long road ahead.

Bicycling: Do you believe? When our sporting heroes are accused of cheating, how do we choose sides?

Do You Believe?
When it comes to Tyler Hamilton, the most contentious–and, perhaps, most important–question isn’t if he’s guilty or innocent of doping, but why each of us has chosen a side.
Bicycling, November 2007

*It wasn’t a finalist, but this story was nominated for a national magazine award in 2008