This is Part 8 of a multi-part series from my recent trip to Orlando & Clermont, Florida.
Parts 3 & 5 was Hurdle Touchdown Times with Kellie Wells Training and Part 4 included Håkan Andersson. Part 6 was my interview. Part 7 was with Stephen Maguire, coach of visually impaired sprinter Jason Smyth who is just 0.04 seconds off to make the able-bodied Olympics.
Out of Competition Drug Testing
One of the funniest moments had to do with out of competition random drug testing.
It was good to see with my own eyes that USADA takes random drug testing very seriously.
I arrived at the NTC track in Clermont by 8:30am and it was already hot! Where’s the shade?
Shortly, a USADA female officer dressed in blue and credentials on a neck strap arrived at the scene and approached an elite female athlete. (Names withheld to protect the innocent)
Surprise, surprise, surprise! Any Gomer Pyle fans out there?
The first thing the officer must do is call the number listed on the user profile. However, the voicemail was full and no longer accepting messages. Victor, does that sound familiar?
Then the officer tries to reach her at home (that is, the address listed on her profile) at 6:00 AM, but there was no answer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t answer my door at 6am. Heck, I don’t even hear anything at 6:00 AM as I am still deep asleep on my last REM cycle.
Finally, the officer arrives at the NTC Clermont track. They are instructed to wait for the athlete to finish, and escort them to their next destination, which was the athlete’s employment. Yes, some athletes still hold regular jobs! It also means having to take a taxicab back to the track for the officer’s vehicle.
On a given day, a sample can be as quick as 18 minutes, or the entire morning can be wasted just for one athlete.
It can be nerve racking if you just emptied your bladder before the surprise visit, because it may take hours before you can give another urine sample. And in the hot Florida sun, that can be many many hours if you are dehydrated.
But hypothetically speaking, if you were trying to cheat, then you simply have to “lie” about your whereabouts for both living and training center locations. Of course, being unreachable is the top priority. If they can’t find you that day, then you get flagged for one missed test. Not a big deal because the governing body does not know about it. It’s like strike one in baseball. You still have 2 more strikes before you are out, because 3 missed test is equal to a single positive test. Refusing a drug test is the same as a single positive test.