"read it and weep at the cynicism, but also at a loss of innocence going WAY back; and implicating, not by specific name, many great names in track's history."
That's just the problem with Francis: He fallaciously casts a shadow over the entire sport for a 50 year period, one so big that no great name can escape it. Not only is that obviously not true, it's the same garbage we got from this jerk at Dubin: "My girl went to Montreal and realized she could never beat so and so without drugs." Graphs for the jury to "prove" that Evelyn Ashford was "off the curve" and by implication a cheat. Does anyone have a problem with this kind of thinking? If Evelyn was so off the curve, she really must have been a mediocre athlete compared to Flojo, since Flojo's quantum leap was even more discrete (indiscreet?) than Ashford's. Why haven't we seen anything like Florence in 15 years? Because the sport is filled with women doing what she did and Flo was really that much better than everyone else?
From another angle, quoting Francis: "It’s now a matter of record that the systematic use of performance enhancing drugs in sport for more than 50 years has punted performance standards clear out of sight, so far out of sight that no human can attain them without chemical assistance."
One of the definitions of systematic is "carried on using step-by-step procedures".
Although Francis gives plenty of details on the evolution of individual doping regimens down to the microgram, he is clearly using the word in another sense. No matter how meticulously/(un)scrupulously different individuals adhere to a doping regimen, you don't arrive at his assertion that systematic doping has made records unattainable by non-drugged athletes. No, Francis wants us to believe that the use of drugs in athletics has been sufficiently widespread over the last half century as to cast a shadow over every athlete in that time period.
Granted, there have been pockets of drug use going back to the Soviets in the early 1950's, and earlier as his article indicates. It does NOT follow that anything close to even a simple majority of athletes have been engaged in a "systematic" use of doping, for the past 50 years. Francis contradicts himself in the same paragraph by observing that "The magnitude of the benefit available from drugs was suggested in a secret East German report compiled by the STASI (secret police) in 1968, long before doping expertise reached its peak. In this report, Dr. Manfred Hoeppner, East Germany’s Chief Medical Officer, recommended the universal administration of steroids to East German athletes. Over the next 20 years, the drug-fueled East Germans wrought havoc upon the record books." If the East Germans "recommended" the "universal administration" of steroids in 1968 and this preceded the time when "doping expertise reached its peak", then how has systematic doping been around for half a century, at least to the extent Francis implies? And: "1968 was the watershed year for East Germany in the steroid sweepstakes with the creation of the most comprehensive, state run doping program ever devised." So before that we had "systematic" doping for 15 years?
Again quoting Francis: "In 1955, John Ziegler, the physician for the US weightlifting team, developed a modified synthetic Testosterone molecule with enhanced tissue building properties. This was the first manmade anabolic steroid. Its chemical name was methandrostenolone; its trade name was Dianabol. Most know it these days as D-bol. Developed by Ciba Pharmaceuticals, Dianabol soon became widely available and indispensable to weightlifters, football players, and track and field athletes."
A date, name, credentials, molecular name-dropping, history, corporate name-dropping and Presto! Charlie pulls a non sequitur out of his hat by teaching us that "Dianabol soon became....indispensable to...track and field athletes." Somehow we go from the arrival of the first man-made steroid to the stuff being essential to success in athletics overnight.
The article is informative and dangerously misleading at the same time. Anyone up to playing "count the non-sequiturs in Charlie's article"?
Pre-1981, Ben was a junior, so
>I'm not sure how you're going to use that to
>gauge anything. How fast was, say, Maurice
>Greene as a junior?
No, but he made an terrific improvement that year. Of course, that's not proof or unusual, but given the circumstances....
Post-1990, he was coming
>off a two-year ban and his training had suffered.
>Also, qualifying for the semi in the '92
>Olympics isn't too bad.
He made the semi AFTER he started taking drugs again. He was busted later that summer. The jump in his improvement, as I pointed out earlier, precisely matched when he started up again. He was literally going nowhere with his career that year until he got back on the juice. He started up again after a poor early season, and then taking a several week "break" while he got his therapeutic regime in place.
>He made the semi
>AFTER he started taking drugs again. He was
>busted later that summer. The jump in his
>improvement, as I pointed out earlier, precisely
>matched when he started up again. He was
>literally going nowhere with his career that year
>until he got back on the juice. He started up
>again after a poor early season, and then taking
>a several week "break" while he got his
>therapeutic regime in place.
From another angle, quoting Francis:
>"It’s now a matter of record that the
>systematic use of performance enhancing drugs in
>sport for more than 50 years has punted
>performance standards clear out of sight, so far
>out of sight that no human can attain them
>without chemical assistance."
Good summation of Francis' arguement. However, as has been pointed out previously, this was his "official" line circa 2000. When he was involved with Jones and Montgomery almost a year ago, he publicly changed his tune to state his belief that humans could run that fast without chemical assistance (I'm sure someone can look up a specific reference). Now whether you believe he was being fully honest or just grasping at straws in order to maintain his business with Marion and Tim is an exercise left to the reader.
Thanks Asterix. And thanks for getting me up to date on cf's current stance. And who knows, maybe even Charlie Francis could make himself believe whatever was necessary to retain such illustrious students! Glad to see though that they never stuck around.
I agree totally. I don't beleive everything CF says. I can't stand his website and the people who worship him. I know an athlete who has trained with him and was brainwashed into thinking you had to use drugs
And now Montgomery's been subpoenaed to testify against BALCO and is also listed as one of their clients. At the time I wanted to believe Charlie had changed his attitude about drugs but I think given the current state of affairs it's fairly obvious he was just saying what he thought everyone wanted to hear. The guy has been talking about how dirty track and field is for over a decade now and then all of sudden says he thinks world record times can be achieved cleanly when he has the opportunity to coach two world class sprinters again.
>>He made the semi AFTER he started taking drugs
>again. He was busted later that summer. The
>jump in his improvement, as I pointed out
>earlier, precisely matched when he started up
>again. He was literally going nowhere with his
>career that year until he got back on the
>juice. He started up again after a poor early
>season, and then taking a several week
>"break" while he got his therapeutic regime
Wow, RMc, you apparently understand Ben's motives and drug program much better than the rest of us. Can you please document these "jumps in improvement" post-90? And how on earth do you reason the "several week break"?
>>>He made the semi AFTER he started taking
>drugs again. He was busted later that summer.
>The jump in his improvement, as I pointed
>out earlier, precisely matched when he started
>up again. He was literally going nowhere with
>his career that year until he got back on
>the juice. He started up again after a poor
>early season, and then taking a several
>week "break" while he got his therapeutic
>regime in place.
Wow, RMc, you apparently
>understand Ben's motives and drug program much
>better than the rest of us. Can you please
>document these "jumps in improvement" post-90?
>And how on earth do you reason the "several
>l week break"?
I managed to get my timelines a bit confused. On the other hand, the characterization of Johnson's 1992 Olympic performance also was misleading. The bottom line is that my original statement still appears to be correct. Here's the correct timeline after digging through my old TFNs:
Johnson ran 10.16 in the '92 Canadian Nationals to make the Olympics. That was his best time in his 2 year comeback. He ran 10.30 in the Olympic QFs, and 10.55 in the semis--hardly impressive from the "greatest ever talent." He was busted again in January 1993. He had run 5.73 for 50m behind Surin's NR 5.67, and then 6.62 for 60m, just being nipped by Surin's 6.60. Surin lead the world that year with a 6.45. That's the performance surge that I was alluding to.
TFN in its May 1993 issue at p.55 said:
"His performances last year were decidely lackluster, but this season had started to produce eye-opening times. The marked improvement had fed rumors that the 'Old Ben' was back."
Note that Johnson was busted yet again in Nov. 99 after a test he asked for himself. Three strikes...