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Speed Trap !!!!
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Conway
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:23 am    Post subject: Speed Trap !!!! Reply with quote

Took the family to Disneyland over the long weekend (so I could go to the Trials in peace!!) and during my down time read “Speed Trap” (finally located a copy) … While it was not what I expected, it was an interesting read … And while I won’t get into it in great detail (unless there are several out there who have also read it and want to have a conversation) there were a couple things that struck me that I will throw out there …

First of all Dick Pound … I was not aware that Pound was a defender of Ben Johnson … Pound went before the IOC and the IOC Medical Commission and argued on behalf of Ben - irregularities in the testing process, possible tainting of the sample, etc … Yet here in 2004 HE is the bastion of purity in sport ???

Second issue … Since Pound’s defense against the Stanozolol positive was so strong (possible sabotage etc) the IOC used Ben’s “endocrine profile” (measure of his natural hormone levels) to deem him positive and therefore suspend him … Saying that his endocrine profile indicated long term steroid use - in absence of any previous positive tests !!! Interesting as of the writing of the book (1990) and in the time since, this has not been used on anyone else …

Third issue … Ben’s 1988 record was taken based on his testing positive in Seoul … His 1987 record was taken in 1989 based on a rule pushed through by Primo Nebiolo (the Barcelona Rule) that states that World records are to be nullified when those records were set by athletes who confessed to drug use under oath … Given this rule and Tim Montgomery’s testimony to the Grand Jury, it would seem that he would lose his record no matter what happens with the remaining BALCO investigation ….

Just a few things to ponder …
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Told ya the book'll get you thinking. Smile

The whole Montgomery situation highlights why I still consider Ben to have the WR. Only hindsight and future improvements in testing can reveal/confirm what many of us know to be the case: the records since Ben ain't any cleaner than his. Just because you discover one is illegitimate long after the fact, why leave another on the books that you don't yet know anything about?

I had forgotten about the Dick Pound angle... Been a while since I read the book. Certainly seems like the sour grapes type. I guess he and I sort of went to opposite extremes post-Ben... He trying to bring everyone else down, me asking what's the point. Neutral

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Conway
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it really makes me question Pound and his motivations ... Not sure where he is coming from at all now ... Seems to be rather the hypocrit though ...

I am really curious as to the endocrine profiles though ... Charlie's rationale is that using them would bring eveyone down ... And interestingly enough, some 15 years later, I wonder if THAT is going to be the lynchpin in the BALCO cases ???

Also, after reading the book, I am going ot go out on a limb and say that IT has aabeen the Sprinting Bible since it was published !!! I find it very curious that sprinting exploded approximately 5 years after its release ... About the time it initially took Charlie to find his crew and get their protocol together ... I also find it curious that the peaking cycles of the 90's sprinters fall almost perfectly in line with the peaking cycles as outlined in Speed Trap ...
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And interestingly enough, some 15 years later, I wonder if THAT is going to be the lynchpin in the BALCO cases ???

Which, ironically, Charlie was also involved in!

Quote:
Also, after reading the book, I am going ot go out on a limb and say that IT has aabeen the Sprinting Bible since it was published !!!

I have no doubt of that. Despite many high profile athletes and coaches trying to distance themselves from Charlie and Ben's tarnished image, the book rings so true on so many levels. It's pretty much a How To guide of all sides of the sport, and it's pretty obvious Charlie's knowledge is unparalleled.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
I have no doubt of that. Despite many high profile athletes and coaches trying to distance themselves from Charlie and Ben's tarnished image, the book rings so true on so many levels. It's pretty much a How To guide of all sides of the sport, and it's pretty obvious Charlie's knowledge is unparalleled.

Dan


Well now, no one can ADMIT taking advice from Charlie ... THAT would be suicide (ask the Jones') ...

But it is clear that his "system" has been mimicked ... I'm not sure I'm ready to say his knowledge is unparalleled ... There have been a ton of advancements in the 16 years since Seoul - especially in the area of synthetic drugs ... And while Charlie notes that synthetics were beign experimented with even then, unless he has been working directly with the programs of several elites during that time period, his knowledge may be slightly antiquated ...

But irregardless of the drugs being used, his peaking cycles should remain fairly constant and effective ... And I am guessing that those that have tried to skirt them have had problems ....

For example I am going to use a couple of athletes that have been "suspected" of use, but have not to date been "convicted" of use ...

Iin 1992 Michael Johnson hit a "peak" at the Trials ... Then bombed in Barcelona ... His excuse AFTER the fact was that he had gotten food poisoning ... But after reading Speed Trap and applying the principles of drug cycling, he displayed all the "symptoms" of having stayed on a steroid too long and having his "crash" hit too early ... He needed more time "off" the drug so that he would have his his "peak" instead of the "crash" in Barcelona ...

In 1999 Marion Jones cramped badly at Worlds and was unable to complete her 200 semi ... Using Speed Trap as a guide, it coudl very well have been because she added (stacked) and additional drug which caused tightening and muscle spasms (as Ben found out) ... Her mucles became too large too fast and required additional hydration ...

I also find it interesting that both these episodes occured in Spain (Barcelona and Seville) under humid conditions that draw additional water from the body !!!!

By now, however, I would think that there would be several coaches who have had enough experiences with drug use that they should be on par with Charlie ... I would, however, love to see Charlie's email history throughout the 90's ... Perhaps he has never really left the game ...

One other quick note ... I find it interesting that early on in the book Charlie makes note of a conversation with a German coach in which it was mentioned that a sprint coach in the states was beginning to catch on and have success with pharmaceutical with his "group" ... As this was the early 80's, the only prominent coach with a "group" of sprinters that was experiencing "success" would be Tellez and the SMTC ...
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There have been a ton of advancements in the 16 years since Seoul - especially in the area of synthetic drugs ...

Yet in the 15 years or so between Ben's 9.78 and Tim's 9.78, there was one constant: Charlie's involvement. There may have been advancements, but no one has managed to exceed what Charlie has done at the highest level of the sport, regardless of how he or they got there.

Quote:
Well now, no one can ADMIT taking advice from Charlie ...

No one wants to even be mentioned in the same breath. Donovan Bailey and the entire HSI crew have been extremely outspoken against Charlie and Ben, some of the HSI'ers having gone as far as to say how completely outdated Charlie's methods are, which is turning out to obviously not be true, given the BALCO findings.

Quote:
I would, however, love to see Charlie's email history throughout the 90's ... Perhaps he has never really left the game ...

Just take a look at where the bulk of his speaking and clinic activity outside Canada has been the past several years... North Carolina and LA. He's been acknowledged as the drug guru in bodybuilding circles for some time now -- a sport that does not try to pretend drugs are a major factor in what you see. If he's the best in that arena, it makes sense he's the best in ours.

And don't forget three things: 1) He was reportedly the real coach of Trevor Graham's camp for some time, well before the Marion/Tim sightings came out last year, 2) he was coaching Marion and Tim for a while in Canada before local sightings turned into the media frenzy (which was initially disinterested in the reports), and 3) he was barred from coaching Canadian athletes, not international ones. Lots of indicators that he was very much still an integral part of the sport all along.

Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see you steered clear of my examples ... LOL ... I guess I read this book too closely ... I do think that all USADA reps should read it though ... As well as anyone else involved in the testing side of the sport ...

Was it just me, or was Charlie NOT the technical genius that I expected him to be ??? I mean he has no basic principles of sprinting ... No technical advancements such as John Smith's "Drive Phase" ... And while all of his athletes did improve, no others reached Ben's level of performance ...

And I will say that it also appears from reading the book that the same advancements can be made WITHOUT the drugs ... And in some cases it would appear that the drugs are a placebo ... Although it is clear that certain levels of performance CANNOT be achieved without the drugs ...
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I see you steered clear of my examples ...

With drug talk, I try to stick with the generalities and not point fingers at any specific athlete, as that tends to ruffle feathers and not be very supportable.

Not a technical genius? Hmm, that's an interesting take. Maybe I look at it a bit differently, because Charlie's technical strengths are on a more intuitive level, which is similar to how I operate. (As an aside, his "Training for Speed" is much more the technical manual; "Speed Trap" just has some of it mixed into a biography.)

Quote:
And I will say that it also appears from reading the book that the same advancements can be made WITHOUT the drugs ...

I would agree, and Charlie probably would, too. Remember his famous and oft-repeated quote about drugs being necessary to get up on the medal stand. It's the difference between the winners and the losers. When you read his training principles, very little of it is dependent on drug use. That just dictates the level of effort possible and how much recovery is necessary.

I've got no problem saying I've borrowed training principles from Charlie Francis. It's all very legitimate stuff that makes a ton of sense to me.

Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan wrote:
Not a technical genius? Hmm, that's an interesting take. Maybe I look at it a bit differently, because Charlie's technical strengths are on a more intuitive level, which is similar to how I operate. (As an aside, his "Training for Speed" is much more the technical Manual; "Speed Trap" just has some of it mixed into a biography.)
Dan


I guess I should have hesitated before saying that ... Cause I am an intuitive person myself when it comes to track ... Look for the little things to correct rather than a wholesale reconstruction !!!!
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Speed Trap !!!! Reply with quote

Conway wrote:
Took the family to Disneyland over the long weekend (so I could go to the Trials in peace!!) and during my down time read “Speed Trap” (finally located a copy) … While it was not what I expected, it was an interesting read … And while I won’t get into it in great detail (unless there are several out there who have also read it and want to have a conversation) there were a couple things that struck me that I will throw out there …

First of all Dick Pound … I was not aware that Pound was a defender of Ben Johnson … Pound went before the IOC and the IOC Medical Commission and argued on behalf of Ben - irregularities in the testing process, possible tainting of the sample, etc … Yet here in 2004 HE is the bastion of purity in sport ???

Second issue … Since Pound’s defense against the Stanozolol positive was so strong (possible sabotage etc) the IOC used Ben’s “endocrine profile” (measure of his natural hormone levels) to deem him positive and therefore suspend him … Saying that his endocrine profile indicated long term steroid use - in absence of any previous positive tests !!! Interesting as of the writing of the book (1990) and in the time since, this has not been used on anyone else …

Third issue … Ben’s 1988 record was taken based on his testing positive in Seoul … His 1987 record was taken in 1989 based on a rule pushed through by Primo Nebiolo (the Barcelona Rule) that states that World records are to be nullified when those records were set by athletes who confessed to drug use under oath … Given this rule and Tim Montgomery’s testimony to the Grand Jury, it would seem that he would lose his record no matter what happens with the remaining BALCO investigation ….

Just a few things to ponder …


I would like to know whether the book is worth its price in US dollars because at present I happen to have time to read.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's worth anything you can get it for.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its worth reading if you can get your hands on it ... A must read in my opinion for anyone that is serious about the inside of the sport !!!
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the best books I've read. My personal opinion is that his drug use was much less than what is used in the States. Down here, the mantra is "if x amount is giving me this kind of boost, just think what 4x will do". Charlie was looking for a linear progression over the years.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the reasons I always thought Ben got a bum rap was because the drugs were NOT the thing ... Yes, he used them ... And yes, they helped ... But the drugs were NOT what was propelling Ben down the track - there was so much more as in the improved technique, etc ... The drugs were like altitude training - a tremendous aid in the training process ....

When you look at sprinters over the past decade, it is clear that the drugs are less of a training aid, and have become the body of work - p un intended ...
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still say Ben was the best sprinter ever, challenged only by the historical greatness of Bob Hayes. I've always said he was no dirtier than the guys that got by clean, so there shouldn't be any asterisks next to his performances. When you've got WR holder Montgomery being retroactively stripped, having never tested positive, the Green Machine getting cleared after threatening to blow the lid on USATF, and Carl Lewis being revealed some 15 years later as having been privately excused for a drug violation, it just doesn't lend any strength to opposing arguments.

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