Monday, May 4, 2009

Jessica Hardy's Suspension Reduced

According to the AP, Jessica Hardy’s suspension has been reduced to one year and she will be able to compete again starting July 31st.

When Jessica Hardy tested positive for Clenbuterol at the ‘08 trials, it was major news for the US team. It wasn’t reported to the US coaches until after the deadline to add new athletes to the roster, which pretty much ended Tara Kirk‘s career with frustration and bitterness since she would have earned a spot on the team if the deadline had been met. It was mishandled.

A lot of people blamed Hardy and gave no sympathy.
USA Swimming gives the warning “take supplements at your own risk.” We all know that supplements are a risk. There are no guarantees, no matter what is said on the bottle. Supplements have become so common, it is hard to believe that there isn’t a true regulation system in place that can hold companies accountable and ensure that what you are buying contains exactly what the label says. The point also has to be made that not all tainted supplements were intentionally tainted. In the case of Kicker Vencill, it was intentional, and the thing that caused him to test positive was a common multi-vitamin.

I truly feel for Jessica Hardy, just like I felt for Kicker. I suspected that her positive test was not the result of intentional cheating. She was an unpaid endorser for Advocare. You might be surprised with how many swimmers have been a part of this company. I was a part at one time. And the reason I got into it… because of the swimming names on their endorser list: Brad Schumacher, Gabe Woodward, Larsen Jensen, Jessica Hardy and more. There are a lot more swimmers taking Advocare supplements than you might imagine. They are pretty common among the college crowd.

Even more reassuring were the names on their sports advisory council. They had a former Olympic wrestling coach, the strength and conditioning coaches from major universities including Auburn and Oklahoma, and several who are employed by professional teams. What can make an athlete feel better about a product than that?

I even gave a presentation in one of my classes about the supplement industry and used Advocare as the example of how companies in modern day sports are going to have to be innovative to get people to buy their supplements by hiring independent companies to test their products and being endorsed by coaches and athletes who are willing to stake their reputations and careers on the products being clean. When I saw that Hardy had tested positive, I felt like a chump.

Now that it has been determined that it was Advocare who stole her Olympic dreams by giving her tainted supplements, you can bet I will have nothing to do with them. I can only hope that Jessica Hardy can restore her reputation and get past this major turbulence in her career.

Be careful guys… don’t even trust what you buy at the mall or Wal-Mart. Not even your Flintstones vitamins.

No comments:

Post a Comment