US Pairs skater Jessica Calalang cleared of drug violation | Page 2 | Golden Skate

US Pairs skater Jessica Calalang cleared of drug violation

DSQ

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I agree with Coyote Chris that the cosmetic companys should make it clear if they have a substance in their formulas that could be considered a forbidden agent. I can't imagine in what universe a figure skater would have to worry about what makeup they use. It's not like asthma or allergy medication or others.......When you swallow a pill or get a shot or rub some cream somewhere then I agree an elite figure skater should determine without a doubt that it's safe for them to use!!! But makeup???

The thing is often what is banned in sports is perfectly legal in everyday life. I don't think it's reasonable for all these companies to do more than state their ingredients, which they already do. I think the bigger worry here which needs to be publicised is that chlorphenesin needs to be placed on the ban list too so that mistakes like this don't happen.
 

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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USADA's praise for Jessica in Oct 15 article:

" A USADA spokesperson told insidethegames that Calalang had done "everything right" and hoped this "horrible" situation would not happen again following changes to WADA's rules.

"We thoroughly investigated the case and other similar ones reported earlier this year," said USADA.

"Our science team determined the innocent source of the laboratory finding and we determined there was no rule violation, which was confirmed by WADA.

"WADA’s new laboratory processes will ensure this horrible circumstance does not impact athletes going forward.

"We would like to thank Ms Calalang for doing everything right and for her cooperation and truthfulness during this trying situation and are glad the truth was determined." "​

The above is an excerpt from:


The whole article -- which also has quotes from Jessica -- is worth reading.



I am not a chemist, but the conclusion from new research reported only very recently in the scientific literature:

"4-CPA is a common metabolite of meclofenoxate, chlorphenesin, and chlorphenesin carbamate. Monitoring the diagnostic urinary metabolites of chlorphenesin provides conclusive supporting evidence of whether chlorphenesin or the prohibited nootropic meclofenoxate was administered."


From the full paper:

"... the present investigation contributes to identifying new sources of 4-CPA, namely common dermally applied cosmetics, lotions, and sunscreens, which has been a biomarker for the assessment of prohibited drug use in sports as well as herbicide exposure, and will support, in particular, sports drug testing and management protocol results."

https://analyticalsciencejournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/rcm.9183 (Aug 2021)​

The original posted article states that Calalang tested positive for a metabolic product of a banned stimulant (and not for any banned drug). A wrestler had his ban lifted when USADA found that a preservative used for cosmetic products would also lead to that metabolic product. So I don't really think you can blame Calalang for failing to check the label. ...

(y) Agree.



I completely blame USFSA for not being upfront about this from the beginning — as would have happened in any other sport — instead of issuing an incorrect statement about the Worlds WD being a “personal” decision. ...

FWIW, the USFS did not use the word "decision."
I don't have a problem with what USFS said at the time.

"The Dallas-based duo will replace Jessica Calalang and Brian Johnson, who have withdrawn from the competition for personal reasons unrelated to COVID-19."

https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/...le-and-timothy-leduc-added-to-world-team.aspx (Mar 1, 2021)​

And I have no problem with the matter being kept private until now.
 

Moxiejan

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^^
My direct quote was only of the word “personal”; did not put decision in quotes as what USFSA said (though, obviously, the WD would have required a decision — by someone).

I’m just of the opinion that transparency from Day One would have eliminated the months of rumor & innuendo, and paved the way to open support for Jess from the skating community.

But, yes, I understand why others disagree. I’m just glad that all this was resolved in time for them to be at Skate America next week.
 

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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^^
My direct quote was only of the word “personal”; did not put decision in quotes as what USFSA said (though, obviously, the WD would have required a decision — by someone). ...

Yes, but I don't agree with your usage of the word "decision" (not in quotes) in your paraphrasing -- as the noun modified by "personal" (in quotes).

[And I see nothing wrong with USFS referring to the later-reversed WADA/USADA suspension as "personal reasons."
For me, the meaning was "personal" as opposed to something that would be shared at the time with the public (whether by Jessica herself or by USFS).]

... I’m just glad that all this was resolved in time for them to be at Skate America next week.

(y) Same here. Good luck to Jessica and Brian at Skate America!
 
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4everchan

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I personally have a problem about the secrecy around this. Canadian Canoe double olympic medallist and I believe 8 times world champion Laurence Vincent-Lapointe https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Vincent-Lapointe tested positive for a very small quantity of a banned substance. With her lifelong experience as a top level athlete, she knew she hadn't done anything wrong. She and the federation were outspoken about it. Her test had happened just prior to the World Championships as well, and instead of saying she had w/d for personal reasons, they told the truth loud and clear. Investigation took part. In the end, there had been a cross contamination (body fluids) from her ex-boyfriend who had been using a banned substance (not a competing athlete).

Why is it important to be outspoken?
1) It cuts down the speculation about injuries, split partnerships, and so many other gossips...
2) it shows right away the support of the federation willing to help the athlete clearing their names
3) it helps other athletes who may have similar bad lucks and educates both athletes and WADA about potential flaws in the doping code.
4)it sends a clear message to all athletes that they will not be able to fly under the radar... if their name is cleared, that's great... If not, then everyone knows there was a doping violation

Hiding the doping violation while it is being investigating led to a whole lot of speculating in this particular case. Also, if ever the athlete had been found guilty and lost their appeal, the doping violation may have been hidden forever. I do not believe that hiding a doping violation is helping anyone.. Saving face here is not going to help the athlete... If the athlete is guilty, well they will remain guilty... If the athlete is not guilty, then their name will be cleared. When a federation hides these kinds of news, it sends a very odd message out. It also does not provide a public support to the athlete which is very much needed when they go through extremely long and difficult times during the investigation processes.

Often, the athletes are lost and confused when something like this happens... and knowing that other similar cases have happened are extremely helpful. As Laurence Vincent-Lapointe explained, they had to test everything she had used to see where the problem was coming from. They were finding nothing. She had not changed her diet... etc... They found out the the ex-boyfriend had been using that drug when they tested his hair. If a similar case happens to someone else, they would know where to start the investigation. I believe when an athlete appeals a doping violation, they have the responsibility to prove that they are not at fault. Proving that can be extremely difficult. The more information that is shared, the better it is for the athletes. As a matter of fact, if I read correctly, a similar case happened to a wrestler/fighter and that may have helped Jessica in clearing her name.

I believe it is very important to speak up right away about such matters, and that the federation needs to support their athletes in such circumstances. Thankfully for Jessica, she will be able to compete and I wish she will qualify. They are my favourite American pairs team and I am happy to know that in the end, there was no injury or other major problems. Too bad about missing worlds last year, and this leading to a whole lot of speculations about "the fed not supporting them"... actually the speculations were right in some ways... the federation may have provided some support but they didn't do it openly. I believe this could have been handled much better. YMMV
 
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lariko

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I understand the paramount to keep the sport clean, but if the athletes will have to go poo-less and use beetroot for make up (unless beetroot is also a performance enhancer), it feels a bit too strict. It sounds like that was taken into account though, that it can trigger the scan, but I feel bad for many months it took to figure it out.
 

lariko

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Oh my...there is something with beetrootpowder relating to being an athlete.
Just because it’s natural, it doesn’t mean it has no chemical compounds that are forbidden 😅
 

ice_tulip

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I have to believe that all the secrecy forced upon her was unnecessary and cruel.

With all due respect, where did you read that the secrecy was "forced upon" Jessica? I got the impression it was a mutual decision. I don't see how the USFA could have forced her to stay silent?
 

Moxiejan

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With all due respect, where did you read that the secrecy was "forced upon" Jessica? I got the impression it was a mutual decision. I don't see how the USFA could have forced her to stay silent?
I thought that i’d read in her own Instagram post (now marked as “edited”) that she’d been told not to comment publicly for 8 months; sounded like she wished she could have spoken out to defend herself. Did anyone else see the original post?

If my info is incorrect, I apologize.
 

TontoK

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Regarding the secrecy... I don't blame her.

If she'd said she was under investigation for a drug offense, but had no idea how that happened... I'm sure she'd have been labeled a drug cheat in many people's minds, and she'd have had to put up with those accusations for all this time.

And once people get a notion firmly implanted, it never goes away.
 

4everchan

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Regarding the secrecy... I don't blame her.

If she'd said she was under investigation for a drug offense, but had no idea how that happened... I'm sure she'd have been labeled a drug cheat in many people's minds, and she'd have had to put up with those accusations for all this time.

And once people get a notion firmly implanted, it never goes away.
well... that depends how it is dealt with... if you read my long post, it is not something that happened to Laurence Vincent Lapointe. People didn't call her a cheat or anything... As a matter of fact, she received a lot of sympathy.
 

anonymoose_au

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If she'd said she was under investigation for a drug offense, but had no idea how that happened..
This is a point, especially since that's what EVERYONE says when they get a violation. Like has an athlete ever just given a mea culpa right off the bat rather than later on when they've been proven guilty?

Let's face it, people are suspicious by nature, if you're accused of serious wrong doing lawyers will tell you not to say anything, even that you're innocent because people just won't believe you.

It's not Jessica's or the USFA's fault people gossiped and came up with all sorts of crazy theories, that's on those people. If they feel bad for accusing Brian of this or that well they should and maybe think next time before saying the first crazy thing they think of.
 

karne

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Regarding the secrecy... I don't blame her.

If she'd said she was under investigation for a drug offense, but had no idea how that happened... I'm sure she'd have been labeled a drug cheat in many people's minds, and she'd have had to put up with those accusations for all this time.

And once people get a notion firmly implanted, it never goes away.
There will be people who won't believe her even now. And I can't blame them, either. Eyelash serum causing a positive drug test? It sounds ridiculous.

So it's inescapable really. As soon as there's a positive test there will always, always be that doubt.
 

BlissfulSynergy

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My point is that it should never have been the decision of USFSA to report an untrue reason for the Worlds WD (it was not a “personal” choice; it was required at the moment they were suspended). Yes, as soon as it was reported, Jess and/or coaches should have had the chance to either respond (“we believe this accusation to be unfounded and are fighting it vigorously while we continue training”) or to remain private (“we won’t comment while the investigation is ongoing”).

It should be noted that the unfortunate USFSA coverup didn’t result in rumors/allegations against just Jess. It also served to point fingers at others who were not involved — Brian & their coaches. All of this was happening in the context of other investigations (Cipres, Coughlin, etc.) & the USFSA explanation of “personal reason” left something like those situations as one of the rumored possibilities. So unfair to Brian!

We all want skating to be treated as a “real” sport and its competitors to be treated as “real” athletes. But I can’t think of any other sport in which a suspension of any nature could be covered up in this way.
You make some good points. But this is just one instance highlighting the 'Mom/Pop' approach and often ineffective way the sport of figure skating is run in the U.S., and globally.

In the article, coaches Meno/Sand, were quoted as saying they thought and hoped the situation would be cleared up fairly quickly. That was perhaps a reasonable expectation because I doubt anyone had or has any reason to believe that taking performance-enhancing drugs is something Jessica would be engaged in. It's not in Jessica's nature, and there's absolutely no reason for her to do it. In fact, there's no real, measurable benefit for figure skaters engaging in such practices generally, outside of maybe increasing endurance for getting through programs. But that's a bit of a reach. In any case, it's well known and well-established how hard Jessica works on her physical training, and Brian as well. Neither of them would have any reason for engaging in such outlawed enhancement practices.

I know the way the overall testing and drug monitoring system is set up, doesn't take into account innocence in special cases where the incriminating substance came into contact with an athlete inadvertently. If athletes check product labels against known banned substances, then that's all they can do. They are not research scientists, and should not be held in violation of the rules due to a substance metabolizing into a banned substance. The fact that the proof of innocence is borne solely by the athlete, is extremely unfair. As is the fact that there is no compensation for lost competitive opportunities, anxiety and stress, and one's reputation in the sport taking a hit.

Thus, in the case of Jessica Calalang, I can understand the concerns and desires to be cautious about public reporting until it was figured out why the test came back positive for a banned substance. Still it can also be argued, as you indicated, that a public announcement from the beginning may have led to widespread support for Jess, and perhaps a quicker resolution.

Seemingly, the substance should be tied to specific products taken to enhance performance. Cosmetics are not used to enhance athletic performance, They are used in figure skating to enhance appearance and presentation on the ice. It should be equal responsibility for the governing body or the testing apparatus to figure things out regarding test results, particularly due to the fact that figure skating is not a sport rampantly associated with performance-enhancing drug violators (aside from the Russian drug scandal which involved a number of sports but only a few Russian figure skaters).

The rules are often prohibitive in in the way they hurt innocent athletes.
 
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