Monday, August 07, 2006

Crow: It's What's For Dinner

Things aren't looking so good for our man Floyd.

The "B" sample test turned up positive, pretty much like everyone expected it would. But that's not the real problem. As we discussed last time, there are problems with the T/E ratio test. No, what's got Floyd's essentials well and truly trapped in the mangle is the isotope test.

My knowledge of biology is somewhat scanty, as discussed earlier, but this much I do know: there are subtle chemical differences between naturally-produced hormones and the synthetic varieties. I know this, because I take fistfuls of vitamin supplements, and like to know something about what I'm shoveling into my cake hole. For instance, there's a minor difference between synthetic Vitamin E, and the stuff your body produces naturally. But it's not a big difference, and it has the same chemical function that the natural stuff does.

Likewise, there are subtle chemical differences between synthetic testosterone, and the genuine, natural article. They're not produced by the exact same chemical process. This induces very minute differences in composition, differences that are detectable by gas chromatography.

Which means that, unless something truly extraordinary is revealed, it's likely that there really was some synthetic testosterone in Landis' body when he took those tests.

It's a monumentally stupid thing to have done, if he really did do it. I don't know of anyone who thinks that a testosterone boost could have done any good to improve single-day performance. And if he won big, of course he was going to be tested. Did he think they'd miss it? That by some miracle it wouldn't show up?

There's a long appeal process to churn through before this is well and truly done. But it's not looking good, not at all.

In any case, I like to think that I'm man enough to eat my crow when it's called for. The performance that I'd hailed as a triumph of iron will is probably due instead to better living through chemistry. I'm disappointed by that, I really am. And I'm still hoping against hope that, somehow, there's vindication at the end of the road. But I wouldn't bet more than pocket change on it.

Pass the Tabasco, would you, pal?

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