“Why would you do it, if you are just going to cheat?”
medal, two previous race results and barred indefinitely from World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) competition. Last November, Triathlon Canada issued a two-year ban preventing Miller from competing in any sanctioned race, including Team Canada events outside the country. The arbitration tribunal of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) is reviewing Miller’s age-group win at the 2014 Long Distance World Championships in China. Tim Wilson, CEO of Triathlon Canada, echoes the questions thousands of triathletes asked on Slowtwitch.com discussion threads and elsewhere in the months following Miller’s questionable race results and her banishment. “Why would you do it, if you are just going to cheat?” Wilson asked. “It just defeats the whole purpose. It runs contrary to the ethos of competing in triathlon.”
Triathlon relies on self-regulation, Wilson says, with the onus on individuals to follow the rules. And yet – ask any age-group triathlete, and they’ll bristle before sharing their own story of having witnessed blatant cheating: a peloton of cyclists cruising by, glancing back over their shoulders for any sign of approaching technical officials on the lookout for drafting; the triathlete in his 50s who turns down an offer for a testosterone prescription, only to be told by his doctor, “I know lots of aging triathletes who take it.”
The idea of a baby boomer dabbling in performance-enhancing drugs shocks me, but 20-time world track masters’ champion cyclist Gérard Louis Robert is bemused by my naiveté.
“It’s a question of ego, of image, to be able to show off to their friends and competitors who is the strongest,” says the 67-year-old Montrealer, who is in Europe for the summer on the UCI competition circuit. “If people have the means to do it, they’ll do it.”
World-class masters’ competitors like Robert are tested regularly for doping, just like the pros. Robert believes WTC, which runs Ironman, and the ITU should follow suit.