Shot put steroid: what is metenolone?
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 2:15p.m.
By Kim Choe
Belarusian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been stripped of her Olympic gold medal after testing positive for the steroid metenolone.
She threw 21.36m in the Olympic final, beating rival Valerie Adams by 0.66m. Ostapchuk had set a new personal best of 21.58m in July, beating Adams’ personal best of 21.24m.
What is metenolone?
Graeme Steel, the chief executive of anti-doping organisation Drug Free Sport New Zealand, told Firstline metenolone is an anabolic steroid, which mimics testosterone “and therefore will give people added male characteristics – more muscle, deeper voices, hair on the chin and so on”.
Anabolic steroids work by increasing the production of protein in the body’s cells, which increases muscle strength. Scientific expert Jordi Segura told the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) disciplinary hearing that metenolone can be taken either orally or by injection. If taken orally, the drug can disappear from a person’s system in four to five days.
Mr Steel says the bigger the dose, the more serious the side effects are.
“There are signs where there has been significant use, but they are not of themselves definitive. Some people can naturally have deep voices, and some women are hirsute and have hair in places you wouldn’t expect – it doesn’t mean they’re doping. But sometimes you can connect all those dots and think that’s suspicious, yes.”
How commonly is it used?
Mr Steel says metenolone is easily detected, and therefore not often used.
“It’s probably around seventh or eighth in the list of anabolic steroids we might find.”
He thinks it’s unusual that Ostapchuk tested positive for the drug during the event, because it’s something that would usually be taken well in advance.
“There is no particular benefit on the day. It’s really during the training phase that you would get the benefit.”
How was Nadzeya Ostapchuk caught?
Ostapchuk was asked to provide a urine sample to the World Anti-Doping Agency on the morning of August 5 – the day before the shot put qualification and final. She then provided a second sample the next night, after winning the gold medal.
Initial tests done on both samples (known as “A” samples) showed that metenolone was present. Belarus’ Deputy Chef de Mission then requested that the backup “B” samples from both the August 5 and 6 samples be tested – these too were positive.
How has Nadzeya Ostapchuk reacted to her disqualification?
Ostapchuk has denied doping, telling Belarusian radio station Radio Liberty, “of course we will fight this decision, but still it's not completely clear for what and against whom exactly we will protest”.
"I'm looking like an idiot to take this in heading for the games and knowing that it is so easy to be tested. Nonsense. I'm being tested every month, every week,” she told internet news agency Noviny.by.
The Belarus Olympic Committee told the IOC that Ostapchuk was tested in Belarus on July 25, July 26, and August 1 – and all came back negative. Team officials haven’t contested that the steroids were found in her system, but say they will investigate and “take the appropriate measures”.
Ostapchuk says the most important thing for her is to clear her reputation.
“I’ve been in the sport for so many years and have never faced any claims. And now at the major event and after the gold medal … I do not understand it.”
She has accused IOC officials of bias against Belarusian athletes, citing an earlier incident when hammer thrower Ivan Tsikhan was sent home after his samples from the 2004 Athens Olympics were retested and showed higher-than-normal testosterone levels.
The Belarus government says it still recognises Ostapchuk as the Olympic champion.
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4/09/2012 9:29:57 a.m.
18/08/2012 3:10:30 a.m.
Maybe someone put something in her food before she competed?
15/08/2012 8:57:07 a.m.
End of the day a positive test is a positive test. If it was the coach and she did not know or they all knew and this goes right up to the Belarus testers, who knows? One thing appears clear Val will need the SAS to get that medal out of Belarus! The only thing they are questioning is that the Olympic testing of several samples was wrong or false? Don't think so. Thing is you do not even need a test only a good pair of eyes to see what was going on?? Hey I could do with taking that myself beef me up some what?
15/08/2012 2:15:33 a.m.
While Ostapchuk's defence might be that she would be stupid to have used and easily detected drug so close to compettion, she has no real anwser as to why all her samples tested positive!! My answer is her and medical team messed up, miscalculated and got caught!!!
14/08/2012 7:23:54 p.m.
While Ostapchuk says she would be stupid to have use such an easily detected drug and she would be mad to use it.
I can from a sporting background from the 80's and know of this drug being used. Athlete that use it would use it months out form any competition hoping to evade a positive, however their was when they were detected, not because they used it up to the competition, but because they became dehydrated and while attempting to rehydrate the drug residue was flushed out giving a positive test. Is it possible she used some months ago the answer could be yes.
We also know that some countries will test the test. Thy put athletes on a drug and see if they can mask it with a non banned drug.
14/08/2012 6:42:01 p.m.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions just yet. Ostapchuk has a point when she says that using this substance would be easily detected so why use it, especially close to the competition. Olympic testing is extremely touchy and can be set off by almost anything. This isn't over until any appeals and retests are finished. Ostapchuk might be a cheat, but she might not be either.
14/08/2012 5:42:45 p.m.
I've been waiting for this girl to be caught for years now! As a former international thrower who never got "anywhere" due to my refusal to use drugs, it is a great day to hear that Val gets the gold. Val is naturally gifted beyond any other girl out there.
As a South African, I also am very annoyed by the fact that someone like Semenya, who was born the way she is, gets constant scrutiny, but shemans like Ostaptyuk, who's womenly features changed into a certain super rugby prop forward's, just gets a pass for so long. Its obvious when athletes use drugs...just look at Lysenko as well...women hammer champ...a skin breakout that will make any teen run and a jaw line that will make any boxer proud. Just not on!
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