Tomas Rauktys doping case a warning to competitors about consumption of supplements
Lithuanian athlete’s ban a reminder to all regardless of their level of competition
Lance Armstrong has not surrendered on his past. Photograph: PA
Lance Armstrong has been swallowing some more pride this week, probably still hoping that it’s not poison. Full disclosure of the most sophisticated doping programme in sporting history doesn’t come easy, even to those with nothing left to lose.
“I’m just hopeful that I can regain trust, and get back to some work,” he told Daniel Benson, in a four-part interview with cyclingnews.com - his first face-to-face sit down with a specialist cycling journalist since the USADA’s Reasoned Decision, a year ago, sent millions of yellow wristbands flying into the dustbin. Not that Armstrong has completely surrendered on his past.
“If your question is, are they going back up on the wall, the answer is yes,” Armstrong added, when asked what he intended on doing with his seven yellow jerseys from the Tour de France. He’s currently decorating a new house in the suburbs of Austin, and Armstrong sees no reason why the jerseys wouldn’t look good hanging somewhere the dining room.
“What earned us those jerseys was hard work, the team, the tactics, the leadership, the technology the training, are also the things people poke fun of,” he said.
“They say ‘this asshole told us it was the training, it wasn’t the training it was the doping’. (It was) all of those things combined. We did all of those things. So when I see those jerseys, all of the stories that were told were true, about the hard work, the team. And I’m not ashamed of them. I’m upset that we were all put in that position and that we made those mistakes.”
This is part of the old argument that whatever about working, the drugs don’t do all the work, especially if everyone at work is taking them. How much of this is true in Armstrong’s case we will never know. The worry is that the message doesn’t seem to be getting across, that anti-doping isn’t just about keeping the likes of Armstrong out of sport, but every little cheater, even the likes of Tomas Rauktys.
Rauktys has just been found guilty of possibly the least sophisticated doping programme in sporting history, and yet his case perhaps carries as strong a warning sign: if club or so-called amateur athletes are still tempted to play around with doping products, what hope have we got for the pros?
The 28-year-old Lithuanian native has been living in Dublin for the last five years, although has never represented Ireland, nor indeed was he eligible: however, Rauktys has been representing Clonliffe Harriers since 2009, and won the shot, discus and 56lb weight-for-distance at the National Championships in Santry last July, having also won six further titles, since 2010. It was here Rauktys was subjected to random doping test, carried out by the Irish Sports Council, on behalf of Athletics Ireland.