Kasper: Miller’s doping comments ‘ridiculous’FIS president Gian Franco Kasper said it’s ‘completely ridiculous’ that overall World Cup champion Bode Miller has called for the liberalization of anti-doping policies in sports, and said it may cause real problems for Miller this season.
‘We think about these issues every day’ said Kasper, who is a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s executive board. ‘We cannot allow doping. If we did, we would have to give medals to doctors and chemists.’
Kasper pointed out that it’s possible that anti-doping authorities will now target Miller specifically, testing him more frequently throughout the season. Kasper added that he wanted the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to talk to Miller and ask him to take Miller aside and tone down his rhetoric.
As of Friday night at 6:30 in Soelden, USSA officials said they hadn’t been asked to send such a message. But it’s unlikely that they would, given Miller’s past history. In the spring of 2003, officials from the Canadian ski association asked him to publically apologize for comments he made about a Canadian FIS race offical, which Miller did not do.
Miller was given an opportunity Thursday to comment on the furor his statements have created in the ski racing community, which were first reported as part of a larger doping feature story in Ski Racing magazine.
Instead, he expanded greatly on his arguments, speaking for more than 10 minutes. The sporting playing field cannot and should not be made level, Miller said. ‘Nothing’s equal’ Miller said. ‘If you want to make it equal, then make everything legal. So you can do whatever the hell you want.’
Miller said drug-enforcement authorities were hypocritical, inflexible and unrealistic. The real abusers of performance-enhancing drugs were ahead of the tests, he said, and only the hapless and innocent were being prosecuted, usually for unintentional consumption. Miller said he doesn’t use ‘any of that stuff.’
‘The problem I have is when I look at all these professional athletes, at the top of their game, when they are 50 or 45 years old they have knees that don’t work at all, shoulders that don’t work, back problems’ said Miller. ‘I think that that’s a much more common occurrence than a guy who is 40 or 50 who has serious problems because of some steroid he was taking when he was 20.’
Marc Girardelli, who won 46 World Cup races in the 1980s and 1990s, turned 42 this summer. Over his career, he had 17 knee surgeries. He read of Miller’s comments in the press on Friday.
‘I cannot imagine that he made a comment pro-doping’ said Girardelli. ‘I don’t think that’s possible. It happened many times in my career. My words were explained in a different manner, and it came out only the opposite. I think maybe we should ask him again.’
Last week, Miller’s rival for the overall title, Austrian Hermann Maier, was asked to consider Miller’s opinion, expressed in the original Ski Racing article, that drugs and methods that increase blood-oxygen capacity may make downhillers safer at the bottom of the race course. Miller said fatigue may influence decision-making abilities.
‘Either he doesn’t know, or he is too young, or he was interpreted wrongly’ said Maier. ‘I am anyhow against it. Sport must be perfectly doping-free. Otherwise one can no longer admire the sportsman and his achievements.’
One skier who Miller specifically mentioned on Thursday was Hans Knauss, the Austrian downhiller who is preparing to bring a lawsuit against an American company that he says provided him with contaminated nutritional supplements, causing him to test positive and get suspended from his sport.
Miller’s autobiography, published by Villard (a division of Random House) and co-written with Jack McEnany, comes out this week. In it he says no one who dopes could beat him. ‘This is ski racing – NASCAR without the car – so if a guy feels he needs to use some designer chemical to beat me, then he profoundly doubts himself, and that’s his real problem as a ski racer’ Miller writes. ‘You can’t do this sport without absolute confidence.’