Monday, August 15, 2016

Drug Testing

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Canadian World Championship medalist Dustin Cook recently gave an interview to Ski Racing magazine about his experiences with drug testing. Others approached him for interviews about the FIS and drug testing, but he chose us. Yes, one of our not-yet-as-intrepid-as-his-predecessors-but-slowly-getting-there reporters was given the privilege of interviewing the likeable Canadian. Let's find out what he has to say.

BB: Before we begin talking about drug testing, you and Anna Veith decided to have a competition where you used kangaroos as your champions. How did that go? (see this story)
Cook: It didn't happen. I got the t-shirts made for the kangaroos after long discussions with Anna about the colors. The national colors of both Austria and Canada are red and white. We finally decided that her kangaroo would have the red shirt and mine would have the white one.
BB: That sounds fair. Were the shirts the wrong size for the kangaroos?
Cook: No, they were perfect. But the Salzburg Zoo did not want to lend out the kangaroos for our challenge.
BB: Even though Anna is a local heroine in Salzburg?
Cook: Right. I even offered to go over to see if I could convince the zookeepers to let us borrow the kangaroos, but Anna decided that the competition was off. But we got to keep the shirts.
BB: Now that you and Anna have recovered from your injuries, will you compete against each other on the race pistes?
Cook: I'm sure that we will see each other in St. Moritz at the World Championships. But we won't race against each other. I'm sure that Anna prefers to race against other women because she is sensible and sane. It would be fun to be in a women's race because what guy wouldn't want to be surrounded by lots of women! But I will compete in men's races this season. I  hope to talk to Anna in St. Moritz because she is very nice and has a great sense of humor. (short pause)  Hey, I thought we were supposed to talk about drug testing.
BB: We will get to it, don't worry. But first, I have one more question for you. Is it true that your parents really beat you when you were not polite to others?
Cook: (smiling) Don't all Canadian parents beat their kids when they are rude? I know it seems counter-intuitive that beating your kids makes them polite and friendly. But it works in Canada. It is important for us Canadians to uphold our reputation of being nice. Even Jan Hudec, who was an immigrant, learned very quickly to be nice.
BB: Yes, Jan is one of the friendliest racers in the World Cup. So was Larisa Yurkiw before she retired. How do you feel about Jan competing for the Czech Republic?
Cook: We will miss him on the team, but I'm happy that he will carry on racing. I also hope to see him at races and in St. Moritz.
BB: Let's talk about drug testing. Do you really have to be available at all times to be drug tested?
Cook: Yes. I can be tested any time during both racing season and in the off-season.
BB: Do the drug testers give you any notice that they are coming?
Cook: In the off-season they don't. I have to let the testers know where I am so they can come and test me anytime.
BB: Suppose you decide to go for a last-minute hike in the woods. Do you have to let the testers know?
Cook: Yes. They can theoretically meet me on the trail.
BB: But what if you have too much water while you are hiking and have to pee before the testers arrive?
Cook: Then I guess they would have to wait for the next sample.
BB: Have you ever been in a situation where you were out of touch with the drug testers? For example, have you ever been abducted by aliens who jammed your mobile phone signal?
Cook:, I have never been abducted by aliens.
BB: Do you believe in space aliens?
Cook: I suppose there could be life on other planets, so I guess the answer is yes.
BB: Tell our readers about drug testing at races.
Cook: Everyone who is on the podium gets tested. Once I know I am on the podium for sure, the FIS assigns a bodyguard to make sure I don't sneak off before giving a sample. The bodyguard stays with me until I have peed.
BB: So if it takes you five hours to pee after a race, the bodyguard stays with you?
Cook: In theory, yes. I normally take care of business before a race, so sometimes it takes a while afterward until I have to go again. But the FIS has a great procedure to help the process.
BB: Can you explain the process?
Cook: Yes. After the race the podium finishers and anyone else who is randomly selected for testing go into a special room. We are shown a video of waterfalls, rivers, showers, and running sink taps for about 30 minutes.
BB: What happens if that doesn't work?
Cook: Then each racer is given a liter of water to drink. That usually does the trick for me. But if that doesn't work then the racers are given a liter of non-alcoholic light beer. If anything will make someone pee, it is light beer.
BB: True. Someone once said that people who drink light beer don't like the taste of beer. They just like to pee a lot. What if the light beer doesn't work?
Cook: Then that person must have the world's largest bladder! I don't know because either the video or the water does it for me.
BB: Is there a further step?
Cook: I'm not sure. I heard that the drug testers stick a needle directly into a racer's kidney to get a sample. I also heard that they inject the athletes with a super diuretic drug that makes them pee instantly. But I don't know anyone who either had a kidney tapped or who was given a diuretic drug.
BB: What was you most unusual encounter with a drug tester?
Cook: I was in my bathroom brushing my teeth before bed one night, when I heard a strange noise from the toilet. I looked down in the toilet bowl and there was a little man rowing a little boat. He was wearing a sea captain's hat, a blue blazer, a white turtleneck shirt, and white pants and was holding something up. (watch this video to see him)
BB: I think you have been watching too many TV commercials from the 1970s.
Cook: No, I don't know any 1970s TV commercials. Anyway, the man stood up in the boat. Then he called my name, told me not to flush, then gave me what he was holding in his hand--a specimen cup.
BB: So you're telling me that a miniature man in a rowboat in your toilet had you take a drug test?
Cook: It does sound weird, but it's true.
BB: It certainly beats Lindsey Vonn's drug test at a red carpet event for weirdness. So what happened after you gave your sample?
Cook: He took the cup and rowed away. I thought it was a dream at first, but then I got the results and I was clean. The date of the test was the night I saw the little man. I don't know how he did it, but he found his way to the testing lab in his rowboat.
BB: If you can believe in life on other planets, then you can also believe in little men in rowboats in your toilet giving you drug tests. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Dustin, I want to thank you for this interview. You were nice as ever, so you don't need to worry about Mom beating you for being rude. We at the Blickbild also want to wish you a successful 2016/17 season. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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