Starky banned for 13 BS

I normally take a pretty tough line on doping, and I am far from a fan of Starky…but he is 100% getting screwed over here.

he was sick, took the medication his doctor told him he should take, immediately filed for a TUE, disclosed the meds on his anti-doping forms at IMFL and STILL gets handed a ban…because some bureaucracy belatedly decided, without speaking to or examining the athlete, that he should have taken other medications.

Man, that is some BS…Starky was 100% transparent the whole time.

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does indeed sound like BS and does sound like he was targeted.

with transcripts of the hearing, that Ironman knew his TUE was denied in advance of Ironman Florida and did not tell him, instead specifically targeted him.

I’m going to disagree. This has been well discussed on Slowtwitch here and here.

Starky has some culpability in my opinion.


Unfortunately he deliberately took part in a race in the full knowledge that to do so was to commit an anti doping violation. He made his bed.


I would agree with that…in fact, the aspects of Starky which I dislike is one of the reasons he is in this situation. he is bullheaded and often pretty damn stupid. And I’ll agree that he should not have raced until he actually had the TUE.

That said, as noted, he was completely transparent and, perhaps more importantly, the inhaler in question has been removed from the banned list (or will be)…so there is clearly no performance enhancement, otherwise it would not have been removed.

Now, that said, 13 months is ridiculously over-the-top. If the drug is no longer banned, his punishment should end at the same time. I’m perfectly OK with him losing his results during the time in question.

USADA spends a lot of time going after what I consider innocent athletes. At least Starky has some means by which to defend himself. I am a big fan of USADA but they are working hard to make me dislike them.

He still has to follow the current rules . . . and accept the current punishments. At least that’s what I believe today.

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I was originally on his side more when the news first broke and read his post, but once I read through all the details and the fact that he knowingly raced while the TUE was still being reviewed and having been explicitly told he would be committing an offence if he raced swung me to the other side of him just being an idiot. I don’t think the 13 month suspension is too far out of line for what he did, but the original 4 year length was absolutely bonkers!

Also, the fact that he did this within days? weeks? of his ranting about TUE’s on Breakfast With Bob in Kona also doesn’t make him look good IMO either. From about 15 minutes in:

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If he had been busted in an out-of-competition test, after taking some urgent medication at the direction of his doctor and then filing a TUE application, I would have had a lot of sympathy.

But he deliberately chose to race knowing the TUE hadn’t yet been approved. But he had a clear choice here - to sit the race out.