Were you wondering why Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe retired in November at the relatively young age of 24? No? Me neither but French newspaper L'Equipe was wondering and their wonderment has turned into the latest accusation of doping.
L'Equipe said Thorpe turned up irregular levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone in a test on May 2006. Synthetic versions of testosterone, the male hormone, can act like steroids to improve performance. Luteinizing hormone is released by the pituitary gland and produces testosterone in men.
FINA, swimming's ruling organization, has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest tribunal in the sports world, to overturn a decision by Australia's anti-doping agency to close the case, L'Equipe said.
Steroid Nation, my go-to web source for all things doping related, hasn't covered this story yet so I can only go off of the info I've got on hand. I'm somewhat unsurprised that Australian officials would choose to dismiss the case based on a lack of scientific proof. I was recently Down Under and one thing I came away with from my travels across the country is that they have an unfortunate tendency to take the worst of things from this country and implement them into their own. Fast food abounds, the wealthy are lionized in the newspapers and on the television networks that they own and their Prime Minister John Howard is close with our President. So it doesn't strike me as that odd that they would choose to ignore something that indicated bad news and choose to dispute the ability of science to be of assistance in finding out the truth.
Either way, Thorpe's retirement makes me think that he was getting out of town one step ahead of the law. The next Olympics were less than two years away and Thorpe, a five-time gold medalist, is still young enough to do damage at the next Games. Retiring is a much more honorable way than banishment when it comes to ways of losing a chance at more medals.