The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I am against drugs, but you still want the truth. They are not doing it to be a bad person; it’s because they see others doing bad things, and there is the temptation. Then you are in the middle. You have the relationship with the press, and they are attacking you and the athletes and you have to protect the athletes, because they are still young people. OK, they make a mistake, but it’s no reason to kill them."

This quote is from an interview by Paul Gains in the Jan/Feb 2005 issue of Running Times magazine.

Now for the sad part - these words were spoken by Jos Hermens.

Who is Hermens? Well, I've mentioned him once before on my blog. He is a sports manager, but more than a manager. He takes a very hands-on role in the lives of his top athletes. He sometimes chooses their doctors, he helps them with their preparation, and he defends them if they get caught doping. "They're young...they made a mistake" - would you send your son or daughter to be trained by a man with this mindset? What kind of "mistake" is doping? Why do some of his young athletes feel it is OK to dope?

And what did this mindset achieve? A lot of results to be sure, but this is the man that managed world 100m champion Katrin Krabbe, banned for using clenbuterol; Grit Breur for using clenbuterol; Hezekiel Sepeng banned for using anabolic steroids; and Alem Techale, who collapsed and died while running - aged 18.

Of this death Wikipedia says: On January 4, 2005, Kenenisa Bekele's fiancee, 18-year-old Alem Techale, died of an apparent heart attack while on a training run with him. Although it was initially stated that no autopsy was performed, Techale and Bekele's manager, Jos Hermens, later said that an autopsy had revealed nothing conclusive about the young woman's death.

Jos Hermens also manages Kenenisa Bekele, who won the 10,000m at the Beijing Olympics.

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