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July 2 Roundup: RUSADA Can Test Again; Rollerskiiing Record Attempt in UK

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) can now plan and coordinate its own testing based on a decision from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and its independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC). In a June 27 press release, WADA explained that allowing RUSADA to resume testing, under the supervision of WADA-appointed international experts and the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), is an “important step forward” in the “roadmap toward compliance”, in the words of WADA President Sir Craig Reedie.

WADA’s Foundation Board accepted the CRC’s recommendation on May 18 after both entities were convinced Russia had fulfilled its initial requirements in “rebuilding” its anti-doping program, according to Reedie. Those requirements included:

  1. Changing the RUSADA Statutes to require that the Chair and Vice Chair are secluded from the independent members of the RUSADA Board
  2. Providing the CRC with a RUSADA conflict of interest policy for approval
  3. Releasing all Athlete Biological Passport blood samples at the Russian Anti-doping Center on demand to the anti-doping organization that had those samples sent there for testing
  4. Providing Doping Control Officers access to “Closed Cities”

But RUSADA is still technically considered non-compliant under WADA standards, as it has been since November 2015. Russia will need to continue to follow WADA’s remaining reinstatement criteria outlined in an “agreed roadmap,” which includes a full audit by WADA tentatively scheduled for this September.

 

– Late last month, U.S. Nordic Combined made its new head-coach pick official: Martin Bayer has taken the reins following the departure of longtime head coach Dave Jarrett in April. A two-time Olympic nordic-combined skier, Bayer has been a coach for 17 years, the last two of which he spent as a development and Continental Cup coach for the U.S. Ski Team.

“He found a nice spot in the team pretty quickly and worked well with everyone, including myself,” team veteran Bryan Fletcher told Steamboat Today. ”I’ve enjoyed working with him the last two and a half years. He’s definitely a good coach, and we have a good system with him in place now.”

“Martin’s years spent rising through the club ranks allow him to relate to everyone, from the parents to the athletes, involved with our sport,” USA Nordic Sports Executive Director Bill Demong said in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “He will implement the best plan for the team using the resources we have to ensure we see athletic success this season and beyond.”

 

– A former junior skier from Anchorage, Alaska, Erin Johnson, 27, was attacked and killed by a black bear while doing field work near Pogo Mine in interior Alaska on June 19. She was a Chugiak High School graduate who competed at the Junior Olympics in 2006 and 2007, and went on to study at geology and botany at the University of Montana and University of Alaska Anchorage.

Johnson was collecting geological samples with a coworker about five miles from the mine when a black bear attacked. The coworker used bear spray and survived, but Johnson did not. The fatal attack, which is unusual among black bears, was the second in a 24-hour span in Alaska.

“I broke my back seven years ago and she was one of the first people that went nordic and alpine skiing with me,” Ira Edwards, Rossignol’s longtime nordic racing coordinator who now does sales and marketing for the company, told KTUU.

“Erin’s wonderful energy, quirky sense of humor, dedication, sparkle, generosity, and talent touched everyone she knew, and left them all the better,” her family said in a statement. She was married two weeks earlier.

 

– Chris Gouldsmith, of Hayscastle, Wales, wants to be the first person to rollerski the length of Great Britain, nearly 900 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and he’ll go in the record books if he does so.  An ex-soldier, Ironman coach and nordic-ski instructor, Gouldsmith is planning on rollerskiing 55 to 60 miles per day, starting Aug. 1, to finish in 15 days. He wants to raise awareness of rollerskiing as a sport as well as raise money for The National Autistic Society and the brain-injury charity, Headway. According to the Western Telegraph, he’s also looking for a local sponsor to supplement his travel and equipment costs.

“Training is going well and I’m working on building up balance, flexibility and endurance,” Gouldsmith told the Telegraph. “Hopefully I will be the first person to rollerski the length of Britain.”

— Ian Tovell

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