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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Seems like

in: Brodie Nank; Brodie Nank > 2019-11-12

Nov 12, 2019 8:55 AM # 
Ezra:
Seems like a very roundabout way to post your humblebrag tbh
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Nov 12, 2019 8:55 AM # 
Brodie Nank:
Haha of course that is what I was going for - I'm just pretty good at orienteering ok...
Nov 12, 2019 9:07 AM # 
biddy:
Brodie is an ok orienteer. Discuss.....
Nov 12, 2019 9:47 AM # 
patjaffe:
Wow if that's what someone who didn't prepare for China, does 5k in over 16min and has no agility could do, imagine what Australia's fastest orienteer could've done
Nov 12, 2019 9:52 AM # 
Doyley:
I don't know if you saw patjaffe, but he mispunched
Nov 12, 2019 10:09 AM # 
Brodie Nank:
Well played Doyley, well played.
Nov 12, 2019 10:31 AM # 
patjaffe:
Nah I heard he boycotted the China world cup
Nov 13, 2019 5:54 AM # 
Ecmo:
Brodie, I think you need to reset your password. LeBron James has clearly taken over your ap log.
Nov 13, 2019 8:41 AM # 
Uncle JiM:
Well said, Brodie. It's a relief to finally read something written, that has been well thought through. There has been so much negativity out there about this subject. You just have to feel for these athletes, being called a liar and a cheat, when there is no proof to say such things
Nov 13, 2019 4:41 PM # 
Ecmo:
Suggest you look at the splits closely Jim - for all the Chinese athletes as a collective group. Together with all the other circumstantial evidence.

They cheated.

We shouldn't be reluctant to call it out as many have been with past (generally drug related) sports scandals. There is plenty of proof.
Nov 13, 2019 11:24 PM # 
Brodie Nank:
Ecmo I agree with you that is plausible they cheated - I just don't think it is 100% certain so therefore we shouldn't be blatantly stating this.

There is not an argument for why they cheated that I haven't been able to come up with a plausible explanation for (even if said explanation is not extremely likely but still possible).

For example, the fact that the Chinese men were leading early into the race could be explained by (1) this was one of the most technical parts of the course (where home ground advantage/lots of technical preparation come into play) and (2) it was at the start of the course where other runners would have had the least confidence in unfamiliar terrain. This is one explanation for the fast early splits, another is they cheated by seeing the course or training on the specific area - but its impossible at this time to say with 100% confidence which of these happended. That's all I'm saying.
Nov 13, 2019 11:40 PM # 
Craney:
Nice Brodie, you should be a lawyer or an actuary.
Nov 14, 2019 2:52 AM # 
Ecmo:
Fair enough Brodie. I respect your position and applaud you for your generous willingness to give the Chinese athletes the benefit of the doubt. And of course you were there and saw events unfold.

Absolute proof is a high bar to clear. That's why the criminal justice system works on the principle "beyond a reasonable doubt". If we relied on absolute proof, Lance Armstrong would still have his 7 tour titles and George Pell would still be working for the Vatican instead of being behind bars.

In this case there are too many improbables and coincidences. For mine it's beyond a reasonable doubt they cheated and I'm pretty confident an evidence based inquiry would draw the same conclusion.
Nov 14, 2019 5:34 AM # 
Brodie Nank:
I'm not asking for absolute proof - we can only get that with photos of athletes breaking the rules. However both those situations you described + the criminal justice system rely upon testimony, something we don't have in this situation. No one has reported seeing them cheat or given up some sort of other proof, e.g. communication between athletes, coaches and organisers.

At this stage it is not beyond reasonable doubt that they cheated. It appears the IOF are planning to do such an enquiry (https://orienteering.sport/fair-play-and-major-eve...) so let's hope they can get some new information that will help clarify the situation.
Nov 14, 2019 12:04 PM # 
jennycas:
People tend to forget all the hard work which Lance Armstrong put in over so many years. Clearly he was caught cheating, but he didn't win 7 Tour titles due to illicit substances alone - his remarkable achievements have been overshadowed by his shaming (speaking of shaming, I can't help but wonder about the fate of the disqualified athletes from CISM...)
Nov 14, 2019 4:35 PM # 
Ecmo:
It's good to see some sort of inquiry planned.

We shouldn't need testimony. In this situation the split times will provide a wealth of mathematical/statistical evidence that may well prove more damming than any testimony. We now have many years of splits recorded from WC and World Championships sprint races with which we can benchmark. Even just a cursory examination of the mens and womens split times with a focus on the Chinese athletes as a group made me see a few anomalies. Others have of course also noted this.
Nov 14, 2019 8:59 PM # 
Brodie Nank:
Ecmo have you ever seen a drug cheat barred from a sport purely off their improvement in said sport, even if this is dramatic? I would be surprised if there was one.

Like I said - from what I have read so far I can come up with a rational (even if low probability) explanation for the all the anomalies that have been reported.
Nov 16, 2019 5:04 AM # 
Ecmo:
Brodie - I don't understand how your example is relevant in this case. In any case, no I haven't seen a drug cheat barred from a sport purely off improvement in one race. However if 5 or 6 athletes from the same country all produce significant improvements in one race (or over major parts of a race) then what? Even accounting for home ground advantage this is mighty suspicious. Remember Ma's Army? And now we are seeing other groups historically exhibiting high levels of sudden collective improvement (eg Sky Cycling team, Salazar's training group in the US) getting questioned.

In exploring collective improvement by one group of orienteering athletes I'll try and explain the value of split times as an evidential tool again. Orienteering is a unique sport in that the split time record provides a wealth of information that allows us to look for abnormalities both within a race and in comparison with other sprint races. For obvious reasons splits in track and swimming races are much less enlightening because orienteering is a sport where imperfect navigation is a key component of performance.

For a basic example I'd be interested in seeing a test of Chinese athletes v the field trimmed mean and median split times for legs that were finalised over x days before the race v legs finalised or affected by map changes < x days before the race.

Then there's all the commonsense stuff. This was a hard sprint both navigation but especially choosing the best route choice. And you have two athletes from China who have run hard sprints overseas with very little form suddenly on the podium running the race with a consistency Gueorgiou would be proud of. And then another few completely unknown runners with a load of really fast splits interspersed with mistakes. Even knowing the local terrain, these athletes have never shown an ability to evaluate, choose and execute optimum route choices so successfully in any other theatre.

Traditionally when WC and World Champs have been held outside Europe we see the odd good result from a local or neutral runner. But not like this, especially with runners showing little other international form.

Oh and the CISM cheating. Yeah I know it's a different group but it does hint an a trend.

You can find a rational (low probability) explanation for these events individually but not everything taken together.

History of cheating in sport shows if it looks suss it probably is.
Nov 16, 2019 5:55 AM # 
Craney:
I don’t buy it Ecmo. I do think there’s a good chance there was skulduggery occurring. But I think proving it statistically would be troublesome. For one there isn’t much of a control group/precedent where major international races have occurred in nations with a reasonable standard of home runners which would be a real culture shock to the rest of the field. Secondly my a priori expectation is that in this situation the locals would train their tits off to peak for such a race, would train in similar terrain as much as possible and would give it everything from the gun. Meanwhile unaccustomed foreigners would take a while to adapt to the culture shock and would probably run slightly more conservative in what is just another World Cup for them. So you would need a statistically significantly different outcome to that to prove cheating. If only Blair wasn’t biaised in this situation I am sure he could prove it one way or the other.
Nov 16, 2019 1:40 PM # 
blairtrewin:
Although it doesn't prove anything one way or the other, another thing I'd add to the list is that if a team was doing serious (legal) pre-race preparation and trying to anticipate likely courses using the published arena location and the old map, there weren't a lot of plausible options for the first part of the course other than the area that was used (and indeed there were probably only about three or four likely exit routes if you anticipated, correctly, that we wouldn't set legs that presented going out to the rather chaotic main road as an option). It would be a lot harder to anticipate what would happen after that.
Nov 18, 2019 4:28 PM # 
Ecmo:
Craney - agree completely with your point about an individual statistical test not proving a real world hypothesis given the lack of a perfect control group and the unique circumstances of this event. When giving an example of a possible test I wasn't implying that just because that one test came up with a statistically improbable result it was conclusive that cheating occurred.

My focus was really on doing a wide range of data exploration (focussing on things like first leg performance, past PWT performance, athletes course performance v pure track running speed etc) which I anticipate would paint a picture. A very strong picture.

I'm still not deviating from my original claim. I'm sure almost any individual performance/event in the results can be explained/is feasible in some way. But taking everything together I see a very good chance there was skulduggery occurring. So I think we agree on this point, just I think the cheating case is stronger!

Blair - just one point. Legal pre-race prep can be done by any team and knowing the professionalism of countries like Sweden and Switzerland I'm sure they would have done as much as anyone else. Fair to admit I could see that China might be more advantaged by such preparation though given their runners are starting from a lower performance base.
Nov 18, 2019 7:07 PM # 
blairtrewin:
It certainly can be done by any team, but certainly some of the talk I was hearing suggested that the big teams weren't putting anything like the level of preparation into this that they would for a WOC.

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