Download Full Publication
L. Micha Ordway

Did You Know Sign Logo

Prologue: Those who follow my articles regularly will note that this article is not the promised story about the best advice that I ever gave.  Sorry.  I will get back to that story later.  Promise.  This article does relate to advice in a way – just not mine.  This article is really about choices, consequences and sorrow. 

Here you go:

Did You Know? An elite cyclocross racer was just recently banned from racing for six years.  No, the ban was not for doping.  Well, actually it was – just not for the kind of doping that has been so common place.  This racer was banned for the first known case of mechanical doping.  Mechanical doping.  An electric motor discovered in this young woman’s bicycle.  Really. And now she is banned. 

Everything about this story bothers me.  A lot.  It has bothered me ever since I first read about it in March.  The racer is just 19 years old.       

Imagine what drove her to make such an indelible decision.  How did it happen?  Why such a fateful choice?

Yes, she had an explanation and I would like to believe it.  The wiser more cynical part of me … the part that has practiced law for nearly twenty years … will not lay silent.  There are just so many problems with her story.  So many details that are unexplained.  And of course, she didn’t try to defend herself. Rather than fight, as perhaps most innocent people would, she retired … at just 19 years old.  The attorney in me will not simply accept.

This story recalls some advice that was given to me many times and so long ago by a favorite uncle.  A voice of experience which said “don’t get into any trouble that you can’t get out of.” As someone who gives advice for a living, I often marvel over this simple statement.  It recognizes that most of us will make a few poor choices … especially when young.  It also counsels to be wary of consequences that are long lasting. It was great advice for a young person at that time at least. (For the record. No, I do not give this advice today.  It’s not the point of this article. Stay out of trouble. Period.)

In the case of this young racer, a decision was made apparently and the consequences will not be undone. She got into trouble that she cannot get out of.  A career is over and she may never escape the stigma of being the first case of mechanical doping … or at least the first to be caught.

Yes, I am sorry for this person. I feel for her and wish that she had an uncle like mine.  But yet, I also feel for all of the other racers who raced against her.  For those who compete every day cleanly and honestly.  For those who endure the suffering of hard training over long months and in all conditions just for the love of the sport and for the chance to compete … and maybe win.  I feel for all those who finished behind this racer but did not decide to cheat.

Everything about this story bothers me. And I hope it never happens again.

Until next time (when I tell the very personal story about how “it’s not a disability”) 

The information provided in Mr. Ordway’s “DID YOU KNOW” columns or Fleet Feet blog postings is not legal advice. It is provided solely for the general interest of the visitors to this website and applies to general legal principles, if at all, and may not reflect current legal developments or statutory changes in the various jurisdictions.  For these reasons, nothing herein should be relied upon or interpreted as legal advice and reading the information contained in this article does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Mr. Ordway or the Bousquet Holstein law firm. Readers of this article should not act upon any information contained in the website without first seeking the advice of legal counsel.