Friday, December 04, 2009

UPDATED: Cyclist Kenny Williams did test positive for DHEA

Earlier this month, US masters cyclist Kenny Williams admitted to testing positive for DHEA...a la Tyler Hamilton (offering a public apology, even, just like Hamilton...that must be mandatory with a DHEA positive?). This is old news, but got so little coverage in the mainstream anti-doping blogosphere (lol) that it is worth republishing here. Below is Kenny's letter:



To my friends, clients, competitors and USA Cycling officials,
     My name is Kenny Williams [Editor's note: "And I am a Drug Cheat"] and I’ve been racing my bike for 20 years. In June 2009 I broke and had surgery on my left collarbone. In my haste to return to the top of my game I purchased DHEA at the local Drug Store, without consulting anyone. 6 weeks later at Masters Track Nationals in Colorado Springs I was tested positive for this illegal drug. I do not deny the results of the test.
     I am ashamed that I’ve done something that hurts the sport of cycling and the community of people who have become the most important part of my life. I’m facing the very real possibility that I can try for the rest of my life to regain the confidence of the cycling community and my friends, but this cloud will be with me for the rest of my life. I am not asking for forgiveness, because I am admitting to my mistake and own all the horrible feelings that come with my bad decision. I am hoping for compassion and understanding. Compassion that I never intended to hurt anyone and understanding that if I could have one re-do in my life that this would be it. As I have done throughout my whole athletic life I will fight to re-gain my reputation as a fair man, tough competitor and drug-free cyclist. You can trust me when I say that I will never take a short-cut like this ever again.
     Bike racing is one of the most important things in my life, second to my wife, whom I owe the biggest apology to for being so irresponsible. I am sorry Annette. I also feel horrible about the results I took away from the other athletes that I raced against. I am very sorry to have disappointed all of them. To my sponsors and my clients, I am sorry. To all in the cycling community and my friends, I am sorry. Sincerely, Kenny Williams"


Readers, is it any surprise that doping takes place at Masters Nationals? And if Kenny only was caught because he used DHEA, which he knew to be banned, what else might he have been taking, for which he escaped detection? And should masters, who don't even have the pros' economic incentive to dope, face more severe bans (like four years)? After all, they're virtual hobbyists and yet they tarnish the sport just as profoundly as people like Hamilton, Landis, or me. But without being able to claim that they needed to do so in order to avoid the dole. Regardless, there is at least one sanctimonious master who races out of SoCal but is from "The East" who I'm sure will endeavor to devise a way to deny the fact that his fellow "competitors" can be just as juiced as the pro's, in some cases.

Anyway, see you in two years, Kenny! Way to go, USADA! I'm sure that during the next nine months there will be other masters racers turning up in the forums to offer their apologies for doping. I'd like to invite them to post here, too!

Cyclingnews.com Clinic discussion of Kenny Williams' positive test, here.

UPDATE: It's official. "Williams handed two-year ban by USADA."

43 comments:

  1. Cheers for spreading the word. This fucker has denied me a gold medal or two, and countless primes and placings. DHEA doesn't do much except mask things like steroids. Many have wondered if this guy has been dirty for years. Now the question is only just how long he's been dirty.

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  2. As a NW cyclist who has raced on and off for the last 20 years and has raced against Kenny I can assure you he has plenty of economic incentive to dope. In addition to his more recent coaching services he's always been a cash prime machine and an early adopted or eBay.

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  3. Thanks for your feedback (sorry it took a bit to get the comments moderated - our moderator was out-of-town but has been suitably reprimanded). Anyone with an axe to grind or who feels cheated out of something by Kenny (like a gold medal, a $20 prime or even a woman) is welcome here. Of course, Kenny Williams himself is welcome here, too, and he can have the floor should he wish to respond to anything said about him.

    I'd be surprised (pleasantly, though) if he did, as most guys don't take the opportunity to tell their side of the story (I mean, apart from a carefully managed PR-piece about injury recovery and all that). Anon 14:39 - I'll send you a free prize if you'll come back and repost those comments under your real name, or at least a pseudonym or something. The amount of hate mail that I received after the first announcement of my involvement in doping was shocking not so much for its bizarre anger, but more for the fact that almost all of it was anonymous.

    In fact, I think the only guy who sent hate mail with his name attached was good ol' Cale McAninch (see: http://joepapp.blogspot.com/2008/01/hate-mail.html and http://www.velonews.com/article/86104), but even then he had no credibility (and still doesn't) b/c he spent half the time insulting my family, including, I think, a dead uncle and grandmother or two.

    P-Dog: thanks for explaining your belief that Williams does/did have economic incentive to dope. I wasn't aware of his fondness for cash primes or just how lucrative his coaching business might have been.

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  4. sounds a bit like zabel,
    i dope but only once!


    hmmmmmmmmmmmm

    i didnt inhale.............
    why confess half heartedly?

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  5. Okay, I'll post non-anonymously.

    Cheers for spreading the word. This fucker has denied me a gold medal or two, and countless primes and placings. (That is true, doped or not. If not doped, good for him, but I've still been on the short end of the stick many times.)

    DHEA doesn't do much except mask things like steroids. (From what I've read, that's why anyone would take it, especially if they were "under the care of a doctor.")

    Many have wondered if this guy has been dirty for years. Now the question is only just how long he's been dirty. (When you're as good as Kenny and DON'T go pro, it makes people wonder why not.)

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  6. joe--
    kim west here. i think we had tried to get you on my radio show, "the kim west radio cycling show," last year.
    perhaps things have settled down enough that you would reconsider appearing in the coming weeks?
    i would welcome you and mr. williams as guests to discuss the pressures upon american cyclists that seem to drive a few to use performing enhancing substances, and even fewer to get caught using them.
    please contact me at kimwest@kxno.com to make such arrangements.
    you'll be interested to learn, i suspect, that last sunday's guest was tyler hamilton, in the first of what will be many appearances on my show to discuss, among other things, the use of such substances.
    take care; i trust all is well.
    --kim west,
    http://kxno.com/pages/kimwest.html

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  7. i've seen kenny a few times on the east racing. the most memorable would be at the nats in pa. he made a move that was so fierce, my eyes were sore just watching. sadly now, i have to take him off the pedestal and piss on his head.

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  8. Interesting confession..

    He admits to taking DHEA sometimes around or after June this year, and then says "I also feel horrible about the results I took away from the other athletes that I raced against"

    That doesnt sound like a "since june" comment to me.. sounds like he feels guilt that goes back a bit further than june..

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  9. The frustrations regarding prior use shown here is certainly understandable and the concerns/ questions are warranted. There is one positive thing about Mr. Williams' confession though (no pun intended): At least he isn't denying it and blaming the positive tests on anti-doping agency conspiracies or faulty tests, etc. etc. etc.

    Williams also owes an apology to those riders who raced (and gained results) WITH him in events. Now those results are tarnished as well, which is not fair to the clean teammates.

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  10. @Dim: the races Kenny refers to are the ones he did after he was caught. He popped at Nats but continued to race and win. So Kenny admitted to knowingly and intentionally taking a prohibited substance, getting caught and continuing to race as the process winds its way to his eventual suspension (keep in mind that there hasn't been an official announcement yet although word is he's getting 2 years).

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  11. Oh, gimme a break. DHEA? This substance really does nothing for enhancing performance. It can help with mood elevation and other concerns brought on by lowered testosterone production. Thereofre, it is of benefit to most people over the age of 35 or so. Tyler Hamilton wasn't taking this stuff to win the tour again. He was taking it to feel like a normal human again...one that wasn't suffering from depression. DHEA is even approved by Andy Pruitt in his book. It's a benign substance, but can be of benfit to aging people, athletic or not.

    All people bashing KW should take a step back and look at reality. Yes, there's doping on every single level of sport. DHEA should not be on any banned list because it just doesn't do anything to enhance performance. The world would be better served by banning Monster Energy Drinks..

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  12. keep up the great discussion, guys (and girls?)! doping is doping, in a sense, but it's not like he had EPO in his urine. But if he would use DHEA, what else would he use? And what else might he have been using? And for how long? Look at me - I got popped for a drug that wasn't even in my system, when four others were...and I'd been doping for years.

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  13. Do your research on DHEA, or better yet google post cycle therapy and see what DHEA does. It is the bridge for other PED's.

    DHEA is most commonly used as a bridge between or immediately following a testosterone-/steroid-doping cycle when the body's ability to produce natural testosterone is depressed. When you see athletes testing positive for DHEA, androstendione, clomid, novadex and HCG they're bridging between cycles.

    This was gleaned from another forum, I was impressed with the wording of the definition.

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  14. To the DHEA "researcher" who gets his info from Google and from other forums- please do real research and NEVER rely on forums for fact. Do so and you look like an idiot.

    DHEA is most commonly used as an anti-aging supplement and NOT as a method of doping or for "bridging" as you suggest. Theoretically, DHEA will help someone keep testosterone levels more normal if they are low. As we age, T levels decline and thus, DHEA is useful as an anti-aging supplement.

    If an athlete is using DHEA or the other subtances you mention, they might be using them for bridging and they might not. The only thing for certain is that all the mentioned substances MAY have an effect on testosterone levels through one mechanism or another.

    DHEA is not an evil and/or dangerous substance and that is why it is available over the counter. It is my opinion that DHEA should not be banned.

    Personally, I don't feel an apology like the one given by The Kenny is appropriate in this case. Seems a bit over the top. It makes me wonder if there's not alot more to the story and if maybe he wasn't on the doping radar already so to speak. But, that is pure conjecture on my part and I have no axe to grind against the guy in any way.

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  15. I raced against Kenny for several years in the Seattle area as a Cat 4, 3 and possibly 2. Here's my thoughts on this doper and butthead:

    http://chasinganationalchampionship.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/doping-finally-landed-at-my-front-door/

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  16. Whit, thanks for sharing your thoughts. For those who haven't seen his post on KW, here is an excerpt:

    "...the article about Kenny is one where he has finally admitted to using steroids and being a ‘doper’. He is–or was–a multiple national champion. I say ‘was’ as none of his races count anymore. He broke the rules and disguised his usage of performance enhancing drugs until he was caught. He cheated. He lied…let him be labeled as a ‘doper’ forever in history..."

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  17. I saw this comment in a discussion at another forum but wanted to repost it here since this site seems to be #1 for "Kenny Williams Doped."

    Since I don't know how to highlight the text you should go to the actual comment to see who is talking to who or quoting what. One thing is for sure - Kenny Williams is a muthafuckin' doper.

    http://is.gd/4UThF

    marco wrote:
    Susan Walker wrote:
    I don't get it. Why would anyone want to test masters racers for
    doping? Non-Elite racers should a) not be dope-tested and b) not get
    any prize money or salary.

    Dearest Susan: Why do you feel so strongly about this? Do you think that
    either your (a) or (b) detract in some way from Elite level racing?

    Dope testing is part of enforcing the rules of the sport. Why is that
    any different than a weekend soccer league that employs referees for
    games? The players bear the costs for referees, as it should be. The
    expense for dope testing should be borne by the categories being tested,
    through license or entry fees and perhaps as a tax on prize lists. I
    don't think most racers would object to that.

    Dope testing is different from refereeing in the degree of the expense.
    Masters racing just isn't that important. Quality dope testing doesn't
    come cheap. Masters racing doesn't justify the cost.

    Don't doubt for a minute that even the *threat* of being tested doesn't
    work as a deterrent. I know of a highly-suspect masters rider who flew
    across the country for a big race and then when he discovered that
    (surprise) testing would be done, he turned around and flew home.

    Next time you drive to a race, take note of the people that do crazy
    and dangerous stuff in order to gain an advantage on the highway. These
    are people that could kill you. Now, are you going to lose sleep over
    some douchebag that charges up for an event that emotionally balanced
    people treat as a hobby?

    For me, as I pondered this question on the way to events that I knew
    would have riders that were charging, the answer was 'no'.

    But back to Kenny Williams... In his confession letter, which he only
    wrote AFTER getting caught, he implies this was a one-time occurrence.
    Pretty hard to believe. I'm curious to hear comments from those rbr
    folks who know or knew him.

    Well, given that its the 2nd time someone in the household has been
    popped it does seem hard to believe it could be a one-time thing for
    him.

    [signed by the poster] Bob Schwartz
    -----------------------------------
    Just to make clear, I'm not Bob Schwartz, though if I was I'd wish I known how to highlight in the comments section...

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  18. Fuck Kenny Williams, doping motherfucker!

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  19. Nice constructive comments from all!

    As a WSBA Bicycle 'Racer' I have learned much from this incident:

    That it is *acceptable* to Dope, in fact after doing so and if you are caught, some will even testify that you are an honorable person. Unsure if anyone here subscribes to the WSBA mailing list (http://wsbaracing.com), but the immediate comments after the doper posted his confession, a UCI official no less pointed out that this doper is "Honorable." (Link: http://wsba.wsbaracing.com/pipermail/wsba/2009-November/001492.html)

    Thus here is my formula for compassion & honor:

    1) Learn to ride a bicycle
    2) Start entering some bicycle races
    3) Dope like crazy as a Cat 5, 4, 3, 2, etc.
    4) While doping and racing, cheat your way to some wins, and gain the admiration of local UCI official(s)
    5) Continue to dope and start your own coaching side job
    ---- Here is where a fork occurs:
    6a) Either continue to dope and collect misc primes, medals, clients, etc.
    6b) Or if you are caught doping, issue a pre-emptive 'apology' asking for honor & compassion.

    As I have learned from Kenny's antics, he was able to Dope get caught and still receive accolade from the his local clients and officials -- now that Rocks! =) As can be seen in the thread (http://wsba.wsbaracing.com/pipermail/wsba/2009-November/subject.html#start), anyone who questioned giving the doper compassion and honor was instead cut down for believing that Dopers are unfair.

    'to dope or not' as it seems besides 'anonymous internet bashers' the local WSBA gives Dopers a pass for cheating.

    --- Confused WSBA Rider

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  20. Confused WSBA Rider, thanks for taking the time to point this out...it's obvious you put some thought and effort into your formula and it serves to highlight the inconsistencies in attitudes towards doping and dopers from those w/in the cycling community.

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  21. Any agent that "modifies, stabilizes,or adjusts" our own intrinsic, genetically coded hormone levels(testosterone,HGH,erythropoetin,insulin,thyroid hormone,etc,etc) whether black market, OTC, or prescription, is a performance enhancer. How many "asthmatics" go on Medrol or some form of anti-inflammatory corticosteroid from their regular MD prior to an "A" race. These agents are often used in anti-aging clinics as they enhance performance, increase strength, reduce recovery time (and fatigue), thereby making the user feel younger. (Nothing turns back the clock) The anti aging establishment has adopted the techniques of sports "scientists" and vice versa. Most superhuman performances are just that...no one, and I mean no one, will ever freely admit to doping (or "charging" as maybe it is now called) until they're popped (and even then some will deny it straight to poverty and divorce). We all know (nod nod wink wink) it's not their first rodeo...no matter how much they protest. I can only believe the public appologies that follow a surprise positive test are directed at to the family and friends these people have lied to along the way. The list of people whose trust is betrayed gets longer and longer with each season. The sport, or any sport for that matter will have difficulty cleaning itself as long as there are people, racers, journalists, willing to blurr their analytical analysis with emotional detritus. DHEA is a performance enhancing substance, so is cortisone (whether for saddle sores or asthma or what ever)as well as androgel patches for those with "low testosterone levels" and all other substances that one may use and hide behind an excuse such as depression, hypoganadism, asthma, etc
    It's time for the sport, athletes, and fans to get real about what's going on out there in the pro, as well as the local levels. There will never be enough money to test all competitors and there will never be a test for all substances and there will always be some (alot) willing to take PED's to get the edge, even if it's only for a measly medal..."people will do anything for a T-shirt"- race promoter US national championship series off road triathlon championships. It isn't personal, its winning.
    -A tainted realist

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  22. a cursory examination of Kennys "results trajectory" would indicate either a) a lifetime of performance enhancers or b) a late career attempted stiff-arm at father time. In other words, he has a great natural ability which makes pin-pointing a doping start point next to impossible. Further, I don't think any UCI official attempted to excuse the "crime", only to remind us of Kennys positive attributes-as a counter-balance to the avalanche of negativity. I have seen him kindly speak to lesser riders and give encouragement to folks with nothing possibly to gain. Call me a sucker but I'm ready to believe him.
    ---JMwashburn

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  23. Thanks for the additional comments...interesting issues raised...keep 'em coming. Too bad Kenny hasn't seen fit to share his thoughts yet. Maybe soon?

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  24. I don't need to pile on Kenny anonymously, but...

    How about some WSBA, ORBA, USPRO and USCF folks go back and find every rider that lost a top placing to Kenny for the last 5-6 years and give Kenny the list? Cut his suspension to one year if he looks them all up one at a time and appologizes in person. Capture it on film for yet another anti-doping documentary. Even Rob might forgive a truly contrite Kenny.

    If he puts in appropriate effort, local WA cycling would welcome him back in a few years. He's a hard-ass worker, so he'll end up back at the top of the heap (clean), if he so chooses. He certainly wouldn't need dope to beat most of us!

    As for him speaking kindly to lesser riders, I'd be fascinated to know when that happened. He certainly knew most other riders were "lesser," I just didn't have the luck to see that one "kindly" moment.

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  25. I raced on the same team as Kenny for several years up in Seattle although I'm much older. I could speculate all day about prior drug use but Kenny is the only one who knows for sure when this started. Remember that he has been tested many times in his career (UCI Masters Track Champs) and has not tested positive prior to this. Which is worth more, prior test results or speculative accusations from competitors?
    Kenny has done a lot for the sport of cycling, coaching the cat 5s at Seward Park and taking an interest in all riders no matter what their level. He has fessed up and appologized but this obvioulsy isn't enough for some. I don't think a "retroactive" confession is appropriate. Kenny has been an exceptional rider all through his career. I don't condone cheating but Kenny will serve a ban from the sport he loves and this is the price he will pay. Rewriting the podium spots is a very limited exercise unless their is other hard evidence to the contrary.
    Phil H

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  26. Fair enough point of view, Phil. I don't like the notion of having to retroactively do anything that isn't required as part of the official sanction or rehabilitation processes. Anything mandated by public opinion or select pressure brought to bear by individuals not involved in the administration of a sanction or issuance of a license runs the risk of being applied selectively or inconsistently.

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  27. If you're racing Masters, by definition you're local, amateur, and athletically "old". I know that assertion isn't popular at the track, but it is empirically accurate. If you're a Master, the Pro Tour boys aren't watching your results, and they're not going to come calling. Ever. But if you have the drive and the commitment to toe the line, presumably you've also evolved into a mature, responsible, adult who values cycling as a sport, and who derives some degree of physical fitness and personal satisfaction from healthy, fair competition. Cycling is part of your life, but as a Master, that's all it is. You have familial, financial, community, and fraternal obligations, and your physical commitment is presumably balanced by intellectual and perhaps even spiritual pursuits. I actually understand the impulse for doping at the professional level - the impact of success on earning power and the short career span offer tangible temptation - but as a Masters competitor (irrespective of how good you are in your classification), what gives? Hubris? Ego? Stunted adolescent fantasy? I really don't get it. Then again, I don't understand putting a $7k racing bicycle on a credit card when a guy is 15 lbs. overweight. Kenny is the big dog at the local track, but arguing about whether he should be forgiven, suspended, relegated, etc., is irrelevant. If he loves cycling as many of the comments have asserted, then he wouldn't have doped. But he did. Move on.

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  28. Finally the USADA comes out:

    http://usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=4567

    "by Carbon Isotope Ration analysis, for an Anabolic Agent"

    Carbon Isotope Ration Analysis is used to detect synthetic testosterone, not DHEA. I wish they'd just come out and say it in plain english. Dude did test.

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  29. Personnally I would not ban Kenny. Hell if you are willing to dope as a master, you deserve to win. Like a previous "Anonymous" wrote : it's not like the pro are watching the masters...

    I would ban any person that is crying over a podium place that was taken by Kenny. Why would that bother you. I doubt Astana will be phoning you to help Alberto beat Radio Shack... (That is another story)

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  30. A couple of common sense thoughts about lessons ALL of us SHOULD have learned as we grew up, thus helping to make life better and the world a better place and avoiding problems such as Kenny now has:

    The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Greed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins (Some examples: Enron, Halliburton, Wall Street, etc.).

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  31. wow... go figure, its a masters event, why dope????????????????

    buster brown - arkansas

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  32. doping for masters racing takes lame to a new level.

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  33. "I would ban any person that is crying over a podium place that was taken by Kenny." - Anon 4dec

    LMFAO...

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  34. Bruce, thanks for your reasoned comment. You're right...following some common sense is a ready way to avoid the problems that follow a doping positive. Granted, the USPS team of the Armstrong go-go years might have a different idea of what common sense might look like when compared to what we're talking about now, but it's still a good point.

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  35. I will sign on as one of those lesser racers to whom Kenny has provided kind words, always a smile, and a man I admire. I have known him and Annette since I became a pilot for a blind yandem team back in 98. Kenny won a ton of track races and road races with his blind tandem partner. I too, drove with my guy to a national championship that year and we all represented our country at worlds in the Springs. Those who know anything about me know that I have never done anything stronger than a good single malt, and then, never to even a buzz. I am too effing crazy without help - my alpha male just has not given up. At 53 I watch world records fall in my age group every year. Some of my fellow racers take drugs and admit it to me and others. They do not feel it important at a masters level. Al of that crap notwithstanding, the doping does tarnish K Whopper's results and his image. I, for one, am perfectly willing to forgive him because of the good he has done for the cycling community and for the good he could yet do. Some people can be genuinely remorseful and make amends for their errors. I think Kenny is one of those people.

    Tony Byatt

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. Jordan, if anyone made Kenny Williams into a villain, it was Kenny Williams when he began doping (whenever that was...). And if this blog was a waste of time, you wouldn't be commenting here as a proxy for Kenny.

    It is true, however, that you don't have to be an inherently evil person to succumb to the temptation of doping.

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  38. I could give you 6 of the tops guys in the Southeast who dope in one form or another. These are guys who are @ 40 and turning sub-20 10 mile and right around 50 minute 40k TT times. It's pretty rampant, unfortunately.

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  39. Since Jordan deleted his comment, I'll reproduce it here:

    "Seriously FUCK anyone who is calling Kenny Williams out. I can't stand these personal attacks that do nothing. I understand the need for clean slow cyclists to call out any fast cyclist who is clean or doping. I think this blog is a waste of time. It's not fair to turn a decent person into a villain. I agree he made a horrible choice that degrades the sport, but I know under the the right circumstances many great people are capable of doping."
    08 December, 2009 22:02

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  40. Anon @ 07:58, you can send me that list privately, it would be appreciated: joe at joepapp dot come.

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  41. Ahh yes, back to Kenny being an "honorable" man and doing so much good for cycling in the Northwest. Do all you people that know Kenny so well remember when he'd bring his (first) wife to the saturday race and his girlfriend to sunday race? How about the married coaching clients he would become involved with romantically? (Or is only the woman the cheater since Kenny wasn't married then, only engaged?) How about his going back on the plan to split prize $$ with his guys because the "lead-out wasn't fuckin fast enough" despite the fact that Saturn of Bellevue (his team) had lined it out for the last 4 laps and Doug C. delivered him to 100 meters to go with no one on his wheel?
    So condolences to Kenny for the personal attack, but those of us that still know what the word "honor" means and care about fair play will look at your past PUBLIC behavior when we consider your USADA mandated apology. So to the likes of Jordan who say "fuck us" for the personal attacks, I say we're well within our rights to take issue with those jumping up as character witnesses for someone they really don't know that well. Kenny is (was?) a big star on the little NW cycling stage. A public figure if you will. As such there are plenty of people to jump to his defense. Fame has it's benefits. But it also has it's down-side, just ask Tiger Woods. There are many of us that care about clean cycling and the future of our sport, and we're the ones that can not sit by and say nothing while everyone sings Kenny's praises. You love him? Great! It's in your rights to say so. But some feel differently. (We don't hate him either btw.) But he cheated, and is so damaged the sport we care about and damaged his own legacy, just as anyone who's caught cheating calls into question their whole career. To Jordan I would argue that GREAT people do NOT cheat. Let's save "great" for those athletes (and coaches of juniors!) that do it by the rules. Kenny will be out of racing for 2 years. After that he'll get a chance for more masters glory. Until then I for one won't miss him a bit.

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  42. Bravo Anon 15:28, way to deliver a hay-maker blow, in the form of a very reasoned, thought-out and well-written reply. Kenny apologists, what's next?

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  43. This really bothers me, even as a UK rider where, as far I'm aware, doping at Masters level is utterly minimal. This is why it bothers me: some time later this year, my girlfriend, a good level Masters track rider, will quite likely race against Kenny Williams' wife Annette. My girlfriend is a national and European medallist in the pursuit, but every year Annette Williams wins the event at World level with times that make my girlfriend look like a beginner. Year in, year out, she absolutely thrashes good quality riders. Now, Annette may well be a super-talented rider; but, as one poster above indicated, she has form (she was popped for, I think, ephedrine a few years ago and served a short ban). Now it emerges that her husband is an established doper.

    How do you think my girlfriend and the other riders in her category feel about that? She works so hard to make the most of her talent (as I'm sure Annette does) and would dearly love to win a medal at World level (and she's capable of doing so). But now there's going to be this doubt at the back of her mind, this worrying sense that the outcome is already decided and there's nothing she can do about it. I've no idea whether Annette Williams dopes or not, but her close association with a doper and her consistently spectacular performances are enough to plant a seed of doubt. And this, too, is the damage of doping - even if it's based only on suspicion, it spreads poison through sport.

    So, to the people above who say "It doesn't matter, it's only Masters level", I say "Fuck you". It doesn't matter what level it is: there is always somebody who isn't willing to cheat who values the reward just as much as everyone who is willing to cheat. And these non-cheaters shouldn't have to miss out on the opportunity to win just because they are honest and they follow the rules. It makes a mockery of the stark and simple question that sport is designed to answer: who is the best? If you can't handle the answer to that question without resorting to performance enhancing drugs, I pity you.

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