Should 90-year-old lose world record for eating tainted meat? USA Cycling loses its marbles

Carl Grove was stripped of his national title after testing positive for the metabolite epitrenbolone, USADA said.Carl Grove was stripped of his national title after testing positive for the metabolite epitrenbolone, USADA said.

The sport of cycling, like the nation of Germany, is rightfully ashamed of its doping history. But that has led to some crazy superstrict policies. One has gotten a lot of attention: the loss of an M90 world record in the 2-kilometer individual pursuit at the unfortunately named Masters Track National Championships. (My local paper reported the case without mentioning the sport!) Carl Grove of Indiana, the gent who accepted a public warning, apparently ate contaminated meat the night before his July WR.

USA Cycling drug-tests everyone who sets a world record.

The Guardian newspaper said: “Grove told the Associated Press this week that he believes taxpayers’ money would be better spent on catching more serious offenders. “Us old guys are kind of like peanuts. I think that they’re wasting their time,” he said. “What can I gain at 90 years old doing drugs? Tell me, I just don’t know. So I think that somewhere there ought to be a cutoff and they ought to zero in on the stuff that is done for money reasons or whatever it may be. But I think after 65 or 70, you know, they ought to just give up.”

My thought exactly. Which is why I posted this comment on Facebook: “I saw this days ago and laughed. Nobody at this age should be subject to drug-testing humiliation and shame. Luckily, he got off with a warning. But what nonsense that he be subject to doping control.”

Eddie Seese replied: “what’s the next exception? Should I get an exception since I take testosterone to keep my levels in band so I can recover from daily life, stay a man, keep my energy level, and maintain a sex drive?”

To which I parried: “Slippery slope arguments don’t impress me. NRA uses them too. Also anti-LGBT folks (man-on-dog fears)”

But the biggest hoot came from USADA chief Travis Tygart, who was quoted as saying: “Under the sport’s rules, and track and field has a similar rule, in order for a world record to be ratified, the individual who broke the record has to be tested. If you look at [Grove’s] testing history on our website, you can see we’ve tested him, it looks like, six times now dating back to 2012. All of these have been because he’s set a world record.”

Rex Harvey, our national masters chair, told me: “He is definitely wrong about Masters Track & Field testing all world record (setters). They do not.” But later he said: “If that is cycling’s rule, and I understand it is, then of course they have to test him.”

So that’s how USA Cycling rolls. Glad we’re not that anal.

On Facebook, I was asked what age should be the end of masters track drug-testing. I suggested 85 (with an exception carved out for me at 65 this summer.)

But what do you think?

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

11 Comments on "Should 90-year-old lose world record for eating tainted meat? USA Cycling loses its marbles"

  1. If we are going to have world records in this age category we should probably test. If we do not test we are de facto saying: “Who cares about these old folks, let them do what they want to do”. That would be kind of ageist. BTW. where can I buy that steak stuffed with steroids 😉 ?

  2. Michael Walker | January 10, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Reply

    I think that he claimed that it was contaminated meat and/or something in his supplements. When you buy the “supplements” do they come with a list of excuses to use when you fail the drug test?
    I agree with Milan. If you test for one age group, you have to test all of them. Would also like to know where to buy the meat & “supplements”.

  3. Per USADA, this M90 WR holder tested positive for two different banned substances on the same day! Epitrenbolone was in contaminated meat and clomiphene was in a supplement, but was not listed on the label. WOW!…LOL!

  4. You three previous posters need to have your heads slammed against the wall to knock some sense into you, just like Travis Tygart of USADA wants to do. Here’s a Tygart quote from an excellent NY Times article that you can find online. “Cases like this make bang our head against the wall….They’re not right.” Grove tested negative the day before the race! He tested positive after the race in the most miniscule amount imaginable for epitrenbolone. He did NOT test positive for clomiphene (JStone, reading comprehension is not your strong point). What does this mean? Contamination cases are more common than you are willing to admit, in both meat and supplements. The USADA policy needs an overhaul, per the admission of USADA’s CEO. And people like you who act like this is all an opportunity to point fingers, laugh, and paint all positives with a guilty brush are pitiful.

  5. Happily you don’t need meat or supplements.

  6. Michael Walker | January 12, 2019 at 9:09 am | Reply


    You sure get worked up. While I don’t agree with the current program, it is the set of rules that we have to follow. Yes, it is possible that Mr Grove failed because of contaminated meat or an unknown substance put in his “supplements”. What I pointed out was his excuses were exactly like everyone at every level that has failed a drug test. It is still our responsibility over what we personally eat or take. Blaming others won’t fix that.

  7. Mr. Walker – it is your not-so-veiled shaming of this person I find distasteful. IF YOU READ THE NY TIMES ARTICLE you’ll find that he was entirely not at fault, the USADA CEO knows and states he is not at fault, yet you and other posters ridicule him. Go read it and be better informed before you post such damning comments. It is not just “possible” that he failed because of contaminated meat – USADA itself accepts and acknowledges that as the truth and the CEO says their rules need to be changed. Your posts are nothing but inflammatory trolling.

  8. Michael Walker | January 12, 2019 at 11:25 am | Reply

    I said in my last post that I believe the system needs to be fixed and do believe that we should work to get changes made. That said, what do we do in the mean time? Is it ok to ignore the rules? My feeling is that an open discussion of different opinions is actually good and have no problem with your voicing your opinion.

  9. Dear Anonymous,

    It’s actually pitiful that athletes and gym rats of all ages and abilities are using supplements to enhance performance. Apparently, proper diet, pragmatic science based training, and natural talent is just not enough for far too many people.

    With regard to contaminated supplements, it is common knowledge that many of the supplements that are touted as non-drug, natural muscle enhancers, and/or T-boosters, actually contain banned substances. Also, in some cases supplement companies are being run by convicted steroid dealers.

    With all that is known about contaminated supplements, why would anyone take them? Maybe it is because they are trying to enhance performance and they do not care what they put into their bodies as long as it works!

  10. This case is probably the perfect storm of positive drug tests. Every factor that could come together to make the issue controversial has occurred in this story. 90 year old guy, test clean on the 10th, positive on the 11th, and the explanation is the go to defense of every athlete who gets caught, tainted meat, contaminated supplements.

    I believe the guy is probably innocent based on the two tests and the very low levels of drug present. But I also feel the ‘punishment’ is fair, no ban but the results from that day are forfeit. The problem is the same standards used to control PED use at elite Olympic levels are also used for all competitions. For many of us these competitions are more recreational than elite.

    I feel there should be relaxed standards for athletes above a certain age and very small (stress very small) traces of substances that could well have come from contamination should not be cause for disqualification. Secondly, some medicines (blood pressure?) are banned, not because of the performance effects but rather they could be masking agents. This list ought to be reviewed given the number of masters on medication. Thirdly, TUEs should be easier to obtain for a master athlete. The current system is out of reach for all but Olympians.

    Obviously none of this will happen as the resources and cost required to produce what would be a parallel system is just not available.

  11. Weia, the injustice of this case has nothing to do with meat or supplements. You are totally missing the point. As are JStone, Michael Walker, and Milan.

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