I have been thinking about this for a couple years now…I think it is time to separate kettlebell sport into “tested” and “untested” classes (the same way powerlifting split in the 80’s. The sport has grown enough and there are plenty of competitors for the split to happen. Drug testing in kettlebell sport is a joke; hundreds of athletes going to IUKL world championships and in the three worlds I have been to I can count on two hands how many drug tests being administered, in Ireland 2015 I heard of five or six, in Kazakhstan 2016 I heard of only two and in Korea I did not hear of any testing being done. I have never once heard of OKC or KETA administering any drug tests at any of their competitions. I have only seen the AKA administer drug tests at one national championship (2015 Chicago qualifier for worlds in Ireland). Last year IGSF world championship in Greece, while I was not present I talked to several people who went and none heard of any drug testing being done.
And if you think for one second that there are no drugs in kettlebell sport you are naive and dilusional, in both pro and ammateur classes. From testosterone to Decca to Winstrol to EPO, it is all being used. (I am not going to get into the WADA ban on Mildronate, I really don’t think it helps that much, but serious PED’s that aid in recovery and help red blood cells carry more oxygen, they are being used and they absolutely do help.)
Yes, people in amateur classes are taking PED’s.
In powerlifting, when a world record is set, the athlete is tested. End of story. If you set a record you are going to pee in a cup. Male or female, lightweight or super heavyweight, both sides, all weight classes, in olympic weightlifting and in powerlifting, you are going to get tested. Why does this not happen in kettlebell sport?!
At all three IUKL world championships I have been to, I have witnessed world records set, and I have witnessed absolute records set (the absolute record is without a weight class and beats all records in all competitions from all organizations), and I never heard of a single one of those record breakers being drug tested. WHY?!
being married to a light weight female powerlifter who has set a couple of national records, being drug tested is a big thing in powerlifting. My wife competes in a tested class, she normally competes in an organization that has a tested and untested class or she competes in an organization that openly says they are drug free. We see people get tested at every meet she goes to. This is how it should be. But even with all that testing, we still hear about people entering a tested class…and failing their drug test! If you compete in a tested class and you get a random test, and you fail, you are an asshole, plain and simple. If you want to take drugs that’s fine, nobody cares, seriously, but be open about it and go compete in the untested class!
This is what needs to happen in kettlebell sport; if an organization claims to be a drug free organization then they need to be testing the athletes, or they need a tested and an untested class. I personally know of not just a couple athletes on the juice, but several, I would say close to a dozen athletes, both amateurs and professionals. It’s fine, I don’t really care as none of them are in my weight class and specializing in long cycle and a couple of them will not lift in AKA/IUKL events so I will never compete against them. And to my friends and athletes I know are using, your secret is safe, I will never out anyone.
I took a a very non-scientific poll on facebook a couple months ago where we all tried to guess the number of active kettlebell sport athletes in the USA and we came to the number of around 500, we could be way off but the number is a lot higher than most of us think it is. Now look at the previous three years of IUKL worlds with over 400 athletes competing, now think about the all the athletes form all the countries who don’t go to IUKL worlds, no we are looking at thousands of athletes all over the world. Add in all the athletes from all the other organizations, we are looking at 10,000+. Out of 10,000 athletes worldwide how many do you think are taking PED of some kind? Even if it is 1% that is 100 athletes! Look at just IUKL worlds, 400 athletes, 1% is 4. And we all know the percentage of athletes on drugs is higher than 1%. If it is 10% then we are looking at 40 athletes at worlds on drugs…and zero tests being administered.
Now here is the main page and the rules page from the 2018 Cali Open hosted by the OKC and also here is their rules/regulations page, drug testing is not mentioned on either page anywhere…
(Full disclosure, everyone who know me personally knows I have zero issue with the OKC, they run an amazing competition and I am close friends and truly love many of the athletes who usually go to the Cali Open. I have no issues with John Buckley or Nazo or anyone else who is associated with the OKC. IF you know me personally you know I speak with John and Nazo a couple times a year and we have no issues. I have nothing but love and respect for all.)
As stated earlier, the last drug test I saw administered by the AKA was at the 2015 nationals in Chicago. I saw no drug testing in 2016 or 2017.
Here are the rules and regulations form the AKA website…
Nothing stated about drug testing. But, while I cannot find it, there was drug testing mentioned in the rules for 2017 nationals, even though I did not hear of any testing being administered, I do recall reading that there would be testing done.
Here is the IUKL page with their rules and how they use WADA for drug testing…
And here is the results from 2017 worlds in Seoul South Korea…
Now normally a powerlifting meet you will actually see a (T) next to the names of athletes in the tested class. Here is an example…
And just to give you an idea of upset people are getting in the olympic lifting and powerlifting world here is Chad Wesley Smith of Juggernaut talking about the problems with USAW and how they are also lacking on drug testing of world record setting lifters.
I know I have put a bunch of links up here and a lot of information, so I will try to wrap this up. Thanks for reading along!
If you are taking drugs it’s fine, I don’t care, but just be open about it, and please stop competing against people that are not taking drugs and thinking you’re better than them, you’re not. Seriously I could care less if you’re on drugs and competing just for fun, but if you are going to IUKL worlds or IGSF worlds or KETA Grand Prix or OKC Cali Open and you are trying to win gold and you are trying to set records or you are posting your world records all over social media, and you are using drugs just be open about it.
As athletes and coaches we have the right to stand up and we should stand up and shout to these organizations that they need better drug testing, they can start with administering at least drug test, one, for real just one, maybe then people will have a little more respect for the organization and the athletes and the records being set. We need to demand better practices from these organizations. And I think it is time to split the tested and untested athletes, we have enough lifters, the sport is big enough, it is time to proclaim this organization is drug free and this one is not, or allow you athletes to register as tested or untested.