Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Igor Grinko - Chinese Olympic Coach - Redux

I blogged the other day about the article in The New York Times written by Juliet Macur about Igor Grinko and the Chinese Olympic Rowing Team.

I received several comments, including one from Igor, himself - and it is incumbent on me to post Igor's response.

Igor's post is below. Please remember that Igor's first language is Russian - so there are a few typos.

"Some friends sent me your article. I think it's stupid what is you writing there together with Mike Teti about East Germany I mean system for selection and training, not drugs. For my 14 years work with US is any athletes can say I offer drugs to him or her. You just lying. When we trained in Switzerland I called just asked if they can offer something for recovery very natural. Shame on you Mary. I quarantee my Chinese rowers all clean and just training better."

For the record, Igor has coached several world championship winning teams - and frankly, I was not among the best athletes he ever coached. Igor was always honest with me about that fact and I always respected him for that. On a personal level, Igor always had a dry sense of humor about us, and about himself.

My blog was primarily focussed on how much money China is spending to support its athletes, which I think the US ought to be doing. It comes as no surprise to me that a well-funded system in China produces crews that are clocking the rest of the world. In fact, the Chinese are light years ahead of the US in terms of athlete development and support. And Igor's comment that they are training better - this very well may be true.

My blog posting did not say that Igor would cheat. Igor is driven to win - and will take every competitive advantage that he can. That being said, I will take him at his word.


Anonymous said...

Being foreign, I think Igor will never gain the complete confidence of the Chinese authorities, however. He will not know if there is clandestine enhancement supplements going around his station in the chain of command. This is a cultural thing, and I believe that a previous NYT article quoted a Chinese official implying that doping, per se, was not what was going on, but that other activities were.

Nick said...

Unfortunately, the anonymous poster @9:20 brings up an example of what is too often the case, in many national sports. Given the desire of the athletes to win (and, in many ways, become national heroes) and with such a rigorous training regime, it is certainly possible that something could circulate among the rowers without the coaches' knowledge. not saying this is necessarily the case, of course. i have rowed for hartmut and can vouch for his honesty and pragmatic approach to training, though i don't know igor personally. nonetheless, i will be cheering for the chinese come august.

javieth said...
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