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Trying to Make Sense of Freeman’s Suspension

2010 U.S. hammer champion Jake Freeman is currently serving a 1-year doping suspension.

Kibwé Johnson dominated the U.S. championships in the hammer throw yesterday, outdistancing America’s best hammer throwers by six meters. Behind him were two-time Olympian A.G. Kruger, former World Junior Champion Conor McCullough, and many other world-class throwers. But when the officials read through the throwing order at 4:20 in the afternoon, one big name was missing. Rather than getting reading to defend his title, former world championship competitor Jake Freeman was spending his time serving a one-year ban after testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.

This post is not a plea for Freeman’s innocence or even an attempt to get his ban overturned. There are rules, and Freeman broke them. I think Jake is a great guy, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the position he is in. It’s not just that he should have known better since THC is listed as a banned substance and everyone knows there is drug testing at the U.S. indoor nationals. It’s that Freeman DID know better since he has been in this situation before: He tested positive for the same substance at the same exact meet two years ago and served a 3-month ban after that offense. As a second offense, his ban was raised to one-year.

This post also isn’t advocating a legalization of marijuana or allowing the use of other banned substances.

Instead, this post is about why anti-doping policy even tests for marijuana in the first place. Read more

Ask Martin, Volume 2

Training has been going poorly this week, so instead of talking about that I’ll answer a few more questions I’ve received this month.

Question: What are some of the more important things that need to be done at the beginning of the throw in order to stay on balance during the throw?
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