Wednesday 9 September 2015

Paula Radcliffe, Sky News and me

What I feared from my last blog has come true. It looks as if athletes are going to be “forced” by media (or political!) pressure to reveal their blood passport data – well every athlete who is successful in a high profile sport at least. In this context I was interviewed after Paula Radcliffe on Sky News this afternoon. When I finished the interviewer thanked me, but said it was all very complex. Such a response would normally indicate I had failed as a science communicator. In this case I think I succeeded in getting my point across. Interpreting anomalous athlete biological passport data is non trivial. That is why it requires three experts to agree in a blind test (not knowing who the athlete is). Simple analysis can work on large data sets to indicate the potential scale of a doping problem. It can’t be done to scapegoat an individual.