Few in triathlon are as respected or as articulate as Sebastian Kienle and he’s warned the Collin Chartier doping scandal risks “destroying everything in our sport”.
American Chartier was last week suspended for three years by the International Testing Agency (ITA) after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition doping test on 10 February 2023.
So many questions
The German legend, winner of both the IRONMAN World Championship and the 70.3 World Championship, was enjoying taking in some bucket list races on his farewell year in the sport… until now.
Speaking in his latest YouTube video, embedded below, he said: “A week ago I would have said I’m absolutely stoked for the next races but of course with this, it puts a bit of a shadow over it.
“I was in a really happy sort of place – happy for the next generation of athletes.
“[But] A young athlete now has questions to ask – if you now don’t believe that it’s possible to win the biggest races in the sport… how do you find motivation for that, it’s very difficult.
“I really still believe that 99% of the field are clean, I think you have to otherwise it’s very difficult but now you think it’s not just in your own hands – some people are preparing different for these races.
“It’s very difficult to prove you are a clean athlete. How do you do that?
“Doping destroys everything. This one definitely touched me a lot more.”
‘I’ll try to help and do the best I can’
And as Kienle underlines, Chartier’s actions affect not just him and the people around him, but everyone in the sport.
Kienle explained: “Now you always ask this question – is the guy in front of you not just a better athlete, but also a cheater? That destroys everything in our sport.”
And in terms of Chartier himself, who said he started using the performance-enhancing drug in November and has no plans to ever return to professional racing, Kienle added: “That’s the problem with a liar. He lied once, so is he now telling the truth? Is he telling part of the truth or is it a whole lie again?”
Kienle intends to use his position in the sport to good effect, adding: “I think the worse thing is the silence about it and people not speaking out about it.
“I’ve been very sad and angry. I feel responsible to also act – it’s not just for the young guys to do that but people like me and I’ll try to help and do the best I can.”