Nick Place
at the Crikey sports desk


, yesterday: World champion
swimmer Ian Thorpe, sniffly and red-eyed, pulls out of the Commonwealth Games
because of bronchitis. The condition won’t go away because Thorpe
can’t, or won’t take prescription drugs that any of us mere mortals would go to
the local chemist for, to fight the condition. Why? Because those prescription drugs may
include banned substances, according to The List, and Thorpe wasn’t about to
chance his career.

Sydney, yesterday: Australian
Sports Drug Agency boss Richard Ings announces that every Australian athlete
competing at the Commonwealth Games would have been tested at least once before
Melbourne2006 even begins. Between October and December, the ASDA
performed 1695 tests. With 1338 performed out of competition, Ings said 10 had
returned a positive result and there was one case of “failing to comply”. You can bet that there will be positive
findings during the Games as ASDA officials and the bodily fluids of cheating
athletes duke it out among the test tubes.

San Francisco, yesterday: A Sports Illustrated
exclusive reveals a new book by two San
Francisco Chronicle
reporters, covering the ongoing BALCO drugs distribution
scandal, alleges almost infeasible steroid-use by record-breaking Giants batter
Barry Bonds. The book, Game of Shadows, alleges that Bonds started by injecting Winstrol,
a powerful steroid, into his buttocks in 1998 and then moved on to any
performance-enhancing drug that wasn’t nailed down, even shrugging off the idea
of using steroids in cycles, as most athletes do, to minimise the harmful
effects. reports:

The authors
write that by 2001, when Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single-season home-run
record (70) by belting 73, Bonds was using two designer steroids referred to as
the Cream and the Clear, as well as insulin, human growth hormone, testosterone
decanoate (a fast-acting steroid known as Mexican beans) and trenbolone, a
steroid created to improve the muscle quality of cattle.

Depending on
the substance, Bonds used the drugs in virtually every conceivable form:
injecting himself with a syringe or being injected by his trainer, Greg
Anderson, swallowing pills, placing drops of liquid under his tongue, and, in
the case of BALCO’s notorious testosterone-based cream, applying it topically.

Thorpey and the other Commonwealth games
athletes would be entitled to believe that, if true, the revelations should be
catastrophic to Bonds’s on-going career, right? Coming back from multiple knee
surgery, the big-swinger will be forced from baseball in disgrace, right? A gaggle of reporters gathered by his
locker yesterday at pre-season training and asked if Bonds was concerned about
the explosive book? “Nope,” he replied. “I won’t even
look at it. For what? I won’t even look at it. There’s no need to.”

Well, that’s the end of that then.
Batter up…