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Steroid scandal uncovered in intramurals

Jesse Colautti | Fulcrum Contributor

IN WHAT CAN only be described as a shocking turn of events, the Chinchilla Fury, winners of the University of Ottawa Fall 2012 Grey Division Dodgeball Intramurals, have been stripped of their championship after tests revealed five members of the team tested positive for steroid use.

The tests were implemented by Sports and Recreation Services (SRS) primarily to make sure athletes were sober for their games; however, SRS seem to have uncovered an underground network of performance-enhancing drugs. The five athletes, who tested positive for over three different types of anabolic steroids, appear to be the ringleaders in what is being called one of the largest intramural steroid distribution programs ever discovered in Canada.

The Fury have been stripped of their 50-dollar gift certificate to The Shaft Pub and will appear in a ceremonial unshaking of the hands with the convener of the league on Feb. 11. SRS have also decreed that no members of the team will be allowed to play dodgeball at the U of O again. The shamed athletes will also be forced to immediately take “Dodgeball Champions” off their resumés.

Patches O’Houlihan, head of Dodgeball Services for the university, feels this response is harsh, but necessary.

“We understand this decision has ended the promising dodgeball careers of these athletes, but that’s the risk they took when they decided to not play by the rules,” he said in a recent press conference.

“We’ve uncovered a massive network of steroid use within dodgeball leagues and it all centres around these athletes. There’s simply no room for cheating in our sport, or at this institution. Just with the magnitude of the situation, we felt we needed to come down hard on the perpetrators to not lose the public’s confidence.”

Some fans of the sport, like third-year psychology major Kristen Merzinsky, wonder if this is enough.

“I just feel totally betrayed. I’ve followed this team since their humble beginnings, from an oddball collection of out-of-shape misfits, all the way to what the world knows them as now—one of the most physically refined and intimidating dodgeball teams the world has ever seen,” she said.

“To find out that the whole time they were doping … It’s devastating,” continued Merzinsky.

“What am I going to watch now? Water polo?”

Further complicating this issue is the team’s close ties with Dodgestrong, a local charity dedicated to getting underprivileged children access to supplies and resources to begin their dodgeball careers. Daniela Guevara, a third-year conflict studies student, demands restitution for her donations to the charity—along with an apology.

“These athletes were the poster boys for the whole organization. I wouldn’t have donated $20,000 to the cause or repeatedly forwarded Dodgestrong’s chain letters to my Facebook friends if I had known about this fraud. To think I once wore a bracelet supporting those pigs,” she said.

Marcus Lankson, one of the athletes caught using the drugs, says the problem runs deeper than anyone outside the sport could imagine.

“I’d say 75 per cent of the teams we competed against were using steroids. I felt we had no chance of winning unless we started to take human growth hormones. I mean this is the fucking Grey Division intramurals we’re talking about! There’s a lot on the line.”

Lankson believes this incident shouldn’t take away from the good that has resulted from the team’s victory.

“What we were able to accomplish for the sport at the grassroots level is incredible,” he said.

“Thousands of at-risk kids now have access to the equipment needed to pursue a career in dodgeball. We’ve kept kids off the streets, and no drug scandal can take that away from us.”

What was once a story of triumph has now become one of the most infamous doping scandals of recent times. Many in the industry wonder if the effects of this drug ring will spill over into traditionally clean sports, like as baseball, football, and, of course, cycling. Questions remain unanswered, and this situation seems far from over, but one thing seems clear right now—these Chinchillas won’t be celebrating any time soon.