The Triathlete Hour Podcast: Starky Explains How Pneumonia Got Him a Doping Sanction
The popular Ironman champion and uber-biker never holds back with his transparency, honesty, and challenges he's overcome.
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This week’s conversation has a been a little while in the making. We’re talking to the one, the only Andrew “Starky” Starykowicz. The popular athlete was the first American to break 8 hours in an Ironman and is known for his blistering bike splits, but maybe most importantly he’s also known for his openness and for always saying what he thinks.
In December, it was announced that Starky had received a 13-month sanction from Ironman for using a banned inhaler after getting pneumonia—and much of our conversation today is understandably about the circumstances around his use of the prescribed inhaler and how the process worked, or didn’t, for him.
You can read more about the fight over the sanction here.
It’s important to note that Ironman has said they followed all rules and regulations laid out by the World Anti-Doping Agency and by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
It’s also important to note that no one involved is disputing the basic facts of what happened: Starky got pneumonia and was prescribed an inhaler in order to recover from the illness, and then raced Ironman Florida. No one appears to think or suggest that he was attempting to cheat. What is at question is if the letter or the spirit of the rules were broken, and if the process worked the way it’s supposed to. He can explain in his own words in this episode.
As promised in the episode, we’re including more links for information on the sanction and process:
- Starykowicz’s blog post announcing the sanction and his release of transcripts from the hearing
- Ironman’s statement on the sanction
- The Court of Arbitration for Sport decision
- The arbitrator’s November 2020 decision under Ironman’s anti-doping program
- The PTO’s statement
- Ironman’s response
This episode is sponsored by the New York City Triathlon. Visit nyctri.com for more information about the race and entering the lottery.