Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Emilio Sanchez Vicario - The Four C's Are Our Magic Potion

The following is an English translation of an open letter sent by Emilio Sanchez Vicario to Yannick Noah in response to Noah's comments about Spanish players and what he called a "magic potion".

Translation credit at the end of the article.

They´re special, same as you were

Dear Yannick,
I write to you as a tennis player and friend, but I could also do it as the President of the Athletes’ Association of Spain, and the content of this letter would be very similar.

When I heard your inappropriate statements, I thought that probably your words were taken out of context, or that they were said in the heat of the moment. However, when I saw that the statements were from an article which was thought, written and sent from you to a newspaper for publishing, I felt a profound disappointment. You have hurt the Spaniards, the athletes and me; I think it is not fair to discredit the triumphs of Spanish athletes by treating them all as cheaters. You, who always defended sportsmanship! Is this a sportsman’s behavior? I don’t think we deserved it.

You and I competed together, we are friends and we have even discussed this topic at some dinner. The truth is that I am still stunned, you give to understand that being physically strong or having a privileged body is because of taking magic potions. Then, those who competed with you, what should we think? We had before us a much stronger and athletic player, faster, more explosive, and we thought: “he is the Great Yannick, pure talent, naturally strong, how lucky he is”. We never thought that you had the potion of Asterix.

What we do have in Spain, and you were a great paradigm of this, is that we have channeled the energy to create the best means to compete, and this goes beyond tactics and technique. These four factors are the head (cabeza), the condition (condición), the heart (corazón) and the balls (cojones). If you channel these four factors, it appears this energy that makes the difference. This Spanish four Cs, the four principles of the great Severiano Ballesteros, is what today leads most of Spanish athletes. This is our potion, dear Yannick.

I take this opportunity to tell you that Spain began sports competition in a continuous manner 30 years ago, the same stage where we improved as a country and got to the level of Europe. This social improvement gave us the confidence to believe more in ourselves and to be able to believe in our four Cs, mainly due to the hunger for successes not achieved before. The success in sports of Spain has been a process in which each generation has overcome the previous one, but not an overnight success as you declare.

For example, talking about our sport, tennis, where Spain leads the circuit, my generation was followed by the one of Bruguera, who won two Roland Garros. Then it came the generation of Corretja and Costa, surpassing the success of the previous one, and then the one of Moya, who achieved the number one position of the world for a few weeks, followed by Ferrero, who managed to be a solid number one.

Next it came the generation of Nadal and all the other great players we have in the top 100, which have been inspired by the previous generations and have surpassed them. The same has happened with other sports, like soccer or basketball, in which we have been gradually improving. You, who understand about soccer, can see that our players win because of their game, but not because of physical power. The same happens with our basketball players, who do not have the athletic body of your son, but they ended up beating him in the final. An exceptional generation, as Spain has in basketball, is not made overnight, indeed this is the fourth generation that succeeds. Slowly and progressively we have most of our national team playing at the NBA.

We all know that our Rafa, the only one with an outstanding physical condition, very similar than yours, wins because he channels better than anyone else the four Cs. The great champions do not win because of magic potions, they win because they are special and are able to create this unique energy, just as you did. 
Traducción de Alex Costa

Others have also commented. When there is a translation involved I've done some slight editing that will be shown in parentheses.

Christophe Rochus:

Yes, it(he) only tell the truth ... If you remember, there are two or three years, I also stated that there were doped on the circuit, which had incurred the wrath of ATP. But we must stop the hypocrisy. It's not just the Spanish who are the top-level sport. And why are they suddenly all before today? Let's stop pretending to believe in clean sport is everything. We must empower athletes because, after doping, there is a real danger.

The FFT French Tennis Federation issued the following statement that was posted by ESPN.

"The French Tennis Federation wishes to express its disagreement with regards to the comments made by Yannick Noah," the FFT said in a statement Tuesday. "Faced with the scourge of doping, accusations without proof and provocative comments are inappropriate."
There is also this comment by Andy Miah of the University of the West in Scotland.

"The doping is a disturbing dogma, that leaves little room for serious debate on the ethical practices of elite sport. Those who issue a contrary view are disliked by the sports world," observes Andy Miah, professor at the University of the West of Scotland.For this researcher Ethics and Emerging Technology, author of "The Olympics", "it is time for what is said is heard: the fight against doping is broken."
No one is mentioning the fact that Major League Baseball is going to start testing for HGH (Human Growth Hormone) or that if the Pod that briefly, and I mean briefly, made news during the US Open provides what was called "blood doping" a lot of this will become moot. How do you test for the effects of using a pod?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I find it odd that all of the uproar comes when a non Northern European country is dominating tennis and many sports dear to Europe. The revelation of the active coverup of Andre Agassi's use of illegal drugs was met with mild outrage and much less drama among the tennis "media".

Don't get me wrong. Use of PED's, chemical or not, is not within the spirit of competition on any level, professional or amateur, and where it is found should be exposed and punished.

It's going to be interesting to see if this story has legs or like the contretemps of the summer be allowed to fade away.


Special mention must be made of the blog TennisHasASteroidProblem where more extensive commentary on this topic can be found. I don't agree with what they seem to be implying by the tennis players pictures featured on the site but for this subject they've done a good job of putting all the information in one place. Internal links referenced here can be found at that site.

1 comment:

Karen said...

While I do not necessarily agree with a whole country being accused of doping, the fact remains that Spain has not done enough in terms of their outward signs of doping control. When Spain uses its lawmakers to enact legislation that protects doping, then they put themselves in the firing line for these accusations to be made.

It is disheartening that when one world champion after another is found to be using performance enhancing drugs and then the governing sporting body in Spain finds them not guilty as a result of tainted meat or some other silly reasoning.

It does not help that the face of Spanish sport, Rafael Nadal, is seen out and about with Contador during the height of his doping scandal.

As we say in Jamaica "show me your friends and I tell you who you are". Nadal's PR team should never have allowed Nadal to be seen with Contador, especially at that time. Sends the wrong message.