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TUEs Distracting From Issue Of Doping, Says Olympic Medalist

Olympic gold medalist Callum Skinner has remarked that the controversy over therapeutic use exemptions is a distraction in the fight against doping in sport.

The 24-year-old cyclist, who won gold in the team sprint at the Rio Olympics along with Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes and also took silver in the individual sprint, was one of the athletes whose use of TUEs was leaked by hackers 'Fancy Bears'. In 2014, Skinner was granted a TUE for the banned substance Prednisolone. He also received a TUE for Salbutamol in January 2016. Skinner said the world governing body of cycling closely examined his condition and medical requirements. The cyclist, who has suffered from asthma since childhood, has since released his medical history in the interests of being "open and honest".

The Scottish sprinter, having been in the British Cycling Senior Academy since 2010, won two team sprint gold medals at UCI Track Cycling World Cup events and a gold medal at the UEC European Track Championships. Skinner is also the winner of four titles at the 2014 British Cycling National Track Championships.

Skinner said therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) have started to gain a bit of a bad name for something that is really about athlete welfare. The British track cyclist added we are generally getting a bit distracted by TUEs and added we have far bigger challenges in terms of anti-doping with out-of-competition testing.

Skinner also went on to praise three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Skinner remarked Chris is a really experienced athlete and rejected a TUE to treat a medical condition during his 2015 Tour win on moral grounds. Skinner added Froome obviously knows his body really well so he wouldn't be surprised if he and others have inadvertently turned down TUEs - not because of the stigma attached to them, but because it is just not a method that works for them.

Born in Glasgow, Skinner was national youth champion in 2008 and broke the British 200 m record for his age group of his idol Chris Hoy. Skinner was the inaugural winner of the Chris Hoy Trophy and received the award from Hoy himself. He finished fourth while representing Scotland in the team sprint at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Skinner again represented Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and came to limelight at the 2014 British National Track Championships where he won a clean sweep of four national sprint titles. Skinner won gold in the men's team sprint at the 2016 Summer Olympics along with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny, setting an Olympic record of 42.440 in the final against New Zealand. Skinner was beaten 2–0 in the men's individual sprint by defending champion Jason Kenny in an all-British final.

Hackers 'Fancy Bears' also recently released medical records of Bradley Wiggins, Britain's most decorated Olympian. Wiggins had therapeutic use exemptions for a banned steroid before major races. The TUEs of Wiggins were approved by British authorities and cycling's world governing body the UCI and it does not appear that he or Team Sky have broken any rules.

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Albert Wolfgang
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