Katinka Hosszu Responds to Doping Allegations, Mulls Legal Action

Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu has made her first public response to allegations by Casey Barrett that she is using performance enhancing drugs, despite what he says is “no proof.” Barrett’s piece was posted on SwimmingWorldMagazine.com last week.

At a press conference on Monday, Hosszu read from a statement approved by her attorneys. The same statement was published on the Hungarian Swimming Association’s Facebook page both in Hungarian, and then in English. The full statement from the Facebook page, along with a video of her press conference (in Hungarian), is below.

Katinka Hosszu, defends doping allegations, press conference

Hosszu’s statement does not discuss a specific legal action, she closes that she “will continue to focus on swimming and my legal team will have more to say to Swimming World and Mr. Barrett at the appropriate time.”

Throughout her statement, Hosszu denies the use of any “illegal means as an explanation for (her) success.”

Casey Barrett is a 1996 Canadian Olympian. For the last year, Barrett has been writing for a documentary about the East German systematic doping at the 1976 Olympics.

Hosszu, who owns neither a long course World Record or an Olympic medal, is one of the most accomplished swimmers in the world all-told, and is the defending long course World Champion in the 200 and 400 IM’s, as well as the short course World Champion in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, along with the 100 and 200 IM’s.

Hosszu has become well-known for entering significant event lineups at various regular-season meets, and has become the winningest swimmer in the history of FINA’s World Cup circuit.

Hosszu has never had a positive test for a banned substance or method as defined by the World Anti-Doping Code.

While Hungary does not publicly post doping test numbers, Hosszu was tested 14 times in-competition by FINA, the world governing body for aquatic sports, in 2014. That was more than anybody else in the world, primarily due to the sheer number of races she swims offering more opportunities for testing.

Hosszu was also tested by FINA 3 times in 2014 in unannounced, out-of-competition tests, all of which came prior to the 2014 European Aquatics Championships. FINA is one of many organizations that may have conducted anti-doping controls on Hosszu throughout the year.

SwimSwam contacted Casey Barrett for comment. He has not responded.

Hosszu’s Statement, Courtesy MUSZ:

English translation, also provided by MUSZ, is below.

Hosszú Katinka nyilatkozata

Üdvözlök mindenkit. Azért kértem ennek a sajtótájékoztatónak az összehívását, hogy válaszoljak a Swimming Worldben megjelentekre, amelyek azt próbálják sugalmazni, hogy illegális módszerek segítenek az eredményeim elérésében, ezek állnak a sikereim mögött.
Úgy döntöttem, nyilvánosság elé állok, hogy visszautasítsam ezeket a teljesen alaptalan vádakat, így a szurkolóim és az egész úszóközvélemény egyértelműen meggyőződhet arról, hogy mindaz, ami a szörnyű gyanúsítgatásokban szerepel, teljesen idegen a személyiségemtől, az értékrendemtől, a versenyszellemtől.
Hatéves koromtól úszom versenyszerűen – az, hogy nagyszerű sikereket értem el imádott sportágamban, egyszerre köszönhető a kemény munkának, a kiváló edzésmódszereknek, valamint a családom, a barátaim és a szponzoraim támogatásának.
Nem tudok eléggé hálás lenni honfitársaim, szurkolóim és a Magyar Úszó Szövetség kiállásáért – és azt kérem, továbbra is legyenek mellettem, különösen most, hogy Casey Barrett azt írta, a teljesítményem egyedüli magyarázata a doppingolás lehet.
Azt mindenesetre itt és most kijelentem, hogy a megfelelő időben és helyen személyesem fogom megmondani Mr. Barrett-nek: súlyosan tévedett, durván megsértett – és ezzel együtt a sportnak is kárt okozott. Vádjai teljesen hamisak, azt pedig maga is beismerte, hogy semmiféle bizonyítékkal nem rendelkezik. És soha nem is fog, hiszen már maga a sztori alapfeltételezése sem helytálló. Soha nem szedtem teljesítménynövelő szereket, és szentül vallom, nincs az a pénz, hírnév, nincs az a győzelem, ami visszaigazolná: megérte eladni a lelkemet.
Teljesen idegen tőlem a csalás. Viszont az is, hogy egy vállrándítással intézzem el, ha egy általam egyáltalán nem ismert illető megpróbálja tönkretenni a hitelességemet, a saját önző érdekei miatt.
Hadd osszak meg önökkel egy igen fontos részletet: a cikk megjelentétésével kapcsolatba hozhatók közül soha, senki, semmilyen formában nem keresett meg sem engem, sem az edzőimet a publikálás előtt. Nem érdeklődtek az edzésmódszereimről, hogy hány órát töltök naponta a medencében, milyen az étrendem, milyen szigorú szabályrend szerint táplálkozom, kizárandó annak a lehetőségét, hogy bármilyen tiltott szer a szervezetembe kerüljön.
Csakhogy úgy fest, léteznek ma olyanok, akik számára a tények nem számítanak. Nekem viszont számítanak, és számítaniuk kell Önöknek, Nektek is.
Rendkívül nagyraértékelem a családom, a barátaim, a szponzoraim, versenyzőtársaim és szurkolóim kiállását – azt akarom, hogy mindenki tudja: semmi sem jelent nekem annyit, mint a ti fantasztikus támogatásotok.
Én magam továbbra is az úszásra koncentrálok – az ügyet pedig immár egy jogászokból álló csapat viszi tovább, ők beszélgetnek el a Swimming Worlddel és Mr. Barrett-tel a megfelelő időben.

Fotók: Szaka József

A nyilatkozat angol nyelven

Statement of Katinka Hosszu

Good afternoon to everyone. I have called today’s conference to address the recent
suggestion in the Swimming World article that my performances in competition
have been aided by illegal means as an explanation for my success. I have decided
to confront these false accusations now so that my fans and the swimming
community clearly understand that I deny these hurtful allegations as false and as
entirely inconsistent with my character, my belief system, and the spirit of
competition.
I have been swimming in competition since the age of 6–through a combination of
hard work, excellent coaching, and the support of my family, friends, and sponsors,
I have achieved a great amount of success in the sport I love. I genuinely
appreciate the great support of my countrymen, fans, and the Hungarian Swimming
Federation and continue to ask for your support even in the face of, and especially
in the face of the allegations of Casey Barrett that the only explanation for level of
my performances is that I am doping. And I will tell you now what I will tell Mr.
Barrett directly at the appropriate time and place—he is wrong, he has hurt me, and
in doing so has also hurt the sport. His allegations are false, and as he admits, he
has no proof because there is no proof. There will never be any proof because the
premise of the story is false. I have never taken performance enhancing drugs and
in my mind no amount of money or fame could justify selling my soul simply to
win.
It is not in my character to cheat–nor is it in my character to allow someone I don’t
know and have never even met to attempt to destroy my reputation, apparently for
his own selfish reasons. Here is something that I want for you to understand—
nobody associated with this article ever contacted me or my coaches prior to it
being published or even to this point in time to discuss my training methods, the
hours I spend in the pool or my schedule, my diet, or the strict safeguards we have
in place to ensure that I don’t mistakenly ingest any supplement or compound that
is suspect or banned. In this day and age, facts apparently don’t matter to some
people, but they matter to me. And they should matter to you.
To my family, friends, sponsors, fellow competitors and fans I appreciate your
confidence and I want for you to know that nothing means more to me than your
ongoing support. I will continue to focus on swimming and my legal team will
have more to say to Swimming World and Mr. Barrett at the appropriate time.

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Markster
6 years ago

I don’t believe this. Anytime a female swimmer gets some defined muscles and great times doping allegations are to follow. I doubt she is guilty of this. The 14 unannounced drug tests last year speak for themselves.

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  Markster
6 years ago

Why don’t you read the article more carefully. She was tested 14 times in competition and those aren’t exactly a surprise because it’s a given you’ll be tested at competitions. She was tested 3 times completely unaccounced. As far as my opinion, I’m not sure what to think.

Admin
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
6 years ago

Just to make sure what we’ve written above is clear, FINA tested her 14 times in competition (which, as SWIMGUY pointed out, are pretty well expected), and three times out of competition. That does not mean that these were the only 17 times she was tested in 2014, just the only 17 times that she was tested by FINA. There are many different testing organizations who have the right to test an athlete.

mcgillrocks
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
6 years ago

If I understand correctly, FINA tested her 3 times, but the Hungarian sports authorities may have tested her additional times but don’t publish their test dates, and frequencies.

At least that’s what I got from the article.

anon
Reply to  Markster
6 years ago

Just playing the devil’s advocate – I feel like passing 14 drug tests, irregardless of whether they are unannounced or not, has lost its significance. Lance Armstrong passed 100’s of drug tests – what is to say she isn’t doing the same? I don’t know enough about Katinka to form an opinion about whether or not she is using illegal substances, but the “I’ve passed countless drug tests” defense is no longer credible. Here’s to hoping that she is clean! She certainly is wonderful to watch swim. I couldn’t imagine loading up the schedule she repeatedly swims at meets!

Cayley Guimarães
Reply to  anon
6 years ago

She is NOT using this line of reasoning. She NEVER mentioned the tests… The article mentioned the tests….

Jet
Reply to  anon
6 years ago

Lance didn’t “pass” hundreds of drug tests. He was caught more than once and bought his way out. He intimidated anyone who couldn’t be bought and did his best to terrorize anyone and everyone who spoke the truth about his PED use. Armstrong is a remorseless sociopath, a fraud whose lies continue to hurt innocent athletes. What he did has nothing to do with who Katinka is or does.

I don’t have a much higher opinion of Casey Barrett. And people who so cavalierly jump on the smear campaign without the need for any evidence before judging and dishonoring don’t consider or care what that means if the accused is innocent. You all make me sick. Too easy to ruin… Read more »

Petula
Reply to  Jet
4 years ago

It is really sad that as of today someone just comes out and say crap and that is valid and taints reputations of hard workers. They could destroy her career just by falsely accusing her. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Also, no Mr. Barret mentions Phelps or any gigantic western swimmer as a possible cheater. Is this some sort of institutionalized racism? Only non-western are the dopers?

He was very, very unfortunate in this whole thing. Katinka is fantastic, like many athletes before her and many others after her.

As for what someone mentioned for Armstrong, it is very right. The whistleblower that talked about him back in the days was destroyed. No one ever believed him and… Read more »

Markster
Reply to  Markster
6 years ago

My mistake, she was tested 3 time unannounced and 14 times in competition. I realize that her circumstances and the thought has crossed my mind. But until there is an ounce of hard proof I will give her the benefit of the doubt

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  Markster
6 years ago

Yeah. So people stop down voting my comment lol.

coacherik
6 years ago

Your move SWM and Mr. Barrett. Your move…

Noel G
Reply to  coacherik
6 years ago

Pretty sure they made their move already!

coacherik
Reply to  Noel G
6 years ago

I am referring to defending their posting of the opinion piece, maybe an explanation? Mr. Barrett at the time of posting this article had not yet responded. She’s mulling legal action, they could have a response to that, like “good luck” or “sorry, not sorry”, I don’t know…

Mimi
Reply to  Noel G
6 years ago

Yes they did, they shut off the comment section concernings the Hosszu problem 🙂

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Mimi
6 years ago

Indeed, they shut off comments saying the thread had gone off topic. Not good!

Dorina
Reply to  Mimi
6 years ago

It blows my mind… First they write a very disputable opinion piece and then they close their comments section so that readers can’t write their opinion on that “nice piece” of writing. That’s the way to go, long live democracy!

James
6 years ago

Sorry if none of the current drug testing procedures give me a full degree of confidence. Doesn’t mean they are all guilty, just that those that cheat at this level are really good at doing it. They know how, when, and what quantity to use. This isn’t bodybuilding in the 1970’s – anyone doping today has a highly sophisticated program in place mostly to help aid in recovery and training. They are shooting up something in the warm up room at World Championships.

Donald Fagen
6 years ago

While there’s no “proof”, there are a few issues to consider.
1. She races at a high level on a year round basis. She can seemingly race anytime, anywhere and produce high quality marks. Seems to run contrary to other elite swimmers who have meets where they are clearly in a heavy training cycle, followed by a peak.
2. Her ability to recover and race again and again is probably the most compelling argument that she is not following the rules. The doping allows one to recover quickly, which allows a user to train at a higher level than normal…which leads to better racing performances. To me, this is the biggest red flag.
3. Her history of… Read more »

Look Haaaarder
Reply to  Donald Fagen
6 years ago

Like Rafiki says, look haaaaaaarder. Hosszu’s marketing team has done a great job of convincing us that she swims super fast all the time and thats probably backfiring here. But, when you look closer at her results, she routinely “lays an egg” in certain races at these meets, posts a bad time at the end of an “unbelievable” session. She didn’t final at the European Championships last year in the 50 back. She swam 2:20 in the 200 back semi-finals and missed finaling by 8 seconds. Sure, she had 9 prelims swims, but only 6 finals swims. 6 finals swims? Is that really extraordinary? Can name a lot of Americans who have swum 6 finals at Worlds…………………………….

ozsu
Reply to  Donald Fagen
6 years ago

Being as dominant as Ledecky is or especially winning 8 gold medals at a single Olympic Games is a little more suspicious to me than any of the issues you mentioned about Katinka. Just to be clear, I do not think Phelps or Ledecky cheated, but it’s an interesting comparison. Katinka might have had some unbelievable swims but so did other superstars of our sport. The difference is that she is not american…

Petula
Reply to  ozsu
4 years ago

I agree 100%.
yesterday she even gave up one event to focus on her medley. And despite that phenomenal result she was being caught on at the very end.

Dorina
Reply to  Donald Fagen
6 years ago

Still, I would be more suspicious of swimmers you do not hear from for a whole period of time, who go to a big meet and swim a world record all of a sudden. You can be sure that those people get hardly tested if at all out of competition. At least with Katinka you can see her progression through the year and can also see that her form peaks at/around top meets, and because she is racing that much, she really does not know when she will get tested…
Armstrong had a few big races per year, so he could be pretty sure of the testing periods (it blows my mind that he still had blood transfusions during… Read more »

Atamkovitch
Reply to  Dorina
6 years ago

Dorina- but did you hear of chad le clos before 2012 Olympics? Probably not and out of no where he beat the great Michael Phelps. Have you heard of Katie Ledecky before 2012? Most likely not. But they both won gold medals in the Olympics, and Katie setting records and having incredible swims. But that does not mean that they were doping before the Olympic Games. Katinka is a great swimmer and keeps getting faster, but maybe it’s just the way she trains!!! She works hard and it shows by her times and her performances at these big meets.

Dorina
Reply to  Atamkovitch
6 years ago

I am not saying anybody is doping. I was reacting to the remarks of Donald Fagen. His first point was that Hosszu is racing all year long and that it was suspicious. My reaction to that was that “I would be more suspicious….”. Please, do not take reactions to remarks out of their context, because you then might easily read something else into them and give them another meaning.

Petula
Reply to  Atamkovitch
4 years ago

I think you are both agreeing. 🙂

Francene
Reply to  Dorina
6 years ago

From what I understand of how athletes use PEDs it usually makes them a more inconsistent, especially midseason.

Petula
Reply to  Donald Fagen
4 years ago

Anyone can have doubts, it is normal and healthy. But there are channels for that. Just go along the lines of assuming the person is doping and saying so publicly, having journalistic influence is very shameful.

James
6 years ago

Are not*

Steve-O Nolan
6 years ago

However ya think about it, she’s not in the greatest position now. Because really, what can she do to “prove her innocence,” swim slower? (It’s like if someone calls you out, says they think you’re gay. “But I’m married and have 2 kids!” Too bad, I think you’re faking it.)

If you’re playing probabilities, she’s the athlete that’s most likely taking something, right? (Same reason I always assumed Lance was doping. Everybody else finishing behind him was getting caught, what were the odds he was just that much better than those guys?)

Not that everyone else probably isn’t taking stuff, too. Which is why it’d be way cooler if everything were legal!

Anonymous
Reply to  Steve-O Nolan
6 years ago

Agree that random accusation of any swimmers will only hurt the sport or put doubt in others mind unnecessarily. Hosszu is doing something with her career that is not common in swimming and people are going to raise eye-bows, but no reason to jump to conclusion that doping is involved without any proof.

From what I read through SwimSwam, I noticed how little US pro swimmers competed for money or compete at all! Most does not go to all the Arena PSS (fka Grand Prix) meets (which is one of the few offer prize money and listed on usaswimming.org website), whereas many European swimmers participated in many events hosted in their own and other European countries. I learned earlier… Read more »

Anonymous
Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

Ummm, intended to reply to Anonymous’s comment below but I must have missed the correct “Reply” button 😛

Anonymous
6 years ago

These are ridiculous allegations unless there is actual proof. Ledecky swims world records unrested at in season meets and nobody cares about that. You can make accusations once there is actual evidence to support a claim.

ChestRockwell
Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

Comparing the performances of a still-growing 16/17 year old girl to a fully mature woman is a weak argument at best and demonstrates a profound lack of knowledge at worst. And don’t even start to compare a picture of the two of them, because you’ll just be digging the hole deeper.

coacherik
Reply to  Anonymous
6 years ago

Exactly. I couldn’t find a blog post of suspicion of Torres by Casey, nor of Ledecky or Phelps. He defended Ye after her 4IM. What they all did is incredible, other worldly and equally worthy of suspicion. Every elite level swimmer should then be looked at with the same suspicion and deserve their own blog post and op/ed on swimming world magazine.

In response to SWM I would love to see swimswam run a “how they train” with her and her coach. I know many coaches are secretive in their methods and won’t share much if at all, but this would be an excellent opportunity to shine light on how she kick’s so much butt consistently. To be honest, if… Read more »

M Palota
6 years ago

This thing has been beat like a dead horse on Casey’s blog and on Swimming World. I’ve posted my opinions on Casey’s site if anyone is interested.

The only thing I’ll add is that I was at a meet this past weekend and this issue came up with a couple of coaches I know. They’ve been around the sport for a long, long time and are working with international athletes. They’ve seen her race at multiple meets and, in their opinion, her performances and the circumstances around them are raising questions / concerns.

badparent
Reply to  M Palota
6 years ago

So old people at meets who don’t coach her think she is going too fast and is training too well?