How deep did the medicalisation of British sport go?
An investigation by a British paper focused on spending by UKS prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In December of 2011, UKS paid TDeltaS Ltd a total of £181k for “research and innovation” purposes.
TdeltaS is an Oxford University spin-off company that develops ketone esters.
When the body is starved, the body produces ketones as a source of energy as glucose reserves are low. The idea is that ketones provide athletes with an alternative energy supply. Ketones are not banned but few athletes admit to taking them.
To give an idea of the potential effect of ketones, the following graph from a UK Sport presentation by Scott Drawer, the UKS head of research and innovation who moved onto Team Sky in 2016, detailed how British rowers had been a part of a 2011 study led by UK Sport and TdeltaS.
Here one may ask “well ketones aren’t banned, what’s the problem?”
Well UKS couldn’t guarantee the substance was WADA code complaint and that the risk/reward ratio became increasingly questionable.
UKS even had a PR strategy ready if existence of the project was to leak during London 2012. The focus would be diverted towards the “the fact that the UK is ahead of the curve compared to its competitors”.
Similar to the marginal gains mantra adopted by Team Sky.
It is very murky water indeed, and one more question mark next to the practices of UK Sport.