Montag, 24. Februar 2014

Doping: Boosting natural EPO production with inert gas Xenon

Investigativ Doping journalist Hajo Seppelt and his team from German tv station ARD (WDR, sport inside) aired on Sunday, 24. FEB 2014 a 3:45' feature on a new doping method based on an article in "The Economist". According to internal studies from Russia's "Atom-Med Center" (АТОМ-МЕД ЦЕНТР, Moscow) the inert gas Xenon may boost the natural production of EPO (Erythropoetin) similar and as effective as forbidden methods or allowed methods like altitude camps or low oxygen simulation facilities. Application of Xenon (aka Medxenon) can boost Testosterone levels in blood stream as well. The use of Xenon can't be detected from as of now.

The color spectrum of noble gas Xenon in a gas discharge tube. Photo: Wikipedia, Alchemist-hp (talk) (

The Economist in detail:
Xenon works its magic by activating production of a protein called Hif-1 alpha. This acts as a transcription factor: a chemical switch that turns on production of a variety of other proteins, one of which is EPO. Artificially raising levels of EPO, by injecting synthetic versions of the hormone or by taking so-called Hif stabilisers (drugs that discourage the breakdown of Hif-1 alpha), is illegal under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Other methods of boosting the hormone, however, are permissible—and that fact has not gone unnoticed by the Russian sports authorities. Athletes are allowed to live or train at altitude, or sleep in a low-oxygen tent, in order to stimulate red-cell production. If xenon treatment is merely replicating low-oxygen environments by replacing oxygen with xenon, then its use to enhance athletic performance is permissible.
The use of xenon by athletes certainly has government blessing. A document produced in 2010 by the State Research Institute of the Ministry of Defence sets out guidelines for the administration of the gas to athletes. It advises using it before competitions to correct listlessness and sleep disruption, and afterwards to improve physical recovery. The recommended dose is a 50:50 mixture of xenon and oxygen, inhaled for a few minutes, ideally before going to bed. The gas’s action, the manual states, continues for 48-72 hours, so repeating every few days is a good idea. And for last-minute jitters, a quick hit an hour before the starting gun can help. [...] 
And the gas appears to have been used in past Olympics. The website of Atom Medical Centre, a Russian medical-xenon producer, cites national honours the company received for its efforts in preparing athletes for the 2004 summer Olympics and the 2006 winter games.
Prof. Dr. Mario Thevis (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln) claims, animal studies show Xenon boosts the natural EPO production within 24 hours at least up the 160% mark. A representative of Atom Med, claims the utilization of Xenon isn't doping, because there are no biochemical traces inside an athlete's body. In a sequence Richard Pound Howman (former founding president WADA) addressed the issue as well. WADA President Craig Reedie confirmed  they will follow up on Xenon. Currently two camps debate, if the application of Medxenon is a (current or future) WADA code violation.  

Xenon follows another ARD revelation (Fullsize MGF). Xenon doping has potential to have changed the outcome of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and prior games like Athens (75% of all Russian medal winner), Turin (70% Russian medal winner), London and Beijing Olympics as well. [1, 2, 3, 4]

Update 25. FEB 2014: Journalist Jens Weinreich uploaded some of the original documents and some numbers of past Olympic games. [3]


Montag, 17. Februar 2014

ITU announces 3 year partnership with Threadneedle

ITU today announced a three-year partnership with leading international investment management firm Threadneedle Investments (Threadneedle) to become the global financial sponsor of the World Triathlon Series.

The announcement follows Threadneedle’s successful partnership at the 2013 PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final in London. The company introduced the inaugural Threadneedle Team Triathlon for its clients and employees who helped raise over £20,000, which was matched by the Threadneedle Foundation for Access Sport. 

Last year, Threadneedle teamed up with Access Sport to develop Tri-3-Sportz, a legacy programme designed to break down barriers to triathlon and make the sport more accessible to young people in London.

Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC Member, commented: “We are thrilled to grow our partnership with Threadneedle. Triathlon demands precision, focus, and drive, all of which Threadneedle exemplifies on a daily basis, making them an ideal and like-minded organisation with which to work.” 

Gary Collins, Head of EMEA Sales, Wholesale for Threadneedle, commented: “We are pleased to confirm our three-year partnership with the ITU. Triathlon is an exciting sport, rapidly growing in popularity around the world.  Partnering with the ITU for the World Triathlon Series allows us to engage our clients and employees in key markets and support sports-related community organisations via the Threadneedle Foundation.”

Tim Stemp, Chief Commercial Officer of the ITU World Triathlon Series said: “Triathlon attracts ambitious and energetic individuals. Our partnership with Threadneedle Investments enables a global platform to engage employees, customers and the broader community in a unique and meaningful way.”

Lagardere Unlimited Events, the marketing agency of the ITU World Triathlon Series, brokered the sponsorship.

Entering its sixth year in 2014, the ITU World Triathlon Series will showcase eight first-class events starting off in Auckland, New Zealand, followed by races in Cape Town, Yokohama, London, Chicago, Hamburg, Stockholm and will cap off the season with the World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton, Canada.

All elite women’s and men’s races will be broadcast live to an international TV audience in more than 160 countries, as well as streamed online. Each stage will also feature age-group races, enabling participation from triathletes on a global scale.


Montag, 3. Februar 2014

Post Holdings acquired PowerBar and Musashi from Nestlé

St. Louis based Post Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:POST) today announced it has agreed to acquire the PowerBar and Musashi brands and related worldwide assets from Nestlé S.A. (FRA: NESM) for USD 150 Mio (400 Mio including contractually assumed obligations) in cash. Post Holdings, known as Post Foods was a former division of Kraft Foods and is a manufacturer of breakfast cereals. PowerBar is recognized as the main global brand of the Nestlé Performance Nutrition division with a 30 year legacy in sports nutrition and est. 2014 net sales around USD 165 - 175 Mio. (est. 2014 EBITDA USD 15 - 17 Mio.).

PowerBar will play a major role within Post Holdings' active nutrition platform. The active nutrition platform aids consumers in adopting healthier lifestyles and includes the Dymatize, Premier Protein, Supreme Protein and Joint Juice brands. Premier Protein with est. USD 130 Mio. annual net sales was acquired for USD 180 Mio. last year. Most of the other brands were recently acquired by Post Holdings and mark a strong move into the fast growing sports nutrition category. According to a press release issued today:
this transaction furthers Post's efforts to expand upon its investment in the active nutrition category while continuing to execute against the strategy of transforming Post into a more diversified consumer goods company. Post anticipates combining this transaction with Post's current active nutrition portfolio to form a singular Active Nutrition Group with expected annualized revenue approaching $550 million. The acquired brands participate in the rapidly growing sports nutrition bar and sports nutrition supplement categories. The global active nutrition category is expected to remain strong with the category projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% between 2014 and 2017 (according to Euromonitor). [2]
Post Holdings, Inc. assembled with PowerBar, Musashi, Dymatize, Premier Protein, Supreme Protein and Joint Juice six brands in the sports nutrition category. Post produces currently more than a douzend cereals as well. Post also manufactures private label cereal, granola, dry pasta, peanut butter and other nut butters, dried fruits and baking and snacking nuts, servicing the private label retail, foodservice and ingredient channels. Screenshot: Compositon based on divisions of Post Holdings Inc.
The press release further notes:
David Ritterbush, President and CEO of Premier Nutrition, and Greg Venner, President and CEO of Dymatize will serve as co-CEO's of the Active Nutrition Group within Post, reporting to Terence E. Block, President and COO of Post.
"It's truly exciting to continue the transformation of Post and to increase the role active nutrition will play in that transformation. I'm confident that the talented associates joining Post from Nestle will make a powerful contribution towards this continued transformation," said William P. Stiritz, Post's Chairman and CEO.
The PowerBar and Musashi brands manufacture and market premium bars, powders and gels in geographies that represent more than 90% of global category sales (according to Euromonitor). PowerBar is an iconic brand in the active nutrition industry having been the very first energy bar created by athletes for athletes nearly thirty years ago. PowerBar has a very high awareness among bar users and has enjoyed high levels of trust among consumers for over twenty five years. Musashi is a leading sports nutrition brand in Australia and enjoys leading levels of awareness among its target audience, physically active males.  
Capital has been invested in the business over the past seven years and manufacturing capacity exists in the U.S., Germany and Australia to meet projected demand for the next three to five years. Post management believes that PowerBar can continue to capitalize on the high brand recognition PowerBar enjoys with focus and innovation to drive this iconic brand. 
The transaction is expected to be completed in Post's fiscal third quarter, subject to customary closing conditions. Post expects to fund the acquisition with cash on hand.
Material terms of the purchase agreement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on a Form 8-K within four business days. [2]

Christoph Schwarz, CEO PowerBar Europe GmbH summarized the major facts, impact on the company in an additional letter to existing customers:
Nestlé today announced it has sold its PowerBar business to Post Holdings, Inc. This agreement  was signed on February 2nd, 2014 and will be finalized when customary closing conditions are met, in the coming months. 
We are very excited about the prospects for PowerBar joining Post Holdings, Inc.. They are a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded ready-to-eat-cereals with over 100 years experience in the food industry. Throughout 2013 Post Holdings, Inc. has been building an active nutrition platform through their recent acquisitions of Premier Nutrition, Dymatize Nutrition and now PowerBar. 
This active nutrition platform will give the PowerBar brand the right environment to further flourish and grow in order to be your sports nutrition partner of choice. The ownership of the business will change but you can expect to receive the same level of service as before.
  1. Post Holdings Completes Acquisitions of Golden Boy Foods and Dymatize Enterprises
  2. Post Holdings Increases Commitment to Active Nutrition Category
  4. Joint Juice
  7. Premier Protein
  8. Supreme Protein