Olympic triathlon champ Alistair Brownlee’s medical data leaked
Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee became the latest star to have his medical data leaked by Russian computer hackers on Monday.
The sixth batch of stolen therapeutic use exemption (TUE) forms has been released online by hackers known as the “Fancy Bears”.
TUEs are effectively a doctor’s note enabling athletes to take medication that would normally be banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and Brownlee’s was for a two-day course of acetazolamide in October 2013.
Acetazolamide, or Diamox as it is more commonly known, is used to treat altitude sickness or glaucoma, although some athletes are believed to have used it as a masking agent.
“I have had one TUE in my career in October 2013 for Diamox to treat altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro,” Brownlee wrote on his Twitter account.
“Slightly embarrassing that someone as fit as me suffered from altitude sickness but thankfully @jonny_brownlee was there to carry me.”
As with the other 126 athletes whose TUEs have been hacked from WADA’s database, there is no suggestion Brownlee, a four-time world champion, has broken any anti-doping rules.
Other stars to have their medical data released in this way include British cyclists Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, American tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams, British distance runner Mo Farah and Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal.
The Fancy Bears, who are believed to have targeted WADA’s database in retaliation for the investigations that exposed Russia’s state-sponsored doping programme, have been widely condemned by anti-doping groups for breaching data protection laws and falsely accusing innocent athletes of cheating.
But their actions have drawn attention to an area that some anti-doping experts have suggested is open to abuse.
WADA, however, has defended the TUE process, saying it is essential to allow athletes with medical conditions to compete at the highest level.