September 24, 2007 (Stuttgart, Germany) – Overall I am happy that GeneviÃ¨ve Jeanson has finally been able to begin to come to terms with everything, with herself, to admit what she did was wrong, very wrong. I understand to some degree what influence and control both her father and (Andre) Aubut had over her, and realize that for the most part, she was a victim. I knew this all along, and my disgust over the entire situation was always more against those in control of GJ, which were Aubut and her father.
I think it will take years before she fully comes to realize the impact this has had on a lot of people. She has stolen victories and money from a lot of her competitors, she has taken an potential Olympic spot from me, and she has lied to all of her fans and sponsors who really believed her. Sure she is apologizing now, but how do you replace a memory for an athlete? Look at Trixi Worrack who could have won the Junior Road World Championships. They can strip Jeanson of those medals but she stole the moment of winning from Trixi. As an athlete to win, to experience that thrill on the day, that can never be replaced. Those are memories that you cannot get back and those are the intangible things that she has stolen from a lot of people that can never be replaced.
So a part of me says I should be angry at GeneviÃ¨ve Jeanson but I think there needs to be a lot more questions asked before we can fully blame the athlete in this case. I think the real issues here are the abuse of authority. If it is true that she was taking EPO since she was 16 years old… that really shocks me! What races at the age of 16 was she doing that she needed to take EPO? In Quebec? I mean, come on! A 16-year-old girl riding in local Quebec races taking EPO? That is scary. There is no way that a 16-year-old would even know about EPO or know how to administer it at that age without outside help, and certainly not for racing at that level. Someone was responsible, and if Andre Aubut was the one, there has to be some questions asked here… is there not a law that protects an underage athlete in this case? For me I have real concerns about that.
An apology and admission of guilt is a start. I hope that she will do more. Maybe she can be a spokesperson, an example for other young women and girls, so that these kind of situations can be avoided in the future. One day I hope she fully understands the scope of what she has done and what was done to her so that she can become an advocate against doping and abusive coaches or parents.
She has the opportunity now to become part of the solution, part of the fight against doping and abuse of authority. She needs to make her voice heard, stronger than when she was wrongly winning all those races. I think this is more then just another doping case in cycling and I hope that others can see that too.
Anne Samplonius is currently in Stuttgart, Germany preparing to compete at the 2007 Road World Championships and sent us these comments regarding GeneviÃ¨ve Jeanson’s recent admission of doping.