The Clean Sport Collective is a community of powerful voices comprised of athletes, brands, events, clubs, fans and the public to support the pursuit of clean sport and athletics through the absence of performance enhancing drugs.
With this podcast, we will celebrate clean athletes, educate you on issues in the world of clean sport, and bring hope that we can all believe in the power of fair play across all sports.
Episode #107: Jenna Fesemyer, Paralympian in Wheelchair Racing
Jenna Fesemyer was born with a birth defect that would cause doctors to amputate her left leg soon after she entered this world as one of a set of triplets. They told her parents that she would be slow to sit, crawl, and walk even after being fitted with a prosthetic leg before her second birthday.
Spurred on to compete with her siblings, she was the first do to everything which might have been perfect foreshadowing for her current career in sport. She now often stands in first place on top of podiums as a competitive wheelchair racer. She is a national champion, a Pan Am Games champion, a World Marathon Major podium finisher, and now a Paralympian in 3 different events - the 1500m, 5000m, and marathon.
In this episode with Jenna, she shares her journey along the way from her first wheelchair race as a sophomore in high school to living her dream in the Tokyo Paralympics last summer. Jenna also gives us insight into the clean sport culture in the Paralympic world, including out-of-competition testing protocols, the whereabouts filing system, and recent controversy involving new, carbon-fiber wheelchairs that could permanently change the sport.
Jenna is an absolute inspiration. She will be racing the Boston Marathon on April 18th, and we can't wait to cheer her on!
Episode #106: Dominique Scott, 2-Time Olympian in Track and Field
Dominique Scott is a 2-Time Olympian, a 5-Time NCAA Champion, a South African champion and record holder, and the owner of two new, smoking-fast personal bests in the half marathon (67:32) and 10K (31:00).
Beyond the accolades, her energy and passion for the sport is contagious, and her journey to realize her Olympic dream in 2016 in Rio is absolutely inspirational. Kara and Chris dig into it all with her.
We are fortunate that Dominique believes in #cleansport, because she also went nearly 2.5 years without an out-of-competition drug test between the fall of 2019 and early March of this year, which included no out-of-competition testing immediately before competing at both the 5K and 10K at the Tokyo Olympics.
That, of course, is not her fault but does highlight the challenges of international drug testing and the window of opportunity for cheating that was created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This conversation also underscores the difficulties of staying motivated as an elite athlete knowing that the playing field is not level.
Listen and be a fan. Dominique's story is one to follow closely as she aspires to compete in both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships this year.
Finally on a podcast note, we just surpassed 1 million podcast downloads last week which is a big milestone for us! We wanted to thank you all for listening and supporting this platform. Together, we are making a difference in the name of clean sport!
Episode #105: Elana Meyers Taylor, 5-Time Olympic Medalist in the Bobsled
She first tried out for the Olympics in softball but didn't make the team. Then she switched sports, and the rest is a story for the history and record books.
Now, she is a 4-time Olympian. She is a 5-time Olympic medalist and 8-time World Championship medalist. She is the most decorated Black Winter Olympian ever. She is the most decorated female bobsled Olympian ever.
She is the oldest US woman to win a Winter Olympic medal. She is the only woman to ever win two medals in bobsled at a single Olympic games. She is an advocate for female athletes and athletes of color. She is the mother to two-year-old Nico, and she is an inspiration to us all.
She is Elana Meyers Taylor, and we are so excited to welcome her to the show. We talk about her journey from softball to bobsled, from her first trip down the ice in 2007 to her triumphant results in Beijing at the most recent Olympic games. She tells us stories from the sled including her perspective on doping and racism in the sport.
Along the way, you see Elana as one of the toughest, most resilient, humble, caring, and inspiring athletes we've had the chance to interview. She doesn't know what's next for her yet, but no matter what we will be cheering for her and following along!
Episode #104: Host Roundtable with Kara, Shanna, and Chris
We are BACK for a new season of Clean Sport Collective Podcast episodes, and we start this season just like we did the last one with a host round table with Kara, Shanna, and Chris.
We get personal updates from the crew and then talk about some of the big topics in recent months from the world of #cleansport including the Russian doping scandal in figure skating at the Winter Olympics, the confirmed lifetime ban for Alberto Salazar via SafeSport, a recent 10 year ban for Blessing Okagbare in Track and Field, and why Major League Baseball isn’t currently testing for steroids.
Of course, we love to finish on a positive note, and Kara tells us at the end why we should still have hope as fans in the face of these issues.
This episode was recorded prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, making some of these discussions seem trivial in context. We also want to say that we stand with the people of the Ukraine. Our hearts are broken and go out to them during this time. We denounce the Russian invasion and fully support the moves by governing bodies in sport to ban Russia from international competition. #saveUkraine
Episode #103: Nathan Martin, Fastest US-Born Black Marathoner
Nathan Martin is the fastest US-born black man to ever cover 26.2 miles. He ran 2:11:05 at the Marathon Project in 2020 to earn that title with a new personal best. He also finished 3rd American and 8th overall at the recent NYC Marathon, but based on the TV coverage, you would have barely known he was in the race.
Fortunately in this interview, we get the play-by-play on his in-race back and forth with Ben True over the final miles. It is a riveting firsthand account, and we are proud to give Nathan the platform he deserves to share it.
Nathan, however, is used to not being in the spotlight. He's been diligently working to be a better runner in his home state of Michigan since discovering his talent in middle school. In high school, he focused on and was state finalist in the one mile race before being encouraged to move up in distance by his college (and current coach) Dante Ottolini.
In college, he capped his senior year by winning NAIA national titles in the 10K and marathon (yes, marathon!), all in a span of 36 hours. That final college race kickstarted a post-collegiate marathon career that has now included two Olympic Marathon Trials, top finishes at US Marathon Championships, the big PR at the Marathon Project, and now a top 10 result at a World Major.
Nathan and his coach believe that making a US team at the World Championships or Olympics is a possibility, even as he splits his time coaching high school level athletes himself.
In his own words, we learn where Nathan gets his work ethic and his roll-with-the-punches attitude, along with the values he learned from his coaches and parents along the way. We discover the source of his integrity, his perspective on clean sport, and the lessons he hopes to pass onto the kids he now coaches.
Nathan subtly drops truth bombs throughout this episode, and we couldn't be more honored to share his story with you.
Episode #102: Zach Bitter and Ryan Montgomery on Clean Sport in the Trail/Ultra Community
Ryan Montgomery and Zach Bitter are no strangers to doing really hard things over long distances. Zach holds the world records for both the 100-mile distance by time and for distance run over 12 hours at 104.88 miles. Ryan just finished second at the Javelina 100, earning a golden ticket for the Western States 100, and he earned a spot on Team USA for the 24-Hour World Championships with a 154.71-mile performance over 24 hours last December.
Together, they join us for our most in-depth conversation to date on the clean sport culture in the trail/ultra world. We start with a story from Ryan on an innocent visit to the doctor that could have inadvertently resulted in him committing a doping violation.
From there, we talk about the need for more education and openness on the topic of clean sport in the trail/ultra community. We discuss drug testing in the sport including Ryan and Zach's history with it (or lack thereof). We cover strict liability, IVs, marijuana/THC use in ultras, and the challenges of enforcing clean sport culture in this corner of the competitive running world without a governing body.
Finally, we discuss the roles of various stakeholders to build and sustain the clean sport culture in trail/ultras including athletes, events, brands, and fans. We asked Ryan and Zach the hard questions, and just like in big races, they didn't back down. Thank you to both of them for their willingness to dig deep.
We also owe a special thanks again to Altra Running for hosting us in their booth at The Running Event, for supporting these two amazing athletes, and for being a brand that cares about clean sport.
Love💥everything about Courtney Dauwalter’s episode!!! The pure joy of running! And totally inspiring & inviting approach of her runs!!!Will definitely listen to this one again💗
What a great interview with Lee!
It was fascinating to hear about Lee’s incredible journey with running. I really appreciated the insights about clean sport in Australia. It was great to hear that new perspective on this podcast!
I really appreciate the guests who have legitimate experience with or have been directly affected by doping. Those other athletes who just give a five minute spiel/opinion about the issue but have no real or meaningful experience with or around it... just not the right podcast for them to be on!
Thanks for the good work