Sex, Drugs & Swimming: French Sprinter Amaury Leveaux ‘Breaks The Code of Silence’

Amaury Leveaux by Patrick B. Kraemer

“Sex, drugs and swimming, swimmer breaks the code of silence” by Olympic dash silver medallist Amaury Leveaux is a partly autobiographical work that appears to be destined to cause upset in a pool the sprinter has left behind

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“Sex, drugs and swimming, swimmer breaks the code of silence” by Olympic dash silver medallist Amaury Leveaux is a partly autobiographical work that appears to be destined to cause upset in a pool the sprinter has left behind

Comments

Reallyoldflyer

Craig,

do you know if the book is due to be published in any other language than French?

Jaki

What a shame, truly… He is probably broken right now, maybe because he had to pay this famous cocain he thought free for his majesty…
Buying one of ‘his’ books will only encourage him to invent other crazy stories and sell them and make plenty of money again…
I hope people won’t think that we, french people, are as stupid as this ”cry baby”!!

aswimfan

Oh la la!

But Leveaux has always been controversial and spoken his mind. Maybe to a fault.

I remember after he broke that ridiculous WR in rijeka he was among very few who said it was the shiny suit and refused to wear the shiny suit in 2009, to the detriment of himself and French swimming in 2009 Rome.

As for Cielo the Cheat, who doesn’t know?

Minibus

Well done leveaux
There is plenty that goes on behind the scenes well hidden from media and public.
I Would love an Australia book if any ex swimmer / coach has the balls.

o

On doping, he says that Russia uses body doubles to take the tests. (According to a review in Le Monde). Interesting idea!

Craig Lord

o – he’s on the right lines, according to some of those providing evidence to the ARD documentaries on Russian doping, now subject to WADA investigation. We shall see what emerges from inquiries official beyond inquiries journalistic when Dick Pound and team report in December. Mentioned in the article above.

Craig Lord

Reallyoldflyer, I’m not aware of any plans to publish in other languages. This is where news of that would be revealed if there are any plans:
http://www.fayard.fr/sexe-drogue-et-natation-9782213686066

chebstroke

He wore one suit in Rejika… that was designed specifically for his body (he was the main athlete for TYR at the time). When FIna introduced rules that stopped suit manufacturers creating one specific suit for one specific athlete, they simply then based the ‘large’ suit on his body. If you’ve ever stood next to the guy, he is not a standard ‘large’! He then refused to wear the poly suits in 2009 because his sponsor no longer produced the ‘best’ suit on the market. This is the same reason that many speedo athletes were against the 100% poly suits in 2009. Many of them claimed that the 100% poly suits were ruining the sport (which I agree with btw) but had no problem wearing the 50% poly in 2008, which was the best suit! As for claiming that he is not like his public image… he is thr most self centred, egotistical, fame and money driven person I’ve ever met. He moved clubs simply for massive contracts (or to increase his ability to use his fame in the capital city), rather than enhance his swimming. He should have been multiple Olympic champion from what he was capable of in training (when he felt like it), which is perhaps why he is bitter now.

I haven’t written this due to fear of being included in the book 😉

Craig Lord

Thank you for those insights and opinions chebstroke… impossible for the rest of us to tell if you’re in the book or not on what we’ve got to go on 🙂

skugi

Just another argument for legalizing everything.

Craig Lord

No its not, Skugi, but thanks for the laugh … There’s a lot of murder and much other bad stuff, right through to cheating in class at school …. but I don’t really feel that’s an argument for allowing it 🙂

TommyL

I read on another website that the ‘darling of the team’ was 22 years old in London.

Hm… This fits a certain sprinter who became Olympic champion in a very short distance in 2012 and happened to be a brother of a certain lady who became Olympic champion in 2004.

Just saying… 🙂

Craig Lord

Tommy L … apparently it was a backstroke swimmer – and I won’t be running the name 🙂

aswimfan

The darling of French swimming is a very good looking champion backstroker.

This has been established elsewhere.

aswimfan

Chebstroke,

Thanks for the insights. My knowledge of Leveaux is what I read/heard in the media. Your insights provide interesting angle on his personality.

TommyL

Perhaps the age was not correct as I do not recall any 22yrs old French backstroker in London.

Maybe Amaury wrote the book when a certain French sprinter swam a insane WR in backstroke in a time which for some people appears more like a freestyle time.

Man we are back to the person I described in my previous post.

Craig, perhaps you could give him a call. It seems he likes and misses attention so lets give the man some ;).

Craig Lord

Suggested, not established, elsewhere, aswimfan 🙂 … AL, when asked, said “X name? I didn’t name anyone”. There’s a good reason for that and it may involve legal advice at the publishing house… and that may have been based on laws that this site abides by to all reasonable extent possible …

Craig Lord

🙂 TommyL

TommyL

Understood sir.

I hereby promise that I will not name the handsome backstroker alhough I think I know who he is :).-

What a pitty I dont speak French. I would like to read that book.

felixtzu

Swimming in Western Europe is like sexy a soap opera. I always thought swimmers were so boring.

Craig Lord

felixtzu, I doubt some of this (if not any of it) is confined to western europe 🙂

luigi

Mostly unrelated, but the swimming historians among you could perhaps tell me why Fina banned not only the fabric, but the entire idea of a whole suit? why didn’t they simply go back to textile, whole suit (i.e. 2007), rather than going back, what, 15 or 20 years?

Craig Lord

Skin cover, Luigi, is part of the issue when it comes to two things: effect on nervous system and response, things related to but not confined to the effects of compression; and the advance of medical science of the kind that gets tested in war zones when people lose limbs. There are products in the world that could be converted to a modern-day race suit, look, like one, feel like one but do much more. It is not an area I’m an expert in but I’ve read enough to understand the nature of risk and weigh up a balance of ‘is it worth it’. Bottom line: swimming doesn’t need it to be swimming nor to be great swimming – so don’t do it.
In terms of sponsors, that angle of argument, the current rules on logos hold back a lot of potential to attract sponsors to swimmers and swimming … but the suit is a very minor part of that.

chebstroke

As you can probably tell from my 1st post, I spent a fair bit of time with AL. I’m sure most of what he claims in the book is true, as I found that the level of extrinsic motivation in French swimming is way too high. A lot of swimmers there act like, and believe they are super stars. My main issue is that I don’t agree with his motives for releasing this book. He probably misses being famous, is trying to make some money and deep down knows that he should have been Olympic champion in 50/100 free in 2008/12 if he’d acted professionally (hence bitterness to those who succeeded).

These are of course just my opinions based on time spent with certain people. There have been some excellent examples of self motivated, genuinely decent people coming out of French swimming too. AL in fact mentions a couple when talking about who messaged him when he retired.

TommyL

@ chebstroke

– did you also train with some other well known French swimmers? Perhaps you could share your views on them as well.

– have you ever been in the French national team at Worlds or Olympics.

Many thanks for your answers.

chebstroke

I have trained with some well known French swimmers, and have opinions on the personality of more (many positive, some negative). I would never give insights into my opinions of other people in the media, unless they feel the need to express their own feelings in order to gain fame. I have never spoken negatively about AL before, but by releasing this book he has opened the door. As a non French swimmer, unfortunately I can’t give any insights into the behaviours of athletes on teams (and wouldn’t if I could). Like I said, I’m sure a lot of what he claims is factually correct, but it seems like he has also included his negative opinions of people. This is the work of an unprofessional, selfish man, who misses the limelight…

in my opinion 😉

luigi

Thank you Craig for your response

luigi

ps for some reason, European star swimmers always seem less humble and more self-centred that their American counterparts. Some could say that Americans are better at selling themselves as humble and so on, but I dont think it’s all there.

luigi

that=than

Danjohnrob

With only a VERY few exceptions, US swimmers have to be humble because outside the swimming community nobody knows who they are! An article about Nathan Adrian, for example, despite his moviestar looks and gold medals, would never be found in a tabloid magazine or even a SPORTS magazine in the US because it wouldn’t sell copies. There are WAY too many “celebrities” drawing media attention here for boring swimmers to make headlines!

aswimfan

Luigi,

CL has explained very well the effect of compression of a suit.
And therefore, since 2009, as a general trend, women have gone much closer to shiny suits times (and in some events broke them) than the men. The current cut for women suit is a lot closer in cover area to shiny suit version compared to men suit.

And in men breaststroke, the cover area is actually the same since male breaststrokers only wore jammers in 2009. Is it any wonder that all male (and female actually) breaststroke shiny suit records have all been broken?

Forbes Carlisle actually proposed to return to pre-2000 cut for all the reasons that CL has explained.

aswimfan

There may be some truth in chebstroke’s word about french top swimmers thinking they are super stars.

All I have to do is remind myself about Laure Manaudau attitude in 2005 Montreal and 2007 Melbourne. Extreme Diva behaviour.

aswimfan

I do think in general US swimmers have better attitude and more humble.

for33

Mr. Leveaux was an interesting sprinter: one of the few sprinters that ventured quite capably into the 50m, 100m, and 200 m freestyle. Like Brent Hayden before retiring and Cameron McEvoy and Jeremy Stravius at present. Very much in contrast with Cesar Cielo, Florent Manadou, Nathan Adrian, James Magnusen (though he’s been trying 200m in some pre-season meetings), etc.

skugi

So many athletes getting stigmatized for doing something that most others do too. Allowing everything would make it easy to make performance enhancers safer and also make new safer performance enhancers. Right now athletes have to choose between drugs that aren’t made for the purpose of performance enhancement and losing in competition (not being sure where your next paycheck is coming from). Craig you seem to have this attitude of PED being intrinsically bad.

Danjohnrob

Aswimfan, Thank you! I have been wondering WHY the breaststroke records were being broken but not many others on the men’s side! That makes sense! Logically speaking then, since Piersol did not wear the full LZR either, his records should be broken soon too, but I think he did (like Phelps in the IM’s) wear full leggings.

Craig Lord

Skugi, it is/they are intrinsically bad. I’ve heard all the arguments for opening the cookie jar. I fundamentally disagree that that would somehow resolve the issue. All it would do is shift a line – and mean that sport is a realm where substances designed for extremely sick people (some of whom can’t even get the substances they need) are used to enhance a 100m backstroke etc swim. That’s sick, to me. It would mean that you say from the outset ‘what you’re watching is enhanced, folks …’; 3 things spring to mind …
a, I’m not interested,
b, if they’re all enhanced, why not have them all un-enhanced,
c, testing and all that is now would still need to be then because you would still need to draw lines on health grounds even if you threw morals out of the window – and you can guarantee that there would always be those prepared to go beyond any line and those who would do that with 14-year-old kids who do no make up their own minds on that without guidance – guidance from who? What kind of doctors would they be – who would licence them, what kind of insurance would they and athletes need to have etc etc (that’s a lot of folk in the kids category, of course: swimming is a sport dominated by very young people).
I don’t find any of that acceptable, neither as someone who loves swimming, and most certainly not as a father to our children. Your stance seems to suggest that all the best athletes we know of are taking banned substances to get to where they are. I don’t believe that, not even close – it is a very convenient excuse for those who do cheat to justify to themselves what they’re doing … and be convinced by the rogues around them that it is ok to cheat because ‘everyone else is doing it’ … it is a truly tired argument and a lie.

beachmouse

I think the hyper-competitive nature of American swimming helps with humility. As the saying goes: “be nice to people on the way up because you’ll see them again on the way down.”

That and an emphasis on team scoring at many prominent events leads to culture where an athlete is expected to cheerfully swim events for the good of the team even if they’d rather pick another event sometimes.

skugi

Well Craig I remember you yourself saying that a poll suggested 6/8 Olympic finalists were taking banned substances (if I misquoted I apologize).
First to address your first paragraph. If the door was opened pharmaceutical companies would start developing drugs the same day. This would result in new drugs that enhance performance better than “the drugs for sick people” (because they’re made exclusively for this purpose) and these new drugs would be safer since the FDA (or any other drug policing organization) would be able to test the drugs before they’re put in use.
(A) – Well you say you’re not interested but you may well be watching it right now. Can you honestly say you’re a 100% sure that the 100m breaststroke record that’s just been broken is clean? No, no one can (except Peaty himself).
(B) – Well that’s the whole point of the argument, isn’t it? It just seems impossible to have everyone play by these rules. However much you might idolize “pure” sport it just isn’t a reality anymore.
(C) – You wouldn’t need testing anymore. As I said the pharmaceutical companies would start investing. There would be no need to test these medications because they wouldn’t be on the market if they weren’t approved for use. I know there was manipulation with drug results in the medical world but that doesn’t mean all medication should be pulled from the shelves. Imagine spending the 26,420,098$ (which was WADA’s budget in 2012 – couldn’t find more recent numbers) on educating parents to make sure to see what their child is taking and to make sure to get a second opinion. I’m sure there could be more policies put in place to protect the children. I hope to be a parent one day too and I would certainly be much more at ease if there was complete transparency.
To end I just want to say I agree that no drugs is utopia but this is not going to happen. We can certainly get to a place where taking PED poses no more risk to the athlete than training itself. I think you’re fighting a losing battle.

Craig Lord

Skugi. A. Yes, I trust Adam Peaty, his parents, Mel Marshall and all those involved in that program to be working clean. And if my trust is ever broken, they know very well that I’d treat them in the same way that I treat others who go the wrong way. B. I disagree. C. You would still need testing, of course you would, for the very reasons I point out. A great deal of money is already spent on coach, athlete and parent eduction. The WADA bill could be vastly reduced by smarter practices, which I’ve written about before. In the world of cheats and rogues, there is never complete transparency, Skugi, and none of that would change. I think we’re fighting the good fight. You don’t just give in because bad things happen, Skugi. This, I hope, you will learn as life leads you through experience. Best, Craig
(p.s, many polls on doping… not sure which one you’re referring to but I don’t recall one that concluded 6/8 Oly finalists were on drugs… that figure was for one specific race in history, as I recall…)

Josh

I’m interested in figuring out who this Russian athlete is. Your article refers to them as a “he”, whereas another article I read (maybe BBC?) refers to them as a “she”. Which pronoun was used (il/elle) in the book in reference to this swimmer?

DDias

skugi,
(C). You will need ALWAYS to do tests.One of the things WADA let Cielo walking with a warning was the fact he DID tests in his supplements batches.He didn’t in the last one(it seems was just one/two bottle) and the rest is history.

skugi

Why would that mean that we need testing if all drugs are legalized?

Craig Lord

skugi, we’ve been through this before – for the last time: there are some drugs that would not be legalised for sport because they are dangerous (some even restricted in law for use by the medical profession – I recall an African swimmer in the 1970s who collapsed after a race and when asked what she had consumed named a substance that was legally restricted for use in hospitals in several countries at the time – the subsance was a ‘shock’ heart stimulant). Legalising certain drugs would not mean a free for all; that could never be the case. The only way you could allow the use of certain substances that tip from something that would be deemed helpful by those who think as you do and dangerous to health would be to test. If you did not do so, then sport would be in a realm beyond the standard health and safety regulations of other realms in society. Skugi, in a sport dominated by teenagers, you will never get to a place of ‘free for all and no testing’. Testing would always be central to ant anti-doping or doping regime. Evidence from the GDR is that testing was very very regular for 2 reasons; 1, so they didn’t get caught; 2, so the health of elite athletes was ‘preserved’, at last for as long as they were needed (that statement backed up by he verbal evidence in court of swimmers harmed by the doping and swimmers who said that they were ‘monitored and cared for on a daily basis’. That daily care did not save very many from a great deal of harm to their health. And please don’t say that latter is not true: that would be truly insulting to the many women I know, some personally, who take many medicines daily to this day to combat the damage caused by what was given to hem as teenage girls; that would be truly insulting to the women who appeared in court in the late 1990s with heir disabled offspring by their side; that would be truly insulting to the relatively small group of women who count 42 miscarriages among them from a handful of swim programs, that count well above the average in society at large. I think you need to do more thinking, skugi.

M.T.Bottle

Giving extensive swimming aid to an athlete (whether through drugs or full body poly suits) is bad because it removes consistency from the sport. Adding these elements makes the sport less about swimming and more about having the right technological support. Conider the men’s 100m freestyle for a moment. If you pump someone up with so many drugs that he grows fins and gills, is he still a man? If you replace his legs with motors and speed boat propellers, is he still a man? Our sport measures how well HUMANS can swim through the water, not how well human technology can move through the water.

All the reasons that led to the banning of the full body suits are also reasons why we should keep doping out, on top of all of the reasons Craig has mentioned. If you want to see unhumanly fast swimming, just throw some sharks and speedboats in to a pool, but swimming as a sport should remain as an unaided human effort.

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