Sports : Sifan Hassan says she has caffeine to thank after winning her first Olympic gold

Sifan Hassan says she has caffeine to thank after winning her first Olympic gold

Brazenly crediting a performance enhancing drug for her gold medal.
The Dutchwoman is bidding for a historic treble of 1500m, 5,000m and 10,000m.

Ethiopian-born Hassan, 28, produced a devastating final-lap sprint to win in 14 minutes 36.79 seconds, but it seems she required a little assistance to carry her over the finish line.

"Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion," she joked.
"She joked." That is an example of the BBC improperly editorializing.
"I was so tired. Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion. I needed all the caffeine!"
Doesn't sound like a joke. Caffeine was prohibited between 1984 and 2004 and is now being "monitored". It absolutely enhances performance but in an acceptable way, probably because its use is so widespread. The problem with banning caffeine, and maybe other drugs, is that you can tell an athlete you are giving them a high dose of caffeine but give them a placebo instead and they will still get a performance boost.
In one study, well-trained competitive cyclists were told they would receive a zero, low or high dose of caffeine before a time trial (but in reality, all of them were given a placebo – experiments in this field usually involve deception). The athletes who thought they were getting a small dose performed 1.5% better than baseline, while the high dose group showed an increase in power of 3% over a 10km (6.2 mile) race.

“Three percent doesn’t sound much,” says Chris Beedie from the School of Psychology at the University of Kent, who was lead author on the study. “But in elite terms, that’s the difference between winning an Olympic medal and not making the top ten. You work very hard to get those three percents.”