But the moment those conditions were relaxed, they cheated.
I don't know why this is even a mystery: These people want to win, and they will do everything, including get as legitimately good as they can, AND cheat if they can get away with it.
We see this is lots of other fields: Black hat hackers who clearly are talented enough to make money legitimately, politicians who rig elections (cough--votes suppression--cough) who are probably going to win in their strongholds anyways, unicorns that raise hundred of millions of dollars in funds but still break all sorts of ethical and legal rules...
What about "deflate-gate?" Did the New England Patriots need to play fast and loose with footballs to win? Or did the just want to win so badly that they did everything legal, questionable, and illegal to win?
Lots of big-name athletes have doped and dope today. Do they need to dope to win? Is it a red-queen's race against other dopers? Or are some of them so focused on winning that they see dope as just part of winning along with the best equipment and the right training and winning the VO2 Max lottery?
Some people just want to win, and they want to win so badly they are prepared to get good AND cheat. They think that cheating is part of winning, just as being good is part of winning.
I do not think that the only people who cheat are people who couldn't win without cheating.
That's a good point. Top athletes have a crazy drive to win in addition to being talented. Most of them will do whatever it takes, be it cheating or hurting themselves.
Heck, he could run a marathon on his own this weekend and live stream it.
Just analyzing the man's statements for basic "tells" of non-candor and non-forthrightness, like they do in law enforcement:
1) "What I can tell you is..." - That's a distancing, qualifying phrase - we might call it an abstraction layer. It's like there's an AnswerTheQuestion() method that instead of just returning an answer, has to first call the GetAThingToTellThem() method. Hmm interesting. Great separation of concerns if you're a computer program, but totally unnecessary if you're being concise and direct.
2) "What I can tell you is that I did not cut." - It's a non-denial denial. He doesn't actually say he didn't cut. He says he can tell you that he didn't cut. (OK go ahead and tell me then, whenever you're ready.) He can also tell me that he's a purple elephant that farts rainbows.
3) "...I did not cut" - Resorting to a formality by eschewing the contraction - using "did not" vs. "didn't." And I wouldn't make the usual allowance for Latin heritage, because he's a doctor and has been in the US for a long time, plus he uses contractions freely elsewhere (didn't, I've).
4) After starting two sentences with "I've", notice in the last sentence (the second it comes time for another direct denial), it goes back to formal language: "I have."
5) "I didn't know this was against the rules..." Getting defensive, trying to portray himself as a victim being persecuted unjustly (totally outside the normal purview of the usual rules which he thought he knew) and therefore deserving of sympathy. Also subtly attacking the interviewer for asking the question. Aggression is a big tell.
6) Overall does it seem to be just impartially reporting/presenting information or does it seem to be making a case or argument by "dressing up" the facts to favor himself? Notice the overall wordiness of the thing and the volunteering of superfluous information. I do this for fun. I don't hydrate properly (WTF does that mean, you tryin to say you drank too much water dawg?)
None of these on their own would be inherently suspicious, and might have other explanations, but occurring all together like this, they're a billboard telling you "Take a closer look."
Edit: Reply comments are starting to object along the lines that this doesn't prove anything. That is correct. The goal isn't to prove guilt; only evidence proves guilt. The goal is only to direct the course of the investigation. You're only looking for "warmer or colder." Keep going this direction or look somewhere else? That's why I conclude with "Take a closer look" and not "Please convict this person of a crime immediately." It's akin to a polygraph reading - fairly unscientific, generally inadmissible, but valuable in deciding what to do next in the investigation.
(2) they also tend to be massively over-interpreted. Oh, were people 10% more likely to look left if they were lying? “Looking left is a sign of deceit.”
(3) I couldn’t find the source of the quote, but it’s worth noting that spoken language studies do not extrapolate to written statements at all. The same things that are a tell in an extemporaneous conversation are just signs of editing and preparation under other contexts. Preparing to make a public statement? All those signs that make it into the pop-sci lie detection books don’t apply.
"What I can tell you is that I did not cut" but I did step off the track, and that might be against the rules, so I can't say I didn't cheat - seems like a phrasing you could stumble into if you're trying to avoid saying something that isn't true.
> It's a non-denial denial. He doesn't actually say he didn't cut.
He does five sentences later: "I have never cut the distance".
> Resorting to a formality by eschewing the contraction (thoguth ese above for next) / it goes back to formal language: "I have."
If I'm being accused of something, I'm going to stress the "not", and say it more forcefully which could involve dropping the contradiction. I've noticed myself doing this for things that don't matter in the slightest.
> Getting defensive, trying to portray himself as a victim being persecuted unjustly
I didn't read it like that at all. It reads more like an explanation/justification for his behaviour, and a _bad_ one at that (it's on you to know the rules).
> Notice the overall wordiness of the thing and the volunteering of superfluous information.
Presumably it's a rehearsed statement (at least conceptually if not in the exact words), and he's trying to provide an explanation for his actions. It doesn't really seem superfluous.
> WTF does that mean, you tryin to say you drank too much water dawg?
Yes. Marathon runners can drink too much, putting them at risk of hyponatremia.
Extrapolation guilt/suspicion from that seems dicey. None of it seems like something you couldn't say if you were being entirely truthful.
Also, I’m not a cop, but I grew up around a lot of cops. I spent many nights serving cops after their shift and listening to their stories. As such, I can say that your whole “this is how cops do it” is bullshit because it’s not admissible in court. What cops do is ask the same question a thousand different ways until you tell them the truth, hence the long sessions.
I suppose that says it all.
The truth is probably that his actual fitness is half-an-hour or an hour or more slower, and that he's a cheat. Yes, this assertion could be wrong. But given that it would be so easy for the guy to disprove it (and confirm his previous race) it's very suspicious that he hasn't done it.
Which is why I specifically called that out and nothing more.
I see on the marathoninvestigation site the Dr. has been given opportunities to explain these suspicious discrepancies and either hasn’t or provided explanations that are contradicted by hard facts.
>Inferentially speaking, this remark says more about you than the data point does about the accused
>It's why I specifically called that out and nothing more
Self-righteousness is a weird thing.
“Nothing more” refers to consideration of any other evidence.
As for “retreating into objectivity” I’d say I was far from it when subsequently upping the emotional ante with the descriptor of a “braying lynch mob”, which is how I really feel about the peanut gallery.
Luke 6:37 applies recursively to all of us.
It's a tired scenario that's been seen many times before. The accused cheater here, if he were a reasonable person, would say, "Yeah, I understand how it looks, it certainly doesn't seem like I could have actually run that race without cheating. So, here, let me go out and show you that I really am that fast." Why doesn't this happen?
> Meza should have crossed in front of an official video camera (..) Meza “did not appear in the video. The only reasonable explanation is that he did not run this section of the course.”
> wherever Meza shows up in photos or video, “his pace is significantly slower than his official splits.”
> photographs that showed Meza emerging from the sidewalk to rejoin the pack along Hollywood Boulevard (..) Meza reiterates he did not cheat, saying he needed to use a restroom
Sure there could be explanations for all of these.. but on top of it all he ducks out of a race where he was to be monitored, in favor of an alternative race? He could have cleared his name right then and there, but he didn't, so naturally this furthers suspicion.
I sure did. And I can distinguish which data points are suspicious or incriminatory, and which are empty of meaning.
> naturally this furthers suspicion.
No, it doesn’t. This is my point: claiming it is so only reveals the low standards of evidence of the claimant.
If there was an evidentiary record of the participant specifically avoiding that event to avoid being definitely found incapable, that would be a different data point.
A few do. For example, the first-place prize for the Boston Marathon is US$150K. That's one race. Then there are endorsements etc. Running is big business.
> if people want to cheat, more power to them
That's just a crappy attitude in any context. Even if absolutely nobody is hurt in a particular instance, cheating should be discouraged to maintain the integrity of the system for when it does matter. Also, as it turns out, this is a race. People competing against one another is an essential part of the exercise, even if there's no money involved. That's why there are rules, and significant effort to enforce those rules, and everyone who participates pays willingly for that enforcement. Comparing their performance to others is an important part of how people motivate themselves to do better. Among people who run marathons more than once, it's why they put in those long hard hours training. It's also why cheaters cheat. They wouldn't risk disqualification and censure if they didn't believe that the competitive aspect matters very much. Apparently the people in these races, both honest and otherwise, believe in the benefits of competition. The implication that competition is meaningless sounds a bit like sour grapes TBH.
For the age group record, it matters! It should be, like, a real thing... the people who get those records work really, really friggin' hard, so they deserve to be treated fairly.
A good example is the South African women who the olympic committee told to take a testosterone lowering drug in order to compete.
Competitions aren’t fair and there’s no such thing as “natural” in the first place. If the purpose of competitions is to find the absolute limit od human ability, it’s seem silly to me to ban steroids or long legs or too much testosterone.
I guess this is a different point that cheating, though.
Moreover, life is about bettering yourself and winning. That’s why I’ve always thought that cheating in college say is irrelevent. Unless the students are being graded on a curve, I don’t think academic cheating is a big deal.
tl;dr: By cheating you are only short changing yourself and no one should care about it.
Not everyone shares that assumption. If you think there should be races where the only goal is to get from point A to point B in the minimum time with whatever aids are available, go ahead and organize one. See who comes. I suspect that the vast majority of people would prefer races where competitors stay on the course and eschew most forms of mechanical aids. Opinions on chemical aids are more mixed, but that's not at all the kind of cheating at issue here.
> Unless the students are being graded on a curve, I don’t think academic cheating is a big deal.
Again, you're ignoring some effects of cheating. Students are often competing for admissions to graduate school (including e.g. medical or law school) so even if the grades themselves aren't on a curve the students are still being compared to each other. Those who don't cheat therefore are harmed. Also professors are graded too, so there's harm there. The purpose of the exercise is learning, which often means doing exercises as laid out. You don't learn calculus by letting a calculator or program do it for you. You don't learn programming by installing prepackaged software. When students take shortcuts, those paying for their education - usually not the students themselves - are not receiving the service they paid for. There's harm all around, and no amount of rationalization by those who can only keep up by cheating will change that.
Cheating matters. The purpose of going to college, or recording track times is for measurement and comparison. Allowing cheaters isn't just cheating yourself, it devalues the meaning of the measurement. It is inherently selfish and shows a lack of ethics that is detrimental to society as a whole.
It absolutely is not "only short changing yourself", as it also has very real, direct effects when a cheater displaces an honest hard-worker for a job or college acceptance.