News : Doping: Fuentes’ last interview – sport
The name of the doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who became known as a doping druid in 2006, also stands for stories in Gran Canaria that can cause sleepless nights. The retired Fuentes told one of them himself in a fascinating, morbid, hour-long TV interview with the Spanish journalist Jordi Évole, which was now being broadcast in Spain on La Sexta.
One of the stories is about Fuentes’ uncle, a wealthy Canarian tobacco industrialist who was kidnapped in the mid-1970s and found dead, mutilated to the point of unidentifiability, on the very day Fuentes graduated as a doctor.
Another story is about his cousin Eufemiano Fuentes, it was tried before the Spanish Supreme Court, just as the medic of the same name had just been blown as a high doper. After a party, cousin Eufemiano quartered a 24-year-old prostitute intoxicated and thrown it in a dumpster. Fuentes himself, the doctor: He had pumped athletes full for years. Sometimes with drugs, sometimes with autologous blood, with methods that were not yet classified as doping when administered or used, as Fuentes claims.
But that’s not true: the interviewer reads to him twice from a judgment in which Fuentes was acquitted of violations of public health, but it is nevertheless stated: Fuentes treated athletes to improve their performance and made sure that they did not go through controls blown up. Among his customers: the German tour winner Jan Ullrich. What do all these stories mean? Perhaps at least this: that there are probably people who would have a greater need to write thick stories from their lives.
The government “removed” him from the system, claims Fuentes
In an interview with Évole – it will be the last of his life, the 66-year-old claims – Fuentes puts many things in the room, including detonating two so-called bombs. One: that he was the victim of a political plot by the then newly installed socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the instigation of the former State Secretary for Sports Jaime Lissaveztky and with the help of Fermín Cacho, the 1992 Olympic athletics champion. The other: Fuentes suggests something pregnant with meaning Silence that he was Real Madrid … but about that in a moment. “Is that so important at all?” Asks Fuentes and looks at the interviewer through steel-blue eyes.
Fuentes, so much for the history, was once a track and field athlete himself, specializing in gynecology as a medical student because there was no sports medicine in Spain in the 1970s. He traveled to Eastern Europe, claims to have bribed colleagues there with a few hundred dollars in order to find out the secrets of the sporting successes of real socialism. A life like in a spy film. Fuentes became a doctor for top Spanish athletes in the 1980s; Before he made a lot of money as a cycling doctor, he said he looked after around 15 Spanish athletes at the Barcelona Games in 1992. Did he also instruct Fermín Cacho, who won the 1500 meters at the time and became one of the greatest Spanish sports heroes? “If I tell you that I can’t remember it, you won’t believe me,” says Fuentes in an interview – after a few seconds of theatrical silence.
That Cacho is said to have suggested to Fuentes in 2004, at the instigation of State Secretary Lissavetzky, to prepare the Spanish athletes for the 2008 Beijing Games. “Like in the eighties.” He, Fuentes, claims to have rejected it immediately. This “no” had consequences. Although doping was not a crime in Spain at the time, the Guardia Civil instigated a unit in the “Operación Puerto” to take action against organized crime, says Fuentes pointedly. Because he did not want to serve Spain’s state, the government “just took him out of the system”. He claims to provide no evidence.
Absurd, said Cacho to the newspaper El Paíswho also claimed that Fuentes has settled in Portugal – and continues to offer services. Lissavetzky made a similar statement. And recalled that Fuentes was on everyone’s lips early on, at the latest through the accusing interview with professional cyclist Jesús Manzano. His name does not appear in the TV interview, like many other prominent names. There is also no mention of the “Operación Galgo”, the second major doping affair in Spain, in which Fuentes customer Marta Domínguez, a successful long and medium distance athlete, was discovered. It is quoted from the book of the former professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton persistently, but not the passage when Hamilton was sitting in the taxi after a visit to Fuentes and suddenly bleeding: Fuentes had obviously botched a transfusion.
It also gets exciting when the discussion turns to football. The dramaturgical structure is based on Fuentes’ admission that he would have liked to work with FC Barcelona, but did not; that he had also advised Real Sociedad San Sebastián, but not Valencia CF. Then comes the climax: “Did you advise the Real Madrid doctors?” There is a crackling silence of almost ten seconds. “I won’t answer that question for you,” says Fuentes, but: “That doesn’t mean ‘yes’. I had to testify in a process and had to say ‘no’.” With these sentences he alludes to the damages lawsuit, the Real against the French newspaper Le Monde who reported the club had used Fuentes’ services. And one more curious detail that Fuentes is getting rid of: Real promised him to cover his travel expenses as part of the process. In the end, he had to sue for the money.
Who can you ask at Real Madrid whether he, Fuentes, has worked for the Spanish record champions? Asks the journalist Évole. There is another second of silence before the journalist asks another question. Namely: Why Fuentes calls the head of Real Madrid’s medical department, Alfonso del Corral, so familiar “Alfonsito”. Fuentes replies with a strangely telling question: “Are there any other witnesses? No, there aren’t any more.” – Witness for what? The interviewer inquires. “Witness for what I (in the trial against Le Monde, Note) said that it didn’t happen, “says Fuentes – obviously his alleged collaboration with Real Madrid.
“What a pirouette!” Says the interviewer finally. And they both smile. As if one knew what the other said through the flower, and the other knew that he was understandable enough, although he said nothing explicitly. And so, in the end, some people stand there disappointed and watch the curtain fall – and many questions remain unanswered.