It was announced today that cake has been added to GB Rowing’s official list of prohibited substances, taking effect next spring. The move comes in a bid to regenerate a diminishing lightweight squad which has fallen victim to the fat and sugar combination. The unexpected addition of cake to the list (which is based on the WADA’s international standard) comes after discussions following this year’s Diamond Jubilee Regatta. Organisers found that the total number of entries to lightweight events received by the closing date of the regatta was comparable with other regattas last year. However, approximately 80% of those entries did not make weight at the pre-race weigh in, and a further 90% of official sick notes were from athletes wishing to be considered for the lightweight event. On average the athletes failed to make weight by 6.8 kg, an incredible 5.9 kg over what would be expected at this time of the year.
The upward trend in weight gain has by no coincidence come during a period of increased enthusiasm for baking in the general public. “It’s an epidemic,” said one GB Rowing representative at the announcement, “the old saying is true; you just can’t have your cake and eat it too.” The statement was later mocked by a group of student rowers in a YouTube video shown eating cake and rapping about the fact that there was more cake in the oven. The rowers were naked throughout filming.
The BBC’s popular show ‘The Great British Bake Off’ has been blamed by politicians as an instigator of poor food choice. The show is already banned in several rowing clubs across the country. A female ex-lightweight who represented GB successfully in several World Rowing Championships criticised the show for her weight gain: “I would have made that 2x if it wasn’t for Mary F-ing Berry. So help me God if we ever cross paths I know where I’ll be shoving that croquembouche.” Currently weighing over 80 kg the ex-lightweight has accepted a coaching role at her local club: “I had a look at my gut and accepted my fate so got in the launch. I need to move on, but not before taking that devil spawn down.” Berry was unavailable for comment.
The effect of cake is not limited to international rowers; local clubs are suffering too. One coach of a tideway club has become increasingly aware of the sudden interest in baking: “I saw the guys in the corner of the gym doing some core stability roll-outs after an outing. They were chatting about holidays and making all sorts of hand gestures. I overheard things like ‘really tight buns’ and ‘ladyfingers’. Initially I thought typical lads, good on them having a bit of a laugh. It was about an hour before I realised that the trip to Singapore was last year, not this year, and that they were actually talking about baking and demonstrating rolling-pin technique. I’ve never been so disgusted in my life.” The coach hopes the new ban will bring a sense of normality back to the sport; “When I hear my crews discussing soggy bottoms and it’s nothing to do with a particularly splashy outing, you know it’s time for change.
In the wake of this crisis, British scientists have been collaborating with USADA and have developed a test which can detect 0.001 mg of cake in the body; “We are delighted with the new system; just a little disappointed on retrospect that it has taken so long for cake to be identified as a prohibited substance,” said a USADA official, “Armstrong loves a bit of cake.”
Non-approved substances such as anabolic agents, peptide hormones, growth factors, beta-2 agonists, metabolic modulators, narcotics, cannabinoids and glucocorticosteroids will be joined by cake, and prohibited methods such as manipulation of blood and blood components will now be listed alongside baking. A trained USADA Doping Control Officer will be based at Caversham over the coming months to answer any questions about the new system: “It’s fairly straightforward, there is no such thing as cakeohydrate and you certainly don’t need to cake-load the day before a race.” Triallists hoping to make the GB Rowing squad will now compete in the open category until the system is in place. The new list will come into effect on 1 January 2013.
It is reported that sales in cake have risen since the announcement.