One of my favorite interview subjects of the last few years was Dallas Seavey, who as pictured above appeared on our cover in March 2015. As a four-time Iditarod winner, Seavey is among the giants in sled dog racing and a fantastic guy who impressed me in so many different ways when we chatted.
Which makes this week’s headlines indicting Seavey as part of a doping scandal involving sled dogs and banned drugs so shocking. Four of Seavey’s dogs reportedly tested positive for an illegal painkilling drug in a drug test taken after last year’s Iditarod, in which Seavey was runnerup to his dad Mitch Seavey.
For his part, Dallas Seavey denied the allegations today in the Alaska Dispatch-News:
“I am dying here, piece by piece,” he said during an hourlong interview in an Anchorage coffee shop. “I am so beat up right now.”
Seavey, 30, said there’s no way he gave his dogs the prohibited prescription drug tramadol, and speculated that someone else had drugged his dogs as they rested in the Nome dog lot after completing the race.
Iditarod mushers know that sled dogs from each of the top 20 teams get drug tested each year after they finish the race, he said. Seavey, who placed second, said he had also organized additional tests for his dogs in Nome so he could compare the results to those from blood samples taken before the race, in hopes it would help him determine how long it takes his team to recover.
Why, he asked, would he give his dogs a prohibited drug knowing two tests awaited them?
“Does it really seem plausible that in addition to the urine tests, I’m doing blood tests and I’m going to dope my own dogs before this?” Seavey said. “This is absolutely asinine.”
Seavey, who announced he will protest by not competing in the 2018 Iditarod, also released a lengthy online statement:
Twitter reaction was full of strong takes:
I'm relieved to hear other mushers are backing Dallas Seavey: https://t.co/8xL8ICy0sj
— Elena Meredith (@ElenaMeredith) October 25, 2017
PETA sabotaged Dallas Seavey’s dog. One dog, in Nome, champion team. #petaeatsdogshit
— Dammit_Todd (@Dammit_todd) October 25, 2017
Dallas Seavey is the goat. Iditarod is a joke
— Drew Fowler (@DrewFowler24) October 24, 2017
— Nat Herz (@Nat_Herz) October 23, 2017
@DallasSeavey I was a handler for you at the ceremonial start 2017. You have my support 100%; Sorry you are going through this…
— Christine (@mrsworklearns) October 25, 2017
I think Dallas Seavey is pretty well liked by the other mushers.
— Stacy A. Koster (@stacy_koster) October 25, 2017
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) October 25, 2017
People who know Dallas #Seavey#, competitors, fans, say he is honest, hard working, rule following musher who would not give drugs to dogs!
— Susan Marsh (@sassymamma1) October 25, 2017