Never mind the bollocks

We talk to US sailor Kevin Hall about his Olympic Finn campaign and his incredible fight with testicular cancer
Kevin Hall may have qualified for the Olympic Games, but he doesn’t yet know if he is going to be allowed to compete in Athens this August. Having only taken up Finn sailing last May, 34-year-old Hall has already climbed a mountain just to win the US Finn Trials in Fort Lauderdale in February. A singleminded approach to the task has got him this far, but his next hurdle is of an altogether different nature. Hall knows that if he is submitted to a drugs test during the Olympic regatta, the testers will detect an abnormally high level of testosterone in his body. And testosterone is a banned substance. Abnormally high levels of testosterone were at the centre of the Ben Johnson scandal which led to the Canadian sprinter being stripped of 100 Metres Gold in 1988, and his subsequent life ban from the sport following a second offence in 1993. Johnson was using testosterone for performance enhancing purposes. Hall’s use of testosterone is altogether more innocent, and his story altogether more inspiring than Johnson’s descent into darkness. It was back in 1990, and the young sailor from Rhode Island was still studying at college when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. “I saw myself as a regular college guy,” he says. “I was absolutely terrified in the beginning when I was first diagnosed.” So serious and urgent was the diagnosis, that Hall was flown overnight from Rhode Island to the other side of the United States for emergency surgery in Los Angeles and had one testicle removed. Hall was strongly advised to undergo a further procedure of abdominal cleansing, but this would have meant him missing the Collegiate Singlehanded Championship being held in Lasers in Michigan. There was a 2 per cent risk of the cancer recurring by foregoing the