October 2, 2006 at 3:14 pm #5610
For those of you who noticed last month's and this month's polls, you may notice a theme. Last month's poll didn't surprise me. While testing agencies always do their best to test for drugs, it's no surprise in my mind that most people expect that the cheats will always be a step ahead. However, I offered that poll as a way to set up this month's poll. This is a discussion I've had a few times and I've seen come up several times elsewhere. If we can't ever expect to get rid of drugs in the sport, should we keep testing?
I've seen four prevalent opinions come up in this discussion, so those are the opinions I offered as options in the poll. The first two are in favor of continuing the testing, the last two are in favor of stopping the testing.
The first opinion is that we should continue testing for the integrity of the sport. Whether or not we can catch all the drug cheats, we should at least continue trying. Otherwise, the sport is no longer about who has the greatest ability and is the hardest worker, it's about who is paying the best biochemists.
The second opinion is that we should continue testing for the well being of the athletes. It's widely known that, while they can increase performance, there can be serious health issues related to taking performance enhancing drugs. Many athletes who do take these drugs do so because they felt pressure, either to achieve at levels they felt impossible naturally or more directly to take the drugs. Others simply don't think about the health implications of taking the drugs. Either way, to protect the athletes – whether from themselves or from scrupulous coaches/agents/others – we should keep testing to encourage them to stay clean.
On the flip side, the third opinion is that we can't catch them, so why bother? It's just punishing those who follow the rules while rewarding those who find a way around the rules. Just drop the bans and testing and let everyone compete on a level playing field.
The final opinion is that it just doesn't matter. This is similar to the previous opinion but slightly different. Basically, who cares if we can catch them or not? Just let them drug themselves up. In fact, it may even be interesting to see what an athlete on performance enhancing drugs can do. With enough engineering, can we see a man break 9 seconds in the 100 or a woman break 10 seconds in the 100? With enough engineering, is a 3 minute mile impossible? What about a 25 minute 10k? How quickly could the men get under 2 hours in the marathon and could the women follow the men under that barrier?
Please consider voting in the poll. I'd be very interested to see what everyone thinks of this. If you want to expand on your opinion more than the poll and its comments field allow, feel free to do so right here.
October 3, 2006 at 12:00 am #21715
It would seem to be even more interesting to find out just why the respondents who believe that PED's can be eradicated from sport feel that way, if that is truly their view.
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