Quite an emotive title; I think so anyway
The International Olympic Committee has told the British Olympic Committee that it can not ban for life athletes found using drugs.
I suspect that there is an arms race raging between the manufacturers and the detectors because the impression I get is that the best drugs are not detectable anyway, so can be taken without worrying about being found out.
What can be done about this?
I don’t know if there is an answer
The question is: where do you draw the line?
If you have ever seen the film “Chariots of Fire” you might remember that Harold Abrahams was looked upon as a cheat for using a coach.
I take a number of dietary supplements: creatine, whey protein and extra vitamins as well as caffeine, but they are “legal”. A lot of people take these, so now they are called supplements, not drugs. You are probably at a slight disadvantage if you don’t look at your diet if you want to perform better. After all, it makes sense to get everything at its best.
Once you have optimized the big things, you start to look at the smaller things to gain that little extra. The the performance enhancing drugs start to creep in.
Then rules start to be made and the cracks appear through which you can easily fall.
Like using common cold remedies that contain caffeine causing failure of drug tests after races.
Or using hormone drugs to increase body mass out of season, but by the time you are tested during the racing season you have no traces of the drug, but you still have the muscle.
And what is the difference between altitude training to increase your oxygen carrying capacity and removing your blood and putting it back? The latter is probably more environmentally friendly: no air miles. It could also be regarded as more “democratic”, if you are politically minded, because it is more accessible to people who can not afford to take weeks off work to train in an expensive high altitude resort.
Professional cycling has always been known to be riddled with “drugs cheats”, yet they still go on. The ruling bodies try to administer drug testing and banning policies, to little effect as far as I can see.
I wonder if anyone has ever done any long term work to test what the advantages are to taking drugs against good training. We are talking about the top few individuals in the world here, not the vast majority of us, to give them a tiny advantage. If you run regularly you will know that there are lots of things in every day life that can have quite major effects on your performance from one day to the next. Will the advantage of taking a performance enhancing drug be wiped out by having an argument with your girlfriend the night before? I suspect it will.
So what I am saying is probably something like “Why worry about drug taking in the first place?”
You only create a problem by banning something.
You will not have any crime if nothing is illegal
Does it matter that a few top athletes take various drugs to achieve their results? It does not affect me in any way. It might affect them and their earning potential, but that is no concern of mine either.
We accept the fact that these few athletes are different. They spend all of their time training for a few minutes performance for the few years of their career.
We should admire them for that.
Everything they do is “unnatural”, it’s just a matter of where you draw the line as to what is acceptable unnatural and what is unacceptable unnatural.
But in the end I suppose it could come down to this; what I’m doing here, writing, gossip, tittle-tattle.
There is a lot of money in criticizing people who are in the public eye. Lots of insignificant people (like me) can get a bit of reflected glory from making fatuous attacks on the rich and famous. It is a major industry employing thousands of people. So, it is in the interest of the media and various quasi-political types to keep these things going to keep them in jobs.
And it is also necessary for the athletes to keep taking the drugs and occasionally getting caught to keep the circus on the road.