The Future of Doping

YVECSEY-articleInline Since I'm on a sports kick this week, let's talk about the 60 Minutes special on Lance Armstrong, where on of his teammates convincingly and emotionally talk about his and Lance's use of performance enhancing drugs. 

Here's one defense of Armstrong. An old, but memorable article by Gladwell in the New Yorker argued for the legitimization of drug use among athletes. 

Like just about everyone else, I have greatly admired Armstrong as an athlete. His abilities are awe inspiring. If found guilty, should he be banned from the sport. Imprisoned? Or is it time to admit that everyone is doing it? 

We are at a turning point in sports. We will either get better at catching the cheats or we are going to have a green light to what is apparently a wide spread activity. Which way will we go? 


8 thoughts on “The Future of Doping

  1. Admit everyone is doing it (at least those at the elite level) and regulate it to have a more level playing field and to ensure that it is as safe as it can be.
    The fantasy that Armstrong was somehow super human on his own steam is similar to thinking that by dieting and exercise alone we’ll all look just like the post-surgery/personal chef/personal trainer/photo-shopped celebrities.
    I hope that with more transparency and regulation that the misuse of performance enhancing drugs can be minimized. Perhaps there could be two streams – drugged and drug free?

  2. Is doping the problem? Or is money the problem?
    There are many companies whose bottom line depends upon people thinking good things about Lance Armstrong, Hero Bicyclist.

  3. You realize that this post is cuing up Livestrong ads on the sidebar?
    I’m not certain myself on which way to go. Transparency and monitoring is best (and I hope someone’s keeping an eye on all these student athletes). Yet, there’s an advantage to myths in motivating people…. Sure, I might not turn into Rhianna, but if that’s the goal that gets me to the gym isn’t that to the good?

  4. “regulate it to have a more level playing field”
    And this would be a more effective regulatory regime than the present one because … ?

  5. Perhaps there could be two streams – drugged and drug free?
    That’s pretty much the idea behind the Whizzinator.

  6. I was with Anjali, and I barely pay attention. Similarly the baseball home runners. And….
    I think the transparency/pretense choice has to depend on
    1) how widespread enhancing drugs are among teenagers
    2) how much more widespread they would be if transparency were the policy and
    3) how harmful the drugs are to teenagers
    Basically, once we are transparent the demand for them is uninhibited among youngsters.
    If I thought that transparency might affect the level of use in the sport much that might bear on the issue to, but I’ve long had the same scepticism Anjali expresses.

  7. Doug, how it is managed at present isn’t working. Is there some complicity between the athletic federations and the drug testers? Perhaps. I am far from a conspiracy theorist but the technology and funds required to effectively run a secret drug doping program is huge.
    That being said, if it made it easier for teens to use performance enhancing drugs, I’d be against any wider use. You only have to take a look at athletes like FloJo to see that athletes have difficulty making the risk/reward decision let alone a teen.

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