4 August 2015

Doping


You may have heard the latest news about doping in athletics. It seems that hundreds of athletes have been at it and many of them were medal winners in top events - including The Olympics. 

Today's doping practice is usually aimed at increasing the red blood cell count in order to transmit bigger volumes of oxygen to the muscles. This was exactly what the disgraced  American cyclist Lance Armstrong's cunning method successfully achieved. And it is why he won The Tour de France an incredible seven consecutive times.

Doping is about getting ahead of your competitors, stealing a march on them but there are plenty of other ways of gaining advantage and they make me feel a little ambivalent about the current doping scandal.

Let's take genetic inheritance. Some athletes are born into naturally athletic families where good sporting physiques are passed down through the generations. Should we accuse the recipient of such beneficent genes of cheating? Plenty of other athletes compete in their sports in spite of the disadvantageous  physiques they have largely inherited.

The saying - "You are what you eat" has extra resonance in sport. The right diet can make a big difference when competing at the highest level and many top athletes are advised by armies of dieticians. Isn't that a bit like doping - gaining advantage through what you consume?

Good coaches can also make a big difference. They know how to train their athletes for success whereas poor coaches presumably make a lot of basic errors and may set their athletes off on ineffective  training regimes. Having a great coach can surely be like taking a performance enhancing drug. They give special advantage to their charges.

Similar arguments could be made about equipment, training facilities, family wealth and sponsorship. They all confer advantage upon the fortunate recipients putting them a step ahead of their competitors.

These are all reasons why I feel somewhat ambivalent towards doping in sport. Perhaps we should just say - what the heck! Let the games commence and take as many drugs or blood supplements as you need! Then we wouldn't have all these witch hunts and moral guardians preaching from their high horses. Mind you, the Olympic motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger" would suddenly take on extra significance - especially the "Higher" bit.

14 comments:

  1. Dopes who dope are dopes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a dopey comment Lee!

      Delete
    2. One lives in hope, Yorky - and one can live in hope without dope!

      Delete
  2. Or we could just cancel all competitions through lack of interest !!

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    Replies
    1. An Aussie not interested in sport! I can hardly believe it!

      Delete
  3. Your examples don't back up doping. Doping is when someone purposely puts a foreign substance in their body to gain an advantage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morally, I don't see much difference between that way of gaining an advantage or the other ways.

      Delete
  4. I agree with everyone. I do think if one has to run, hop or skip then one deserves a bit of dope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One also deserves a bit of dope if one has spent an afternoon crawling around with one's camera looking for interesting insects.

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    2. No one is a dope then. You have to catch them early in the day.

      Delete
  5. Do footballers get tested?

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    Replies
    1. They do down this way, Graham. And a lot of them prove they are dopes because they get caught having taken dope.

      Delete
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