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Let the Games Be Doped

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the hobble-out-for-amputations dept.

Biotech 773

Hugh Pickens writes "John Tierney poses the question in the New York Times 'what if we let athletes do whatever they wanted to excel?' Before you dismiss the notion, consider what we're stuck with today — a system designed to create a level playing field, protect athletes' health and set an example for children, that fails on all counts. The journal Nature, in an editorial in the current issue, complains that 'antidoping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear' by relying on unscientifically calibrated tests, like the unreliable test for synthetic testosterone that cost Floyd Landis his 2006 Tour de France victory and even if the authorities manage to correct their tests, they can't possibly keep up with the accelerating advances in biology." Read on for more.Hugh Pickens continues: "Bengt Kayser, the director of a sports medicine institute at the University of Geneva argues in an article that has been supported by more than 30 scholars in the British Medical Journal that legalizing doping would "encourage more sensible, informed use of drugs in amateur sport, leading to an overall decline in the rate of health problems associated with doping (pdf). In the competition between increasingly sophisticated doping — e.g. gene transfer — and antidoping technology, there will never be a clear winner. Consequently, such a futile but expensive strategy is difficult to defend.""

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Only a dope... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589505)

would think that the Chinese aren't cheating their asses off.

No (0, Troll)

SonicEarth (1246632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589507)

We shouldn't let athletes use steroids. Period.

Re:No (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589581)

But EPO, HGH, etc are all OK? Boy you're dumb.

Re:No (0, Redundant)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589665)

Not even if their healthy lives depend on it?

Re:No (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589731)

You should join the debate club with that incredible logic you're using.

Re:No (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589777)

No illegal steroids that is :)

What happens when we allow doping we get an even more skewed playing field as we get athletes who need to be rich in order to compete.

Also didnt SNL do a skit on this once...I seem to remember a guy doing the dead lift and his arms ripping off....

Re:No (5, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589835)

But by all means let them fly down a hill at more than 50 mph with only lycra and 2 inches of clearance between them and pavement.

I can see your point.

Re:No (4, Funny)

zuzulo (136299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589983)

Just think of it as evolution in action. Plus how else are you going to get free lab rats for human enhancement technologies? Let the gene and drug doping flow, then we can just cherry pick the ones that stand the test of time and use em on real people.

Only socially constructive use for professional athletes i can think of, anyway ...

/joking

Re:No (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590015)

We shouldn't let journalists dope either. Case in point: this article.

Sure, and then.... (5, Insightful)

exazoid (212023) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589521)

... we could allow mopeds in Tour de Frace :o)

Re:Sure, and then.... (3, Informative)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589613)

They could start by allowing recumbent designs first.

Re:Sure, and then.... (5, Insightful)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589917)

Wrong direction, everyone should be riding the exact same bike. The Tour is about the athletes not the equipment.

--
JimFive

Anybody remember? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589529)

East German Gymnasts?

That is reason enough.

Re:Anybody remember? (4, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589969)

She's a man baby! [cnn.com]
Well if it is your mother, she is quite mannish.

Won't work. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589541)

Legalizing doping will only raise the bar to the next level. Now that everyone can be doped, some will be more doped than others. Thus we are back to the original problem, that some people are more doped than others.

If they legalize doping, they will say what? You can take 50mg of this substance. How can they make sure everyone only takes this much? It will require even more policing.

The reason for doping are purely economic ones, people like cyclists on Tour de France get many green pieces of paper with dead presidents on them. Take out the money incentive from sports and you eliminate doping.

Re:Won't work. (4, Insightful)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589783)

Drugs don't make you perfect all at one, there's still hard work to be done and if used liberally or even a little improperly, many of these 'sport enhancing' drugs can destroy a person's fitness.

There's no sense in setting arbitrary boundaries, you just get to square one again, I think the author suggests the only reasonable way to commit to allowing people to drug themselves is to do it without a limit.

There's no chance or even a good reason to take money out of competition. Some of these people spend their entire waking lives preparing for these events; there's just no room for a regular job. Sponsorship is vital and winning should be rewarded for the sacrifice.

Re:Won't work. (5, Insightful)

xenn (148389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589889)

How can they make sure everyone only takes this much? It will require even more policing.

The reason for doping are purely economic ones, people like cyclists on Tour de France get many green pieces of paper with dead presidents on them. Take out the money incentive from sports and you eliminate doping.

Well, for MY money, I'd like to see how far the human body can be willingly pushed. I mean, they are doping anyway...so for the people that want to, let them, and see how much faster/stronger they become. It's their choice how much they are willing to take or risk overdose. It's also current athletes choice how hard they train, or push themselves at an event.

And there is other side benefits, as the article suggested, like there being alot more data to reliably check athletes that aren't in the dope olympics.

I say go for it (1)

Denger256 (1161267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589547)

We all know it happens so why not have a set of events that lets people do whatever they want. Maybe they will stop trying to find was of hiding it and just focus on creating a race of super men / super people.

An Immodest Proposal... (5, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589553)

Permitting doping in any sport is the road to that sport's ruin. And justifying the proposal on the basis that the current restrictions fail to 'think of the children' is pretty perverse-

Imagine you are the parent of a child who shows some kind of sporting talent early on- Do you encourage him, knowing that weird drug induced side-effects might overshadow his life?.... (...No, you don't)

Nope, not gonna happen, at least where rich countries are involved. Current drug tests may not be perfect, but they act as a massive break on the worst of this corrosive problem.

Re:An Immodest Proposal... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589663)

Baseless assumptions of an asshole. Stop posting 7 digit boy.

Re:An Immodest Proposal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589773)

Baseless assumptions of an asshole. Stop posting 7 digit boy.

Says the anonymous coward.

Seriously, WTF?

Re:An Immodest Proposal... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589933)

Permitting doping in any sport is the road to that sport's ruin.

How do you explain the popularity of football in America, then?

Re:An Immodest Proposal... (4, Interesting)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590099)

Yes, given your example I wouldn't let my kid take these drugs, if the side effects overshadow their life. But the drugs that are banned go beyond ones like steroids and into the realm of performance enhancement.

For instance Creatine. Would I let my daughter take it if she wanted to use it to better her work outs? Scientifically I have no reason not to. Ephedrine? I got a problem with it. Steroids? Never. There is a huge difference between them all though. You can't just say "drugs bad" and then move on. And that is my point. What drugs are we talking about? People think it's all steroids and you end up with "Bob had bitch tits". But that's not true. These anti-doping organizations are going the extra mile and saying anything that isn't on the approved list is against the rules, regardless of scientific merit in using them. Why? Because the bogeyman that's why.

If anything it's simply patronizing us all putting them all under the controlled substance label or insinuating that anyone that wishes to take a chemical is somehow a dirt bag, well that's nonsense imo.

I've already seen this (5, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589557)

Re:I've already seen this (1)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589595)

Thought of the exact same thing. Well played!

Well played indeed! (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589873)

First thought that came to my mind. Should've been linked in the story description!

Re:I've already seen this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589883)

Thanks a lot! Now how the hell am I supposed to fool them into thinking I'm dialing in from the states?

And then the olympics will die. (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589559)

It'll just become another freak show competition. WE don't want a bunch of "The hulks" competing with each other to see which company has the better steroids mix.

In fact, by letting (and therefore FORCING) all competitors to get doped, we're just throwing our money at the big pharmas. Is that what a sports competition is about?

Re:And then the olympics will die. (3, Interesting)

Denger256 (1161267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589713)

Could it not be argued that doping is just the next step? Think about it these athletes use all kinds of technology to improve why draw the line at drugs?

Re:And then the olympics will die. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589893)

WE don't want a bunch of "The hulks" competing with each other to see which company has the better steroids mix.

Speak for yourself

Re:And then the olympics will die. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589901)

I wouldn't miss it if they euthanized it now.

The better outcome would be requiring proof of employment at a full-time, non-bs job.

Re:And then the olympics will die. (4, Interesting)

Black-Man (198831) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589929)

Face it. They say the gene splicing will be untraceable so it will be a moot point to attempt to screen athletes. It will infiltrate all sports... not just the Olympics. And if this is the case, then shouldn't droids be allowed to compete?

Re:And then the olympics will die. (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590005)

It's already a freak show competition. No normal person can even hope to compete with people who live to train.

Re:And then the olympics will die. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590077)

It'll just become another freak show competition. WE don't want a bunch of "The hulks" competing with each other to see which company has the better steroids mix.

Have you SEEN the swimmers? I know they're taking all sorts of tests to show they aren't doping, but perhaps they've just found another way. I'm wondering if some of them have an extra cloned lung or two, or a surgically expanded chest cavity, or somehting like that.

Re:And then the olympics will die. (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590107)

Then athletic doping profits could go towards more better medical research!! Or towards more athletic doping research and yachts.

Oblig. bad Car Analogy (4, Interesting)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589561)

Have 2 classes, stock (unmodified) and top fuel (no limits or restrictions).

Re:Oblig. bad Car Analogy (2, Interesting)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589961)

And establish a rule that, once you compete in the Unlimited Games, you are forever barred from competing in an unaugmented event, regardless of sport.

Are you not entertained?!? (5, Funny)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589563)

I think we should give them steroids & in the case of American Football, chainsaws as well.

A couple of hundred years later... (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589565)

.. and your average starting line will look like they've been made in Spore's Creature Creator.

Re:A couple of hundred years later... (0)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589621)

...

How could they perform with those giant cocks and balls though!?!?

-Rick

Re:A couple of hundred years later... (1)

chillax137 (612431) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589683)

I play sports and seem to do pretty well...they shouldn't have a problem

Re:A couple of hundred years later... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589911)

The OTHER kind of sports. That's what he meant.

Re:A couple of hundred years later... (2, Funny)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589639)

Well, I suppose Penis-men would be highly aerodynamic.

Re:A couple of hundred years later... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589861)

Despite the claim of the emails you might receive, those kind of drugs don't actually increase the size of your member. Thus I doubt they would resemble creatures of Spore, at least the large majority of them with sizable manhoods.

The New Special Olympics (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589569)

Games for doped-up, junk heads. Their tongues will eventually be hanging out of their mouths at one point in time.

I think the problem is (5, Interesting)

colmore (56499) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589583)

that what might, in some argument be a sensible behavior for a professional athlete or a full time adult amateur athlete is in no way sensible for young athletes who are essentially practicing in a very publicized hobby.

Calling open season in the upper tiers of athletics would certainly have the effect of more young folks (and hell even that guy who cares too much about company soft ball) doing more drugs, and that isn't healthy and it isn't good.

I don't believe in the criminalization of drugs myself, but for something so explicitly about the body, athletics should really not be helping sell young people on the idea of dangerous chemical recreation.

I hate the drug war, but it is important to note that our world would be a lot better without certain drugs.

Re:I think the problem is (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589899)

Without these drugs, lot of people who take them to cope with life would probably opt-out of life instead.

Let the Market Decide (5, Insightful)

rshol (746340) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589589)

Create an Open or Unlimited category where all manner of doping is legal and an Pure category. Let athletes decide which to participate in fans which to watch. My bet is the Pure category dies in 2-3 years from lack of interest. The Ancient Greeks would not have understood our aversion to doing whatever it takes to win.

Re:Let the Market Decide (3, Insightful)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589705)

I disagree a bit. I think that the Pure (or as a previous poster called it, "Stock") category would garner greater respect because we like to imagine that we could do these things with enough effort. I think that the Unlimited category would become a spectacle like the WWE that no one took seriously.

--
JimFive

Re:Let the Market Decide (5, Insightful)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589749)

My bet is that athletes would continue to hide their doping so that they could win the Pure category, and the Open category dies in 2-3 years from lack of interest.

There is no glory in taking the drugs, only in winning.

Re:Let the Market Decide (1)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589887)

Implementing a split system would require that a confirmed failed drug test would ban the athlete from the Pure Category for life. Anything less wouldn't work.

--
JimFive

Re:Let the Market Decide (1)

nlawalker (804108) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590049)

But that comes back to the problem discussed in the summary - the tests are unreliable and not well calibrated, and the secrecy and accusations would continue. Athletes would first try their luck not getting caught in the Pure category (why not?), turning the Open category into a trash can of athletes caught cheating.

They don't *want* to take the drugs, they just want to win.

The ancient greeks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589831)

...also wouldn't understand our aversion to two muscled, oiled naked men having a tussle in the dirt.

Times change, thank Zeus.

No more old athletes? (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589591)

Well, you won't have athletes with careers that span decades. Their bodies will break down well before that due to doping.

Re:No more old athletes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589857)

maybe. Or you might see reasonable users of steroids being able to recover faster and stay in the game longer. The drugs have valid uses. It is the abuse of them that causes a problem.

If it wasn't for the stigma of steroids, use of them for your average Joe might be prescribed steroids to recover and retain muscle mass after
surgery.

Yeah, that makes total sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589635)

Since we cannot stop the cheaters, who are a minor population of gaming, lets just let them cheat. *rolls eyes*

Uh huh, THEN what sort of image will you be sending then?

Sorry Johnny, you cannot be a runner, you don't have the right drugs pumping through your system...

Nature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589637)

At lease IMHO, these games, much like sports, are all about seeing the human body at it's best. These are people who are supposed to train and put themselves pretty much through hell and back, but to allow doping would mean that anyone could simply pop something and instantly be equal to someone who may have worked 5 years on his strengths.

Re:Nature. (1)

xenn (148389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590073)

At lease IMHO, these games, much like sports, are all about seeing the human body at it's best. These are people who are supposed to train and put themselves pretty much through hell and back, but to allow doping would mean that anyone could simply pop something and instantly be equal to someone who may have worked 5 years on his strengths.

Well, hopefully the athlete who just trained for 5 years might have the common sense to not enter enter a competition that allows doping?

because it is not transferable genetically (5, Interesting)

anselmhook (962411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589681)

Children of doping athletes have a higher incidence of deformity: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/children-of-doping-athletes-deformed/2007/10/31/1193618974100.html [smh.com.au] The point of the olympics includes an ideal of finding out our limits, and improving them. The problem with doping is the same one with modern news: it favors the individual instance instead of favoring the system. It is not sustainable, nor durable over the long haul... and by long haul I mean multi-generational.

cheating (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589701)

So is problem with doping is that people are cheating or that people are doing dangerous things?

I think the problem here is that they assume people won't cheat if safe drugs are made legal.

Unless you legalize everything, that doesn't make sense, because the incentive to cheat will still be there. It gives you a competitive advantage even if it makes your skull giant like Barry Bonds and shrinks your nads.

I dunno about the rest of you, but I'm not interested in watching athletes that are doped up. Great example for the kids, because you know that if you allow it at the professional levels, its eventually going to bleed down into high school and junior high sports.

Synthetic Testosterone (2, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589733)

The test that cost Landis his victory and title is actually very well calibrated - he got tripped up by the amount of testosterone in his blood that is not produced by his own body, as identified by carbon-isotope markers.

That said, legalized doping will still lead to issues, as there will always be something that is unsafe and illegal to take, and which will be taken by unscrupulous athletes. Sadly, there is no way to prevent cheating, unless you simply say "no rules". And then I expect someone to show up with an aircraft carrier at a water polo game.

Oblig. Futurama Quote (5, Funny)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589739)

FARNSWORTH: He's good, alright. But he's no Clem Johnson. And Johnson played back in the days before steroid injections were mandatory.

BENDER: Clem Johnson? That skin bag wouldn't have lasted one pitch in the old Robot Leagues! Now Wireless Joe Jackson, there was a blern hitting machine!

LEELA: Exactly! He was a machine designed to hit blerns! I mean, come on, Wireless Joe was nothing but a programmable bat on wheels.

BENDER: Oh, and I suppose Pitchomat 5000 was just a modified howitzer?

LEELA: Yep.

Garbage (4, Insightful)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589741)

I think this is all a confusion of symptoms with causes. Sure, the current standoff between doping and dopers has created a somewhat unpleasant situation, but I think it goes deeper than just the doping. The real problem, as far as I'm concerned at least, is that high level competitive sports on nearly every front exist in a culture concerned only with winning--at any cost. Doping, the lack of sportsmanlike conduct, and all the other problems in high level competition--the way I see it these things all stem from such a strong emphasis on winning over simply playing the game for its own sake. I don't think legalizing doping, or finally preventing it completely, either way, will solve the problems we see. We'll just see a new symptom of the deeper ill manifest. What really needs to change is the whole culture of sports.

My two cents anyway.

Re:Garbage (5, Insightful)

genner (694963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589843)

I think this is all a confusion of symptoms with causes. Sure, the current standoff between doping and dopers has created a somewhat unpleasant situation, but I think it goes deeper than just the doping. The real problem, as far as I'm concerned at least, is that high level competitive sports on nearly every front exist in a culture concerned only with winning--at any cost. Doping, the lack of sportsmanlike conduct, and all the other problems in high level competition--the way I see it these things all stem from such a strong emphasis on winning over simply playing the game for its own sake. I don't think legalizing doping, or finally preventing it completely, either way, will solve the problems we see. We'll just see a new symptom of the deeper ill manifest. What really needs to change is the whole culture of sports.

My two cents anyway.

Playing the game for it's own sake goes out the window the second you start paying a athlete. As long as your paycheck depends on winning your not going to play for the love of the game.

Re:Garbage (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589967)

Doping, the lack of sportsmanlike conduct, and all the other problems in high level competition--the way I see it these things all stem from such a strong emphasis on winning over simply playing the game for its own sake.

Well, first off, the reason to play a competitive gamre is to win, not to play the game. That's why it's called a competition. I, for one, do not relish the thought of a "group swim for the fun of swimming" event at the olympics :)

That said, I recently read a piece in NJ Monthly about the Special Olympics, where a young girl with Downs Syndrome & some other issues was winning a race, and slowed down to hold hands with a competitor to cross the finish line together. Somehow I can't imagine that happening at the regular Olympics, but boy would that make me start to view the world with a little optimism.

another example is of a softball player who hit a home run, but blew out her knee, in her last college appearance. Members of the opposing team picked her up and carried her around the bases, since the rules forbade members of her own team from doing so.

Sportmanship is hard to find in professional sports (and yes, for the most part, olympic athletes are professionals), but it exists at other levels. Sometimes it even exists at the professional level, like in soccer... an example would be when a player is injured, and the other team kicks the ball out of bounds to give a stop in play... and then the favor is returned whenthe injured player's team gives the ball back when play resumes. I just wish it were publicized better, and given attention at the professional level.

body-building demolition derby (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589745)

I don't think we should have less drugs in sports, I think we should make drugs mandatory. I want to see footballers stride onto the field looking like something that Rob Leifeld spanked together, overly-muscled and misshapen anatomic monstrosities. I also think that the football should be packed with semtex and have a "hot potato" timer function, putting the "death" back into "sudden death." And we should do something about working shoulder spikes into the uniforms.

Re:body-building demolition derby (2, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590053)

Rollerball!

Decline in health problems not a goal (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589757)

Let's get real. Sport is a business, a very big one, and growing fast. The managers of the business know probably a lot about maximizing profit. If allowing doping would improve the profits, a case for it could be made. Focusing it from the point of view of the health problems of athletes is naive. You can tell the manager of a sweatshop that if he allows breaks every 4 hours of work, slave workers would have a better health, but if you don't link that to higher profits, he's just going to look blankly at you, in a so-what's-your-point way.

Two divisions: (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589763)

I say go for it. We could have two divisions: One for enhanced athletes and one for natural athletes. This would allow for much more entertaining sports, and the natural folks would feel no pressure to dope.

Wouldn't this encourage more athletes to harm their bodies with chemical/genetic/cybernetic enhancement?
Maybe, but only for those who want it. As it is, too many athletes are more than willing to ruin themselves. All sports carry some risk and many have been paralyzed or killed while engaging in gymnastics, football, boxing, and others.

Wouldn't the more exciting "modified" olympics esentially bury the honest, natural olympics?
The attention span and the whims of the spectators and consumers may render obsolete "Natural" athletics just as the whims of the consumers have rendered obsolete the *AA's traditional business models.

What about certain countries forcing certain athletes to be "modified" against their will for the sake of competition?
NObody will beat Japan's army of giant robot-men, and all other countries will compete as "naturals" if they want that prestige.

Re:Two divisions: (1)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590043)

Except we'd have the same problem as we do now: doped athletes who can't win in the doped league will try to steal the top spot in the natural league

Amateur? (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589767)

The Olympics are already a cavalcade of overspecialization, to the point of teratism in some cases. The only amateur thing about them (especially in light of professional 'dream teams' competing for medals in prior Games) is the naive assumption that the Games mean anything beyond international dick-waving.

I say drop the 'amateur' and let them do whatever the fuck they please. Let's see what kind of horrors are wrought in the name of national pride. Hell, the history books will be doing it fifty years from now anyway-- let's get a head-start on our grandchildren.

Nice (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589775)

"antidoping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear" Strikingly similar to our government.

The frauds created this culture, not the ant (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589785)

'antidoping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear'

The sport frauds created this culture, not the antidoping authorities.

Allowing doping would result in numerous deaths, just like we had in the early days of blood doping.

There is an easy answer to the doping problem: force the pharmaceutical companies to add markers to doping chemicals.

Sci Am had a good peice on this (4, Interesting)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589805)

Here [sciam.com] is a pretty good analysis from game theory on what we could actually do to reduce doping. Bottom line - increased penalties.

Ehh, will probably go away anyway... (2, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589811)

...just like the "all amateur" Olympics.

Before:

Bob Mathias was not permitted to complete in a third Olympics in the decathlon because he had made a movie and was paid for it. The IOC determined that the movie makers paid him to make the movie because he was an athlete and therefore was now a "professional athlete".

Today:

You have countless professionals playing in Basketball, Tennis, Cycling, etc.

Re:Amateur Olympics (1)

misterjava66 (1265146) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590111)

You are really just commenting on the fact that the concept of super-high-level amateur sport is impractical. And to most of the rest of us, the objective is dubious. We CAN let people who make it thier young life's work to be excellent have a chance to make money for being excellent and still compete and continue to demonstrate their abilities.

Love the hyperbole (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589817)

Before you dismiss the notion, consider what we're stuck with today -- a system designed to create a level playing field, protect athletes' health and set an example for children, that fails on all counts.

Lack of perfection is not failure.

Could it better? Yes. Will it always be an arms race? Yes. Will athletes always try and get an edge? Yes.

Using this logic to justify unlimited PEDs is like saying that since we can't stop criminals from stealing, therefore, we should just give up and let people steal whatever they want. After all, you can't stop a determined thief, so why not just let them have what they want?

Health Effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589829)

Simply legalizing a substance doesn't change its side-effects. As soon as a major sport sanctions doping, we'll see hundreds or thousands of teenagers taking substances that will irreversibly damage their health, if not outright kill them.

I think the solution is to improve the quality of testing. It may not be perfect, but it's the only way for sports to remain sports, and not contests for which nation has more money to pour into bio-engineering their athletes.

Sweet! (4, Funny)

jwriney (16598) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589885)

I say let 'em go for it. Have an "Unlimited" class of Olympic events, with half-ton, fission-powered, gene-spliced, titanium-boned monstrosities jacked up on nervous system stimulants strong enough to make Case from Neuromancer piss himself. Pole vaulting with nuclear pulse detonation boosters? Biathlon with AEGIS-guided weaponry?

We'd of course need to clear a sufficient radius around the arena so we can squash the frothing bastards' inevitable thirst for global domination by nuking the hell out of them at the "closing ceremonies".

Re:Sweet! (2, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589907)

We'd of course need to clear a sufficient radius around the arena so we can squash the frothing bastards' inevitable thirst for global domination by nuking the hell out of them at the "closing ceremonies".

Why do you think we make the 3 most powerful ones stand next to each other on a nice raised platform.

Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589895)

Why stop at legalizing doping? Why not have an event exclusively devoted to doping! The person who can do the most long-term damage to their body wins!

Einstein, prohibition, doping... (2, Interesting)

eagee (1308589) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589897)

This reminds me of a quote from Einstein on prohibition: "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." thoughts?

forced competition (2, Funny)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589905)

if you want to influence the kids, don't let the athletes with bodies wrecked by years of enhancements just fall off the map to shrivel and die in the corner, no, force them to continue competing. show kids what happens after the glory wears off. the problem isn't that the bad stuff is hidden up front, it's that we hide the ugly effects on the back-end.

what? that would be cruel and unusual?

damn.

Genetic manipulation ... (1)

Rick Richardson (87058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589909)

Genetic manipulation will lead to swimmers born with flipper feet. Hows
the IOC gonna stop that?
LATE NEWS: they bred a monkey with a jellyfish, so my predictions aren't
so off the wall now, are they?

It's a really bad system (1)

awitod (453754) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589925)

Now, first off, I have no opinion on whether or not Landis actually is guilty. However, considering the ramifications for him or anyone else of a positive test the proof should be beyond a reasonable doubt.

In Landis' case, he didn't just lose a race, he was banned for a significant period of time. He is a professional athlete and they took away his livelihood and destroyed his reputation.

The arbitration panel ruled 2-1 that the proof was sufficient. I think 2-1 shows that there is good reason to doubt the test.

I am 38 years old.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589931)

I can make informed judgments about how much booze is good for me.

When I was 25, I couldn't (didn't).

When I was 18, I was barely able to understand what booze was.

When I was 16, I had one (1) drink with dinner sometimes with my parents, under their supervision.

"Legalizing Doping" needs to have some good controls to make sure kids and people who may really regret it later (young adults) don't get into bad situations, because face it that shit can kill you or leave you with severe complications. Unless you just want to make all that shit legal, even for 8 year old gymnasts... you end right back to "hiding doping because they can't detect it". You would get coaches and parents stretching the age limits, and now you can't just find the stuff, you have to prove the particular aged kid got it...

If "level playing field" is your argument, it fails for the same reason "no doping" fails.

What a super dumb idea.... (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589957)

You'd have people dying left and right from steroids and whatever else they could pump into their veins.

All drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24589981)

All drugs should be legalized and left to the discretion of the user. I have not and will never let the government or any governing body tell me what I can and can't put in my body. Think about it this way... If you legalized doping in sports you would be putting everyone on a level playing field. They now all have the choice of using or not and the decision about their perfomance is wholey up to them. It's called personal/professional responsiblity and not trusting anyone to have it will result in none being displayed. Look at our grand old US of A. Down the tubes because of a lack of personal responsibilty to society and our country.

Intelligent article in Scientific American (4, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589987)

Michael Shermer, a competitive cyclist and "Skeptic" columnist for Scientific American wrote an article called The Doping Dilemma [sciam.com] on this very subject. It examines the doping issue using gaming theory to analyze the costs and payoffs of doping and suggests ways to make doping never pay off.

Gladiators anyone? (3, Insightful)

readin (838620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24589997)

So if you allow athletes to use whatever drugs they can find to make them perform well NOW, regardless of any future health problems, how many will accept early death in exchange for short-term glory? I'm guessing quite a lot of them. Young people, which most athletes are, aren't the best at thinking long term. How different is this different than the old Roman gladiators? Ok, they were slaves. Should we allow fights to the death as sport so long as the contestants aren't forced into it? Will most people be able to enjoy sports if watching them reminds them of a terrible price the athletes are paying in health and longevity? The drug tests may not catch all drugs well, but I would guess that in general the more impact a drug makes on performance, the easier it is to catch. Also the drugs with the most dangerous side effects are probably easier to catch too simply because of those side effects. So the drug testing can't prevent all cheating, but it does help limit the damage done by them.

Death or Glory (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590011)

Every parent of a child also wants a fair, healthy playing environment for their children. It is from this environment that all our athletes spring. Of those who compete into adulthood, the overwhelming majority want to compete naturally. They want neither the expense, nor the risk of physical harm, associated with doping. They still want a fair playing field. It is grossly unfair to subject those competitor-athletes to a doped playing field. So, I vote for the clean playing field to protect the athletes who do not want to dope. It may be imprecise and it may be difficult, but it is the only hope of giving natural athletes a fair chance.

The idea of a doper league is stupid. You could NEVER have a doper league without heavy regulation. You'd be having Team Merck vs. Team Amgen vs. Team Roche vs. Team Genetix. The pressures on the doper athletes to push the envelope would be intense: Take pharma-X or go back to working at McDonalds . . .. Teams would become drug laboratories and athletes would become guinea pigs. The doper athlete cheaters of today would not like that--they want to cheat against a field that is generally natural--they certainly don't want to cheat against a field that is pushing dope right to the ragged edge of death or glory.

Vince Lombardi is the doping problem. (1)

spincycle1953 (721087) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590021)

The doping problem exists because winning is too important. As Vince said "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." If the outcomes of contests didn't matter in the minds of players, coaches, sponsors, or spectators, there would be no doping or cheating of any kind. Of course, there wouldn't be much organized sport, either.

Say what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24590035)

Is John Tierney too young to remember the steroid doping scandal that plagued the Russians? They had female athletes pumped up with steroids and testosterone to the point where they ended up getting sex changes and living their lives as men. That is a very serious result of doping, and is one of the reasons we check for drug use in the first place.

I'm assuming John is in his early twenties at best.

This sounds like a republican viewpoint to me (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590039)

just like their idea of economics and business : "let everyone do as they please in business, put no controls" and then rely on god's "invisible hand" to set the market straight. total bullcrap.

so you let people dope like idiots. and someone took an overload of dope, and made the world record for 100 m men's straight 7 seconds. and then 10 seconds later dropped dead. WHAT is going to happen ?

did the athlete break the record, or DOPE broke it ?

what POSSIBLE meaning left in testing human body's limits then ?

taking dope or artificial aid is not 'improving oneself'. its ARTIFICIAL.

its still like the republican view of economics - stupid because it says 'because rules and regulations cant keep up, lets ditch them'.

curiously, the SAME people who defend this never accepts to let go of rules and regulations in other social aspects of life. why not just let go of all rules and regulations, and let mob justice, and circumstantial evidence decide what is right and what is wrong ?

noooo sir. just as we continually develop and make our social rules better for the standards of modern times to get an incomparable level of civilization compared to 10.000 BC conditions, we need to put rules and regulations and improve them as needed in all aspects of life. sports is no exception. if you let everything go, mayhem ensues.

and there is no 'invisible' hand. its a fairy tale.

I've been saying this for years (1)

omfglearntoplay (1163771) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590041)

Honestly, I have. Not because I want kids to use drugs of any kind, I'm totally against it, but simply so that it's "fair". You would hope kids that want to take care of themselves would avoid the route to the Olympics then (just like anybody with a will to live without cauliflower ears avoids MMA sports). And then all the crazies can use drugs, cybernetic enhancements, and time travel to their hearts contents to go 1 mph faster in a sprint.

I really like watching the olympics, but I just hate the cheaters.

better idea (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590055)

Oh yeah, turn it into the mutant freak games. Great idea lol. There would be so many roid rage incidents, they'd just change every single event in the TV-Guide to boxing cuz that's what you're gonna see. A way better idea is to just restrict it to non-physical events like video games where steroids wouldn't help. Stimulants that help reaction time are WAY easier to test for so no amphetamine pwoered Halo matches here (and FFS double shot and other glitches = disqualifaction!)

What's the point? (3, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590059)

The appeal of sporting events like the Olympics is the idea of the dedication of regular people pushing themselves to extreme personal discipline. I respect athletes who get up at 5:30 am every morning to run or swim for 4 hours.

I don't respect someone who's doped themselves up to take a short cut; anymore that I do someone who pays off a ref. No one with impeccable discipline should be forced to compete with a cheater willing to destroy his body or mind.

BTW, this is what the recent Congressional hearings on steroids use were trying to warn us about. We now have kids in middle school pumping themselves up with steroids in order to secure positions on high school teams. The testimony from stars like Clemens was supposed to be bait to get people to pay attention, but the media couldn't see past the glittering lights of pro athletes to the testimony from the medical community.

Wouldn't it be cool? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590079)

Personally, I think it'd be pretty cool to have a set of "olympic" games where drugs and unorthodox practices are perfectly valid.
I would imagine that instead of athletes, we would have teams of people working together to monitor every aspect of the main competing athlete to ensure maximum performance and ability. Similar to how Formula 1 isn't necessarily about who's the best driver, but about who has the best tactics, the best training, the best team. Except it'll be interesting.
Better yet, make them take part in ALL games like a real tournament, so it's not so much "this guy is the best guy in the world at this ONE event" but more "this team outdid the other teams overall in the events thrown at them". That alone would mandate they be very careful about which drugs they actually decide to use. Increased strength? Great! But you'll be fucked when it comes to gymnastics because you're not familiar enough with your body's massive changes.

Obviously, there'd have to be limits on how far they can push themselves and how much they can pump themselves up, purely for health and safety reasons, but then it's a risk they'd have to take, just like any motorsport driver might not come out of the car alive if they crash, or how a boxer might end up with brain damage should they receive a hard enough blow.
Shit happens, it's all part of the risks involved.

Ethically Speaking (1)

KaeloDest (220375) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590087)

Hell Fscking No
This story ran in the same day as one about the future of information and ethics - Basically what information and research should be pursued and what may, just by nature be ethically or morally hard to bear. As an athlete and a proud one I say no.
          At what point does it become ok to then implant electrodes and or perform on stimulants. There are things that Air Force pilots use that I would not give to a gorilla. If it is chemicals then it is not a sport we are humans
        This is my knee jerk reaction But I honor the human condition

A sound rebuttle against this (5, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 6 years ago | (#24590105)

First, I read all three articles. Once you overcome that heart attack, allow me to rebuff this nonsense.

the NYT article and the summary say:
Before you dismiss this notion, consider what we're stuck with today. The system is ostensibly designed to create a level playing field, protect athletes' health and set an example for children, but it fails on all counts.

Exactly how does it fail on all accounts? Where is the proof of this allegation in this article? I don't myself see this as a broken system, so this statement is not self evident. If someone has some proof please provide it. To dissect this statement, I don't see athletes dropping dead in sports where steroids are banned, and I know plenty of kids who think Steroids are wrong. I also see that, at least in high schools, steroids are the exception, not the rule. I have however, seen stories of kids and athletes dropping dead from a steroid overdose, or running into emotional, or worse, legal, problems resulting from behavioral changes that current steroids are known to cause. So show me what's broken.

The rest of the article falls on it's face because it's making an assumption I don't see as being there.

The journal Nature, in an editorial in the current issue, complains that "antidoping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear"

If you read the Nature article, it's slant is more a rebuke of the drug testing authorities who are not open about their processes, and athletes who are having problems disputing drug tests. I agree with that, if you are accused of doping you have a moral right to contest that. But to me that doesn't give any weight to a pro doping stance.

If doping was allowed, would there be an increase in the rate of death and chronic illness among athletes? Would athletes have a shorter lifespan than the general population? Would there be more examples like the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in the former East-German republic? We do not think so. Only a small proportion of the population engages in elite sports. Furthermore, legalisation of doping, we believe, would encourage more sensible, informed use of drugs in amateur sport, leading to an overall decline in the rate of health problems associated with doping. Finally, by allowing medically supervised doping, the drugs used could be assessed for a clearer view of what is dangerous and what is not.

This is from the PDF. More false assumptions. Only a small proportion of the population engages in elite sports because only a few are gifted to play that sport. The point is that with doping, more may attempt to be just that gifted, and then you have an explosion of talent. Everyone wants to be like Mike, just shoot up and you will be! That will then lead to health problems and side effects that come from doping. Sure you are guaranteed to get muscles and improve your performance, but there's more to life than sports, and if you dope for sports, absolutely everything else suffers.

And it's not the kids and the athletes I really have a problem with when it comes to doping. The number one problem I have with doping are all the people surrounding kids and athletes who will pressure the kids to dope! Coaches with pride on the line (and maybe an increased paycheck), principals and superintendents trying to increase notoriety of their school district. Deans trying to increase enrollments. Endorsers promising big contracts for more touchdowns this season. The money chain will explode! All at the expense of he health of one kid who just wants to be badass and land a big contract. Other people get fat and rich at his expense. I absolutely abhor that possibility.

There are things in health science that are working to improve performance of athletes without doping. It's my understanding that doping not only gives you an unfair competitive edge, but also leads to health problems down the road. If that's not true, someone please dispute what I'm saying. But that's the basis for the ban country wide of Steroids. The last thing we need are mega corporations shoving athletic performance enhancing drugs down our gullets, because if you think prescription drugs are bad now..............

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