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An Olympic Games For Enhanced Athletes?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the also-a-high-altitude-olympics dept.

Biotech 245

ananyo writes "With the Olympics due to kick off on 27 July in London, Nature has taken a look at how far science would be able to push human athletic abilities if all restrictions on doping were lifted. The article mentions anabolic steroids (up to 38% increase in strength), IGF-1 (4% increase in sprinting capacity), EPO/blood doping (34% increase in stamina), gene doping and various drugs and supplements, as well as more 'extreme' measures such as surgery and prosthesis. Hugh Herr, a biomechanical engineer at MIT, says performance-enhancing technologies will one day demand an Olympics all their own. But is that time already upon us?"

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Prior Art (3, Informative)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696867)

Mad Magazine had this a long time ago. Pretty funny.

As did SNL... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40696949)

linky [hulu.com] ...

All Drug Olympics (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696995)

I can't watch this at work, but is this the "All Drugs Olympics"? Where the weightlifter's arms fall off while going for a world record?

Re:Prior Art (2)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697117)

Let the beefcakes and roid-ragers have their own games. Leave them to Wrestling fans who don't care about the cost of winning or beauty, only the content.
The rest of us idiots can watch normal people play sports. We wont have to hear about who did or didn't fail their drug tests anymore.

Keep those juiced-up losers away I am tired of hearing their names tossed around in the world of real sports.

Re:Prior Art (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697577)

The rest of us idiots can watch normal people play sports.

Normal? You consider Shaquille O'Niel or Babe Ruth to be "normal"? I guess you'ld consider Einstein normal as well? Hell, I wouldn't even consider myself as "normal".

Why is it OK for a baseball player with 20/20 vision to have LASIK surgery to improve his eyesight to above normal so he can hit more fast balls and make more home runs but not OK for him to take steroids to make his strength above normal to hit more home runs? I just don't see the difference.

Re:Prior Art (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697875)

There's that tawdry "level playing field" thing. Over the years, I've gone from not quite extreme far sightedness to vision that will pass the test at the DMV without glasses or contacts. Lucky, I guess. My brother needed surgery to correct his. Now he can see and above "normal".

But he doesn't throw a ball with his eyes.

I think you're setting the world up for Roid Ragers. Genetics, practice, combinations of motor control, physique, even yoga can make a difference. When you start adding in drugs, you won't get any ceilings, no responsible use. Once people start bulking up, they often don't stop.

Re:Prior Art (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697987)

Why is it OK for a baseball player with 20/20 vision to have LASIK surgery to improve his eyesight to above normal so he can hit more fast balls and make more home runs but not OK for him to take steroids to make his strength above normal to hit more home runs? I just don't see the difference.

Drugs are bad, mkay

Re:Prior Art (3, Informative)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698075)

We wont have to hear about who did or didn't fail their drug tests anymore.

It would not work like that. You would still have people trying to win the "enhancement restricted" events with enhancements because it might be easier for them that way than competing against or the other drugged/modded competitors in the "anything goes" variants.

Re:Prior Art (4, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697169)

Mad Magazine had this a long time ago. Pretty funny.

You will be modded funny, but I would mod you insightful.

Beside prior art, you may also look at other capital and publicity intensive spectacle sports, like Formula 1. You would have a few well funded stables, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer; and commentators would speculate non-stop whether which athlete is going to be recruited in which stable. Newspapers would delight in the gore of overdoses, deaths and bio-mechanical accidents of all kinds. Truly dystopian and I hope never to see pharmaceuticals get their way with such a monstrosity. It takes a mobster mentality to think of such a thing, even half seriously.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697475)

Isnt the olympics as it is prior art? id say we need an olympic game for non-enhanced athletes

Re:Prior Art (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697651)

Olympic-games-for-enhanced-athletes aka "Tour de France".

Cyborg battlebots gladiator arena 2000 (2)

Quakeulf (2650167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696873)

I'd love to watch this! :3

What for? (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696877)

The point of sport is exercising your body for the fun and health benefits. What is the point to kill yourself with drugs and supplements?

Re:What for? (2)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696903)

Well for starters baseball was a hell of a lot more interesting when they were jacked up enough to blast the ball out of the park...

Re:What for? (2)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697001)

Well for starters baseball was a hell of a lot more interesting when they were jacked up enough to blast the ball out of the park...

So just build smaller parks and you'll get the same effect.

Re:What for? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697079)

I disagree, games were a lot more interesting with teams focused on small ball. Manufacturing runs out of singles, walks and stealing than hoping to get somebody on base and hit it out of the park.

Those games were always a blast because things were always happening and you weren't just waiting for the clean up hitter for something to happen.

Re:What for? (5, Informative)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697419)

You can take your fundamentals, sir, and stick them where the sun don't shine. I want Hulk-like men who can make relativistic baseball a reality!! http://what-if.xkcd.com/1/ [xkcd.com]

Re:What for? (2)

Taser (315566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697789)

In a coversation with friends during the recent doping inquiry with Clemens, I proposed a split of MLB into enhanced and un-enhanced branches.

In the un-enhanced branch, every player rises to the top of their natural ability; if they catch you doping illegally, you would be banned from *both* branches, and never allowed to play professionally again.

In the enhanced branch, you could bat while wearing a test tube actively pumping neon-green ooze into your veins, and no rules would be broken, but that would be your choice.

What I'm against is people having to actively try to satisfy two competing ideals in the same sport (continual excitement, improvement and results / un-natural enhancing and active hiding of illicit enhancers).

Re:What for? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697159)

just follow the Yankees, between A-Rod, swisher, cano, granderson and jetter you are guaranteed at least one HR a game

Not your choice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40696917)

It's their choice, not yours, and certainly not government's. If the NFL decided to allow doping, there's nothing wrong or immoral about it. If the fans don't appreciate it, they will suffer the consequences. What's immoral is when government steps in with coercion and attacks voluntary association (i.e. what happens in the absence of government).

Re:Not your choice (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696985)

Wait. It isn't moral when the government says something, but it is moral when a human being is fed hormones and drugs so that the sponsors can peddle the next tennis shoe to a million voyeurs in front of all those TVs?

You have some morals you can be proud of.

Re:Not your choice (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697081)

Right, because I remember the time I was almost forced by the NFL to be a starting quarterback, was almost forced by the NBA to play professional basketball, etc.

Its their choice to:

A) Play their chosen sport professionally
B) Play in a league that allows it
C) Participate in taking those drugs/hormones

Re:Not your choice (5, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697183)

It isn't nearly as simple as you imagine it to be. Organized sports are a show business that has to consistently deliver extraordinary performances in order to attract coach potatoes and sponsors. The people who get into sports are attracted by the promise of fame and money, but this only goes to very few lucky ones.

Unfortunately, all who try are young, immature and quite often unaware of the consequences of the drugs they are using and the real costs they face. Many are lead into all this druggery by the coaches, peer pressure, etc. By the time they get the experience and maturity to be able to make a good decision it is already too late.

I've lost a friend to this kind of "sport". Heart attack at 29. Very moral.

Re:Not your choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697521)

You forgot about the poor working conditions of child labors living in overcrowded dorms cranking those tennis shoes and selling it at 100X mark up price for profit...

Re:Not your choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697639)

"Voluntary association" exists in reality as much as the "perfectly rational mind".

Unless you are religious, you will recognise that the human body is a machine, and can be influenced/programmed/trained in a certain way, from the leg right up to the brain. Humans never make perfectly free choices. A representative democratic republic is the product of recognition that human minds working together will overcome some of the mistakes that imperfect minds working alone inevitably make.

Of course, a small government just creates a power vacuum. Large corporations then take on a quasi-governmental role - who is there to stop them?

So your belief system is, theoretically and practically, a heap of bullshit. Fortunately, it's very rare for people who aren't developmentally challenged not to grow out of it once they reach senior year. Unfortunately, those who stubbornly stick to their theories rarely put their mother's money where their mouth is and buy a ticket to Somalia.

Re:What for? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696941)

While that may be true for most of us when it comes to the absolutely peak performers it's more about how far you can push the human body.

And it would be interesting to see someone with the right genetics, training and "supplements" and what they could achieve.

Re:What for? (4, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697031)

As an addendum, imagine the benefits if more effort was put into developing a safe and effective mystatin inhibitor/blocker.

Not only would it be useful for professional athletes and those suffering from muscular dystrophy, if it was safe it could also be used by "regular people". It probably wouldn't be a "wonder drug" to make everyone fit, not by a long shot, but it would help the average guy who can't quite find time to work out as often as he wants put on more muscle mass, it could help someone who's overweight store more energy as muscle rather than fat.

Obviously I'm speculating but there are definitely interesting applications once you look beyond "all changes to the human body that enhance performance are evil".

Re:What for? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696947)

No, the point of olympic/professional sports is making money via entertainment.

Not all drugs that increase performance will kill or even harm the user. I take a drug daily(prescribed by a doctor) that measurably improves the quality of my life and the length of it. It also improves my performance in some physical tests.

Re:What for? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697277)

I'm not sure Viagra is supposed to be used daily.

Re:viagra? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697381)

I take a drug daily(prescribed by a doctor) that measurably improves the quality of my life and the length of it. It also improves my performance in some physical tests.

Re:What for? (2)

donaldm (919619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697579)

No, the point of olympic/professional sports is making money via entertainment.

Definitely agree with you there.

Not all drugs that increase performance will kill or even harm the user. I take a drug daily(prescribed by a doctor) that measurably improves the quality of my life and the length of it. It also improves my performance in some physical tests.

When it comes to performance enhancement drugs for sports the possibility for misuse increases alarmingly and will in the medium to long term debilitate the user.

As for taking prescribed drugs that is fine although if possible it is not a good idea to prolong taking those drugs unless those drugs are vital to the continued health and well being of the person taking them. As an example my wife has glaucoma and has to take two different types of eye drops a day for life and they are not cheap however the choice of not taking them is to go blind. I am quite sure many readers can give good examples of prescribed drugs that are actually required for that persons life and well being.

Re:What for? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698041)

My drug taking is in a similar boat to your wife. To discontinue taking it would destroy the quality and likely quantity of my life.

Re:What for? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40696967)

The point of sport is exercising your body for the fun and health benefits. What is the point to kill yourself with drugs and supplements?

Health benefits? You must be kidding. It's all about being top dog - having Money, sex and drugs..

Re:What for? (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696971)

What is the point to kill yourself with drugs and supplements?

Legacy, baby.

Re:What for? (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696977)

Really?

Because I was getting the impression that the point of sports was to shift more Big Macs and pitchers of Coke, while a bunch of highly trained athletes were put to the test trying to best each other at slipping performance enhancers under the radar.

Re:What for? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697017)

Sport is when you go out and do it, not when you watch in from behind that bucket of potato chips or popcorn. Well, at least in my world.

Re:What for? (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697091)

Sport is when you go out and do it, not when you watch in from behind that bucket of potato chips or popcorn. Well, at least in my world.

You seem to have wandered into the foreign territory of slashdot, where exercise is climbing the stairs from mom's basement to raid the fridge.

Re:What for? (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697093)

What does that have to do with the Olympics?

Re:What for? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697199)

Read their mission statement, smartypants.

Re:What for? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697013)

The point of sport is exercising your body for the fun and health benefits. What is the point to kill yourself with drugs and supplements?

Even in magical fairy-land where nobody is shooting god-knows-what in the locker room, that statement is basically nonsense at the pro level. A bit of amateur physical activity of some flavor or another? Sure, you might get a scrape or something; but it'll stave off the cardiac larditis.

High level athletics, though, tends to trash the players pretty badly in one or more ways depending on sport.

Re:What for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697045)

The point of sport is exercising your body for the fun and health benefits. What is the point to kill yourself with drugs and supplements?

The modern post WW2 Olympics was never about sports.
You must have missed all those east german female athletes that looked like men. Guess why ?
And they weren't the only ones using drugs to enhance performance. US, Canada, "insert your favorite first world country here".
Pick and choose my friend. It's all a big fucking lie.

Regional sports competitions are much more interesting than the corporate show that the Olympics have become. The Olympic motto is "money above all else, sports and athletes be damned".

Re:What for? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697551)

  1. That's loser talk, nerd.
  2. Many (not all) athletes don't really have any other career options.
  3. "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." ~George Best

Re:What for? (1)

Arrepiadd (688829) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697625)

The point of sport is exercising your body for the fun and health benefits.

That is true at the level amateurs do it. At the professional level fun is long gone and the health benefits are not so clear. Just look at Michael Phelps... to train for the 2008 Olympics he was training 5 or 6 hours a day and eating over 10000 calories a day. Or look at the pictures of Chinese 5 year old kids preparing to be gymnasts in three Olympiads. Fun isn't that their faces convey.

Re:What for? (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698029)

Apparently not; unless you really believe the point of everything is the point that you define.

Re:What for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698049)

The point of sport is entertaining millions of fat fucks and raking in millions upon millions of dollars.
If these asshats are willing to accept such absurd salaries, they should at least be willing to take on a bit of risk.
Nuclear plant workers, airplane pilots, police, and shit, even active duty combat troops don't get nearly this kind of money. You don't hear them complaining.

On a related note... (3, Interesting)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696897)

I've wondered what F1 would be like without all the restrictions. Modifying humans to this extreme is probably going to have unforeseen consequences in the long term. However with F1, if you were to take out the human element and have AI or remote control, you needn't worry about human safety and could lift all sorts of restrictions, allowing R+D budgets to be spent on whole new automotive areas.

Re:On a related note... (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697051)

Or, if we want it to stay an actual automobile, what about putting a dummy inside? If you get to the finish line with the dummy damaged, you're disqualified. Thus, we could have no risk to actual humans while still keeping the basic rules.

Re:On a related note... (1)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697123)

I think that's a horrible idea. The thrill in watching F1 is not just watching cars go fast. It's about watching real humans test their skills, stamina, and guts in very demanding situations. It's interesting because something is at stake: the lives and well-being of the drivers. Just watching robot cars go fast around a track would quickly bore me.

Re:On a related note... (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697439)

Nothing prevents the unmanned cars to still be driven by humans. If aircraft can already be driven remotely, why cars wouldn't?

Re:On a related note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698085)

You didn't read his post, or you're too stupid to get his point. Try again.

Re:On a related note... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697947)

Only geeks would watch robot/RC F1, this has been considered a long time ago. There's also the issue of money, make it too expensive and there will be less competitors, recently F1 has been working to effectively cap costs for this reason, and that's why you see the "low budget" (by F1 standards LOL) teams coming back now.

Who would watch? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696909)

We can already make a "Robot's Olympics". Isn't auto racing just enhanced human racing?

Some people would tune in to see the products that are being advertised. If the "Runalong 6000" leg prosthetic beats the "Leapfrog 200", I might be interested if I'm in the market for my own enhancement.

Health issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40696931)

Unless they want to die at 35 of a cancer or something, I wouldn't advise it.
One of the reason those kind of things are banned is because they are dangerous

Re:Health issue (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697063)

Unless they want to die at 35 of a cancer or something, I wouldn't advise it.
One of the reason those kind of things are banned is because they are dangerous

But its for the glory! And quite a few people on here have said that they would take 1 way rides to Mars for the glory of it, no matter what the risk.
 
There are always going to be people who will prioritize "glory" over anything else. In fact Olympic athletes are already doing that as a 9-5 job is a hell of a lot east to do than olympic training.

Re:Health issue (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697099)

Unless they want to die at 35 of a cancer or something, I wouldn't advise it. One of the reason those kind of things are banned is because they are dangerous

On the other hand, the present regulatory state(where even using the ones that are legal by prescription can get you tossed right out of the sport) has unfortunate side effects of its own: since development of assays for novel drugs tends to lag behind, but not too far behind, development of novel drugs, there is a strong incentive for people to move away from drugs with the most testing and data available and toward novel ones with poorly characterized risks, to avoid being caught. Also, because the doping is largely clandestine, society at large is denied a valuable source of information about the effects and risks of performance enhancing drugs.

Poor Little Tink Tink (1)

cdh (6170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696939)

Poor Little Tink Tink [youtube.com]

an Olympics all their own? (1)

mister2au (1707664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40696993)

Maybe not an Olympics, but competition with lower drug standard - almost guaranteed at some point ... like WWE, bodybuilding or MMA all have a niche

But just like Boxing still has a prestige in the world of MMA/UFC, the Olympics will always have a place. I see 2 scenarios:

1. we are probably better placed in drug testing than at any time in the last 40 years so we continue to go down that path
2. the drugs out-perform the testing and some events become farcical (eg 100m sprint is getting there!) whilst other events grow in prestige (eg 400m where never strength nor endurance alone is enough and it is likely to stay cleaner)

Oh boy (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697021)

When I was a kid back in the '80s, I made a fake newspaper with geoPublish, a desktop publishing program on the C64. It was about cyborgs demanding their own Olympics... I just re-read it and it's cringe inducingly awful, but I like to think I thought of this first!

Re:Oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697153)

and yet you were able to remind me of geos today.

Yaaaaaaay!

Re:Oh boy (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697765)

Try "I Robot" by Isaac Asimov (1950). Some Science fiction writings dating back to the nineteenth century also covered robots however I am not sure they demanded their own Olympics, although some writers had them trying to take over the earth.

Re:Oh boy (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697977)

With the sheer number of books Asimov wrote on that theme I'd be shocked if that specific topic didn't come up at some point.

Sponsored by Pfizer (5, Funny)

Phrogz (43803) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697023)

And then we won't have athletes representing countries any more, but drug companies.

"Well, GlaxoSmithKline are looking great, taking home four gold medals, two silvers and five bronzes so far. This is sure to push their stock price up substantially for the coming year."

Did not RTFA.

Re:Sponsored by Pfizer (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697995)

Hey don't laugh that's basically how F1 works. That's probably exactly what would happen.

Modded "Funny"; should be "Insightful" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698093)

Posting anonymously because I already moderated, but I don't think you're far from the truth. It wouldn't be about human endeavor, but about advances in pharmaceuticals and technology. Athletic meets and sporting events would become trade exhibitions for the corporations to show off their wares.

as well as more 'extreme' measures such as surgery (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697025)

as well as more 'extreme' measures such as surgery and prosthesis.

Id just bring a fucking motorbike to the race.

The olympics should promote sports (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697057)

Freakshows with a lifespan of 30 years wouldn't be the best way to do that.

It will end up in one contest (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697085)

... Just like major league baseball.

No. never. (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697109)

The idea of athletic competition is to hone the mind and body to win. Yes, there are genetic aberrations, but this natural and normal.

But when you make the competition about the tech, there is no human element in the drama. The human does not even matter. Only the tech does.

Except for the fact that you are talking about horrible consequences for the human lab rat in the equation with any cutting edge biotech.

So you have:

1. no human drama. it's about the tech. race robots or cars or boats instead
2. destroyed human bodies. the price is too high

Are we going back to the gladiator days of Rome next? Why don't we do that? Because in modern civilization we are suppose to have some morality and decency about what we consider fair game for spectacle.

The Olympics is primarily entertainment. Nothing justifies a Hunger Games disregard for the health of the competitors in an effort to create diversion. To cram cutting edge biotech into the human body, with unknown consequences is a dystopian, amoral, and frankly, evil suggestion.

So we will simply have to safeguard against human biotech mods in normal Olympics competition forever. It won't be easy, there will be cheats that get through against all best possible effort. And this is as good as it can or should ever get.

To cross that threshold into accepting body mods is to accept destroyed human bodies for the sake of entertainment. Not going to happen in a moral world.

Re:No. never. (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697189)

Not going to happen in a moral world.

I might agree with this conclusion, but I'm compelled to ask whether or not we still really live in a moral world, since the popular conception in industrialized societies these days seems to be to view ideas like "good" and "bad" as culturally subjective, rather than absolutes that exist for all human beings.

Re:No. never. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697353)

in some societies, you sacrifice a goat for weddings, in others you break a wine glass

but murder is wrong in all societies

the point is: cultural relativity does not neutralize or surpass universal HUMAN values, cultural values are SECONDARY to universal human morality

the next valid question is to ask which is cultural and which is universal, and there are gray areas here. but the existence of those gray areas still does not nullify universal morality. for example, find me a society where cannibalism is acceptable, and i will say this society should be condemned

i never understood this wishy washy spineless attitude that cultural relativity means we cannot judge other societies. of course we can judge other societies, and they can judge us as well. we live in an age of internet and jet travel, the cute cultural silos of the past do not matter anymore, and always were a cheat. we are one species, and only one universal judgment matters on important moral issues. this doesn't mean everyone should go shopping in malls and eat mcdonalds, it means murder is wrong, everywhere, period, and bullshit contrived appeals to cultural relativity to accept horrible atrocities is completely wrong, lame, and spinelessness

Re:No. never. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697545)

Some societies look upon things that we accept as normal as abominable though.... such as homosexuality. I'm not bringing this example up to argue that homosexuality is or even might be wrong, I'm suggesting that it seems to me that morality is always very much based on culture and upbringing, rather than on any sort of universal morality.

As for the idea that there could be some sort of universal morality around ideas such as murder, that's not really valid either... since what one considers to be "murder" in the first place can be subjective. One society might consider the killing of foreigners to not be considered murder, while another does. To bring it a little closer to home, one society might not consider the killing of unborn babies to be murder, while another does... and so on. The very notion of what constitutes murder itself is a decision made at a cultural level, and so there's no real universal morality even for something like that.

I'm not suggesting that we cannot judge different cultures... of course we can... but it seems to me that they are equally free to judge ours. It appears, in fact, that any culture is perfectly entitled to believe that it's own view of morality is the best one.... that doesn't make it necessarily true, however... nor does it even mean that there even *IS* a "truth" to be known.

Re:No. never. (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697673)

no there is only a universal morality. because we're all human beings. i don't cross the rio grand or the straights of bosporus and suddenly magic happens and changes the parameters of human interaction. this is a baseline: human morality. nothing logically invalidates it or transgresses against it

homosexuality is universally ok. societies that consider it wrong are engaging in violating the human rights of the individual. why are you so spineless about this? make the logic and reason on the question of consent and personal freedom, and arrive at the logical conclusion

of course our culture is just as valid to be judged as any other. that's the whole point: no culture is so holy and sacred that anyone with a sense of logic and reason can't criticize it. in fact, a child born into a culture, any culture, is a blank slate. as they apply their own logic and reason to the culture they are being assimilated into, that they might see, for example, the treatment of homosexuals to be wrong, is just as valid as an outsider of that culture saying the treatment of homosexuals is wrong. also, all cultures change over time, with every new generation. they naturally seed and pollinate with other cultures. there is no unmoving, unquestionable concept in any culture that is permanent or unchanging. in the past, there was no internet or jet air travel. very different cultures sprung up in mostly isolated human populations. but we are in a global world now

logic and reason flattens all cultural relativity. no culture is a white elephant beyond criticism. to say it is is a kind of moral cowardice that in fact helps evil in this world

Re:No. never. (1)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698091)

There's a lot of misunderstanding pertaining to the phrase 'cultural relativism' floating about. It's original intent was very specific and had nothing to do with 'moral relativism' either.

A brief intro read on the subject, worth a glance as it leads to other interesting readings. You can indeed arrive at a 'universal' sense of morals through logical processes. However this does not mean that humanity will keel over and accept it. (Slightly off topic even the US has yet to ratify certain wartime treaties that nearly every other country in the world has ratified.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_relativism#Comparison_to_moral_relativism [wikipedia.org]

As a starting point, humanity does share the 'golden rule' as an idea, as it has been observed across cultures throughout recorded history. Of course this rule never applied globally, but only to one's immediate tribe, and still within the confines of that particular culture.

Don't call this "sport" (3, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697129)

Olympia has long since ceased to be a sports event. This is entertainment delivered by modern day gladiators who sacrifice health and life in a quest for money and immoratility through fame.....

Re:Don't call this "sport" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697395)

[...] in a quest for money and immoratility through fame.....

Funniest Freudian slip EVER :-)

Re:Don't call this "sport" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697405)

That was always the point of the Olympiad, especially the original Greek one, and that doesn't preclude it from being sport.

That said, performance-enhancing technologies already have their own Olympics: it's called The Olympics. Doping goes back many, many decades. The use of performance-enhancing drugs predates any anti-doping initiatives by a long ways. Technology has always played some part in sports, it's just that some are deemed legal (for reasons I usually agree with) and some aren't.

A matter of time (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697219)

I can't wait for the one man three legged race.

This is why. Arms race indeed. (2)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697247)

As Bob Page says, "their... ethical inflexibility has allowed us to make progress in areas they refuse to consider." (a quote from the opening of Deus Ex that has stayed with me over the years). As a side note, the military has been using performance-enhancing drugs like dextroamphetamine for decades so in a way there is nothing new here. When it comes down to the crunch, humans will use any enhancement they can get their hands on. Competition driving technological development.

When we have the technology, we've the desire to test it out, see what it can do, see what its effects are. From a purely practical standpoint this would be the driving reason -why-. Much like how in racing, it isn't just skill, it's also the engineering that is being tested.

This may sound strangely immoral, and I agree the morals can be debated, but I don't think the answers will turn out to be as simple as 'doping is always wrong' (queue controversial studies about caffeine and athleticism) or alternately 'well the athletes are consenting' (when you factor in potential societal pressures, long term side effects and other things--for example fighting in hockey is always under debate, as it is an expectation from some of the fans, but is over time being documented as causing a lot of harm both physically and psychologically to the players, aka the hockey suicides over the past couple years).

So? (2, Interesting)

HalfFlat (121672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697263)

Top-level elite athletes are already genetic outliers who have also benefitted from good fortune in early training and nutrition and, typically, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of targetted training.

It's not just a matter of will power or clever training schedules. It matters not how strong be my willpower, or how dedicated my training: I will never be an olympic-class athlete.

Bring on the drugs, and the treatments. It would make elite sport more equitable, and further, the medical risks taken by those with the burning desire to compete at any cost will allow the greater majority of people to benefit from enhancements with more safety.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697877)

...It would make elite sport more equitable, and further, the medical risks taken by those with the burning desire to compete at any cost will allow the greater majority of people to benefit from enhancements with more safety.

This. We already have people essentially being guinea pigs for clinical trials because they have illness a or b. If people are willing to be the prime testers for whatever enhancement may be around the corner then why not? They get potential fame and glory in return for a potentially shorter (sometimes much so) lifespan with other potential side effects. Companies won't realy want to have their multi-million/billion dollar men/women expire prematurely and in potentially bad light so they'll hopefully put in some extra work to make sure the process is safe. Eventually it'll be safe and cheap enough for the general public and everyone benefits.

This is no different then the first explorers wanting to be the first to, astronauts wanting to be pioneers in space, and experimental clinical drug trial members. Although I would argue that those in the third group, having often a lot less to lose (try this drug or die) takes a lot of free will out of the equation that the athletes still have.

The Olympics? (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697283)

If this idea is even slightly feasible, then the Olympics is not the starting grounds for it. Getting the countries of the world to agree on that? Non-prescription steroids are not even legal in a lot of countries. Let's try a small enhanced league in Amsterdam first.

We will know when the time is right... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697287)

We probably won't have to make the choice ourselves.

Just maintain the status quo until JC Denton infiltrates the WADA HQ and, with superhuman precision, assassinates the entire Executive Committee and Foundation Board. At that point, we'll know that it's time to hand the Paralympic Games over to the unaugmented humans and leave the serious competition to the cyborgs....

A brave new world. (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697469)

Throw in some eugenics, mix in a few Nazi-type experiments and we are off to a brave new world. Aldous would be so proud.

I'll just leave this here (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697535)

Achilles's Choice [amazon.com] by Larry Niven (of RingWorld's fame).

Don't Forget What The Olympics is Actually About (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697575)

Sportsmanship? Camaraderie? No, and no.

The Olympics is about making money. If letting artificially enhanced athletes on the field will sell more coca-cola and big macs, it will eventually be allowed.

No strap-ons (0)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697635)

There shouldn't be a lot of rules about what is and isn't allowed in such an Olympics, but i think the #1 rule ought to be "No strap-ons" unless specifically allowed by the particular event. By which i mean no strapping on an exoskeleton just before the even, racing to the finish line, then taking it off again.

If they want to get extra servos surgically implanted in their legs, or replace their legs completely with something mechanical that they have to deal with in their day to day life, that's fine. But as soon as you start allowing temporary attachments you're going to get into arguments about why an exoskeleton should be allowed and a motorcycle or car or jet plane shouldn't. And although it would be great for a couple events where it's specifically allowed i don't think you'd want _every_ event to devolve into who can come up with the biggest, strongest, fastest set of Starship Troopers/MechWarrior armor.

what about the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697719)

What about the children who roid up and still dont make it?
Will we want ALL the high school athelete wanna bes taking all sorts of drugs?

Birth of the Juicer :) (1)

LoP_XTC (312463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697733)

And so the birth of the Juicer beings :) ... they'll have to make sure they get hefty contracts as that eight-year life span (burn-out) can be a bitch and you want to make sure you party it up before you burn-out.

Now when does the Glitterboy get introduced?

Re:Birth of the Juicer :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698027)

And so the birth of the Juicer beings :) ... they'll have to make sure they get hefty contracts as that eight-year life span (burn-out) can be a bitch and you want to make sure you party it up before you burn-out.

Now when does the Glitterboy get introduced?

Damn a RIFTS reference. :)
The Glitterboys were always my preferred characters. Those suits were amazing as the rail fucking guns.

You mean obvious enhancements (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697741)

In the Ukraine, they have two weightlifting leagues: the standard one, where you're allowed to take steroids, and the natural league, where you're allowed to take the expensive steroids that don't show up during testing.

The impact on high school and collegiate athletes (1)

operand (15312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697745)

This could have a negative impact on high school and collegiate sports that have similar options in the Olympics (e.g. Swimming, Track & Field, etc). These athletes could chose to simply dope up in their teens then if they get caught/banned, they at least have a financial avenue which is these Super Olympics. The financial avenue would derive from endorsement contracts which could end up in the six or seven figures depending on televsion ratings, etc.

Lance Armstrong can be the poster boy for this. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40697889)

As soon as they convict that cheating white trash scumbag of what he did, which
was CHEAT in every single Tour De France.

Are you listening, Lance ?

Everyone with a brain already knows you are guilty as hell, you little
Texas twat.

Oh my, the bliss! (1)

pyzondar (1234980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697915)

I have been dreaming of a real rollerball/speedball circuit since I was a little child. Of course it should have steroids!

Somebody patent it! (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40697969)

"A novel approach to enhancing athletic performance in an officially sanctioned, augmentation supported sporting event"

What about prosthetics (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#40698023)

This year a runner using artificial "spring-type" running legs will be allowed to compete in the regular Olympics, against runners whose only artificial advantage over what mother nature gave them is their shoes.

While I have sympathy with athletes who have lost their legs, running with artificial legs is a qualitatively different sport than running with natural legs. We have no way of knowing if this athlete is at a disadvantage, at an advantage, or on par with the athlete that he would have been if he had natural legs and underwent comparably rigorous training. If we KNEW he was on par, then I can see letting him compete. If we KNEW he was at a disadvantage, I can see letting him "compete up." If we KNEW he had an advantage from the artificial legs, then he should not be allowed to compete in the regular races, but "natural-leg" athletes should be able to "compete up" in a race designed for people with legs like he has.

Since we don't - and probably can't - know for certain, any race that he medals in will be under a cloud, the other top-4 finishers will be wondering "what if he hadn't lost his legs, would he still have run as fast?"

it already is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698055)

The anti doping measures are a joke.

At some point I was thinking that they might as well let people dope up all they want, but as it has been already said here:

-It's going to become a "who has better pharmaceuticals" competition
-It gives a bad example/goals to youths
-Leads to abuse/misuse...health problems.

Problem is, it's already there.
I see middle-aged guys playing garage league hockey that take ephedrin during games, misuse creatine, etc.
Why? it's there, everybody does it...

All in all, I think sports has taken a too big place in our lives, and I dont mean playing sports to keep fit, I mean the industry and the money involved, the fanboyism. All the pro sports people are idolized and millionaires, but they'll never cure cancer or discover something to benefit humanity. "Bread and games" has been around for too long, it's time to wake up.

The only place I thought performance enhancing drugs could be benefitted from is in the military, but as a country not at war, I fear what happens to soldiers all doped up and in roid rage when they go home to their families, or go out in gang to have a (fuckton of ) beer...

Tricky timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40698077)

You need to use just the right long-term dosage that your athlete has a chance of completing an Olympics season in top condition before dying of organ failure.

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