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Biotech Medicine

Let the Games Be Doped 773

Posted by timothy
from the hobble-out-for-amputations dept.
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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Let the Games Be Doped

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  • Sure, and then.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exazoid (212023) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:34PM (#24589521)

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

  • Anybody remember? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:34PM (#24589529)

    East German Gymnasts?

    That is reason enough.

  • Won't work. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:35PM (#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.

  • by Naughty Bob (1004174) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:35PM (#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.
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:36PM (#24589559) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • by rshol (746340) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:37PM (#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.
  • by JimFive (1064958) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:43PM (#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
  • Garbage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by immcintosh (1089551) <slashdot.ianmcintosh@org> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:44PM (#24589741) Homepage

    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.

  • by nlawalker (804108) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:44PM (#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:Won't work. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:46PM (#24589783) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:46PM (#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.

  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:47PM (#24589811) Homepage

    ...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.

  • Love the hyperbole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:47PM (#24589817) Homepage Journal

    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?

  • Re:Garbage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by genner (694963) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:49PM (#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:Won't work. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xenn (148389) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:51PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:52PM (#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.

  • by JimFive (1064958) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:53PM (#24589917)
    Wrong direction, everyone should be riding the exact same bike. The Tour is about the athletes not the equipment.

    --
    JimFive
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:54PM (#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.

  • Gladiators anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by readin (838620) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:57PM (#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.
  • What's the point? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:01PM (#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.

  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:03PM (#24590105) Homepage

    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..............

  • by rudeboy1 (516023) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:04PM (#24590121)

    I disagree with your first statement. I think it depends on what sport you are talking about. Take football for example, where even from an early age, many kids who show a genetic or physical aptitude for the sport begin training to become specialized athletic instruments. In Texas, and other southern states, it is not terribly uncommon for parents to hold their children back a year in school so that they will be bigger to compete in football.
    At the professional level, our current stock of "drug free" football players are some of the most fearsome and amazing physical specimens to ever walk the earth. And the willingness already inherent to the sport to risk life and limb for results is already accepted by both athlete and fan. Do some reading on what it's like to be a lineman in between games or off season. Read about how a lot of these former players have completely ruined their bodies in regard to retirement. The nature of game as I describe here would welcome the next stage in human evolution. Players who are accustomed to sacrificing their bodies for the game will gladly volunteer for doping, "bionic" body treatments and the like. Plus, since our society is unfortunately much more centered on professional sports, than on education and science, doing so will immediately create a high budget research field for human enhancement, both at the molecular and the tissue levels. No one is holding a gun to these athletes' heads, (not in this country anyway) telling them to do these things to themselves. If a grown man of consentual age wants to put himself in harm's way, I see no need to intervene.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:06PM (#24590137) Journal
    Anyone have a link that works outside the USA, or a description of what the parent is talking about?
  • Re:Won't work. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:08PM (#24590169) Journal

    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.

    Not to mention that everyone metabolizes 'substances' at different rates.

    How do you tell the difference between a fast metabolizer taking 75mg, looking like they're taking 50mg and a slow metabolizer taking 50, but looking like they're taking 75mg?

    You essentially shift the competition to a different, internal playing field.
    And its a playing field that isn't affected by training or diet regimines.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgarra23 (1109651) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:10PM (#24590203)

    My dad is an athlete and has to use a steroid to combat his psoriasis. Your argument is a fat steaming lump of FAIL.

    On top of that he has to use a barbiturate for medical purposes (epilepsy).

    I suppose as far as you're concerned his achievements are bullshit.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:12PM (#24590235) Journal
    Umm. The olympics are already a freak show competition, as are all high level sporting events.

    Seriously. You don't get to be a world class athlete by being "normal". Why, for example, is having crazy high hematocrit because your ancestors have been gasping for air at MANYthousand feet above sea level since forever good, while having crazy high hematocrit because you've been shooting a little EPO evil?

    The whole thing looks particularly silly with the "biological passport" system they've been pushing. Because athletes are carefully selected freaks, they can't easily tell which ones are doping and which ones are just naturally high in testosterone or whatever(Wait! You mean that the world's best athletes are likely to have naturally high concentrations of chemicals that aid athletic performance? Shocking!). So, the idea is to do exhaustive historical testing, so as to decide what is "natural" for that athlete(rather than the current system of just assigning an arbitrary cutoff point).
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:13PM (#24590261) Homepage Journal

    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.

    Yup. It's called "speedo".

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Metasquares (555685) <slashdotNO@SPAMmetasquared.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:16PM (#24590293) Homepage
    This leads to a "tragedy of the commons", though, where athletes can no longer compete on their own merits without using (potentially harmful) performance enhancing drugs because everyone else is using them. I don't think we want to go down that road.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:18PM (#24590313) Homepage

    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?

    Also, by effectively forcing all the competitors to get doped in order to stay competitive, you're also effectively forcing everyone who wants to try out to do the same thing. On down the chain it goes. So essentially every kid with dreams of making it into the Olympics will be encouraged to resort to increasingly dangerous performance enhancements from the get-go.

    There's just no reason to condone these sorts of practices. The summary says, "Before you dismiss the notion, consider what we're stuck with today â" a system designed to create a level playing field, protect athletes' health and set an example for children, that fails on all counts." I don't see how encouraging athletes to out-steroid each other is going to help.

    If you buy into those sorts of things, then you may as well say, "What if we allowed people to murder each other without legal consequences? Before you dismiss the notion, consider what we're stuck with today-- a system designed to protect people, discourage violence, and punish the guilty, that fails on all counts. People murder other people and get away with it, while other people are falsely accused."

  • by Angostura (703910) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:21PM (#24590349)

    You're being modded funny, but you should also be modded insightful, because that is probably how it would start. It would end with the Men's 1500 meters being won by a chap in a Formula 1 car, or perhaps a helicopter. Afterall - why not? All sports have arbitrary rules, designed to keep the game and competition fun. Without them, the game becomes a simple and boring arms race.

  • by cavis (1283146) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:23PM (#24590381)
    Weekend Update: All Drug Olympics [truveo.com]

    I'm guessing that won't make it onto NBC's primetime Olympic broadcast.
  • by slartibart (669913) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:27PM (#24590437)

    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.

    The swimmers? They're not particularly muscular compared to other, more strength-based sports. Too much muscle makes you a bad swimmer (which is why there's virtually no steroid use in men's swimming).

    I was a world ranked swimmer and national finalist in the late 90's, and never took any illegal drugs. In fact, I didn't even use creatine. I was never offered illegal drugs by coaches, and never heard anyone mention them in a positive light. My interest in the sport wasn't to see how much attention I could get no matter the cost. I wanted to see what my (natural) limits were. I really can't vouch for the whole sport, but I can at least say with some confidence that some of my close friends were elite swimmers and didn't do any illegal drugs either. Our unusual V02 ability (compared to nonswimmers) was purely from hours and hours of hard training. I swam more than 25,000 miles in a span of about 10 years.

    That said, however, there certainly are cheaters in swimming. I just don't think it's very widespread. Fortunately, except for every 4 years, the whole world basically ignores swimming. That takes away a lot of motivation to cheat. There just isn't much money or fame in it.

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

    by Al Dimond (792444) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:28PM (#24590443) Journal

    The reasons may be purely economic if you take a broad enough view of economics to render your final solution impossible. Olympic athletes have done just as much doping as professional ones. They don't get paid for their olympic performances, but they benefit economically in other ways (endorsements, and special career opportunities that come with celebrity status). Besides, sponsors and coaches may have money on the line in more direct ways, and could pressure amateurs. To eliminate all this, you'd have to *fully* eliminate the money incentive, which means that nobody is even interested.

    But I don't think the reasons are purely economic anyway. People cheat all the time for little reason but just to win. Have you ever just dominated a little kid at checkers? The last thing they do before throwing the board at you is to try to cheat. People like winning. People that like winning even more than most are much more likely to train hard in sports for their whole lives. And people that have trained very hard are likely to become more determined to win, in order to validate that their effort was worth something. These people want to win a lot and they're surrounded by people that also want them to win.

  • Fault (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PatTheGreat (956344) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:31PM (#24590499) Homepage
    Look, when an athlete dies these days due to an overdose on whatever steroid or performance enhancing drug he's secretly taking, it's his fault, sure, you could argue that the culture of sports and the culture of having to be better than the next guy drove him to it, but in the end it's illegal and against the rules and he shouldn't have done it. If you legalize doping, then it's no longer his fault. It's allowed in the rules and it's encouraged and if that's the case then doping wouldn't be a personal choice for the athlete, it would be a requirement to be able to keep up with all the other althetes in his field. So when an athlete dies doping in a dope-okay world, then he is a cruel victim of the system and the system is to be blamed. That's why you can't legalize doping. Make it legal, then people will be FORCED to do it, and then people will die because y'all thought it was too inconvienient to try to make better tests.
  • by pthisis (27352) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:32PM (#24590533) Homepage Journal

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

    I wish that were the case.

    Bodybuilding didn't take off until steroids entered the picture. The "natural" bodybuilding events (see, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_bodybuilding [wikipedia.org] ) are basically niche sports by comparison.

    American football does pretty well, and while performance drug use is not technically allowed it's been essentially overlooked since steroids entered the league in 1962. Nobody has the same "strike them from the record books" outcry against teams like the 1970s Steelers and 1980s 49ers dynasties who had players that are well-known to have used performance enhancing drugs regularly. Even with the increased public pressure against them, you see the Carolina Panthers and others (Rodney Harrison with the Pats, Chris Henry with the Titans, really tons of others not limited to any small set of teams) get tiny slaps on the wrist and at most maybe a 4-game suspension.

    Heck, rather than outrage you actually see people writing things about guys like Shaun Merriman like "17 sacks in 12 games last year? Without the 4 game steroid suspension that extrapolates to 22.67 sacks for the season and the NFL record is 22.5!"

    Hardly seems like people care enough about extant widespread use for it to ruin the sport.

  • by Fishbulb (32296) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:34PM (#24590549)

    You're naively assuming that it's up to the athletes at all. Given what goes on with doping being illegal, it would be a field day for sport club owners and countries; anyone who would benefit greatly without taking any of the risk. For them, to hell with the health concerns of the athlete, as long as they bring back sacks of gold. (and silver and bronze, but mostly gold).

  • by rikkards (98006) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:36PM (#24590589) Journal

    Love to see a Recumbent on the Pyrenees or the Alps. It would be interesting to see what tech could do to allow one to climb those hills.

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:41PM (#24590667)

    If you don't set clear limits on technology in sports, the competition is no longer one of athletics, but of engineering. The skill and effort of the participant becomes less important than the biochemists and engineers who have "rebuilt him".

    While such a competition among bioengineers would be quite interesting to see, it would be highly unethical to use humans like this, as building materials in a glorified Pinewood Derby contest.

    In all sports that can be called sports, the emphasis is on the effort of the participant, not the technology. Even technological sports like auto racing set up strict limits to the kinds of technology that can be used. Otherwise, NASCAR racing, for example, would just be a contest to see who can stick the biggest engine on four wheels.

    Sports already has plenty of controversy with possibly-unbalanced technological advantantages: consider the Speedo LZR racing swimsuit, Oscar Pistorius, and so on. Allow biotech into the mix, and it's a nightmare. And we lose focus on what's important: the athlete.

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

    by carlmenezes (204187) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:41PM (#24590675) Homepage

    Make doping legal and you destroy the games. Pure and simple. You will effectively turn the games into more comedy than sport when you suddenly start seeing crazy side-effects resulting from all kinds of dope combinations.
    In addition, you will also be forcing athletes to dope if they ever want to have a hope of winning. That cannot be a good thing because you're forcing them to basically destroy themselves mentally and physically.
    Finally, if you were the athlete and you were all doped up because you had to and you won a race, would you not wonder whether it was you or the dope? Do we want to take that sense of achievement away from our athletes? Definitely not.
    The Olympics are there to show us what the human body is capable of when trained. Not when doped. Make that a separate event, where they can dope and then see how many will want to participate when they know others will be too.
    What encourages doping in an athlete is the drive to win at any cost and a mentality that makes them cheat. Cheating is a reality and will always be a problem that has to be dealt with until we have a way to make it impossible to cheat. Its the mental drive to break rules if necessary. Do you seriously think that new rules will help the cause?

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:41PM (#24590679)

    If we're going to make people ruining their lives with drugs a spectator sport, we really should go all the way. Give them some swords and throw in some lions (also drugged up, of course).

  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:42PM (#24590699)

    draw the line at androids! no athlete should have less then 40% natural body parts! THEIR body parts!

    Like this runner? [wikipedia.org]

  • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:43PM (#24590709)
    I don't know why you call an arms race "simple and boring". To me, having all these people who dedicate their entire lives to something as inane as being able to run faster than other people within the arbitrary confines of some set of rules is what is "simple and boring". Trying to engineer an actually better solution is neither "simple" or "boring".
  • already the case (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boombaard (1001577) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:45PM (#24590743) Journal
    Yet you feel that this isn't the case already?

    Honestly, I can understand how people who care about competitive sports and participate in them would be annoyed because they have to guess they keep losing just because the other guy is using a less tracable kind of doping or just because they're worse at whatever sport they play, even if I don't really see why you'd want to risk your life for it, but as someone above you already suggested in a roundabout way, it may be the only thing someone is capable of doing.

    But it seems to me that the current culture (specifically in marathony/cycling long distances) is pretty much destroyed already by the mentioned suspicion, as pretty much nobody will want to risk being the only guy who isn't cheating, and consistently losing because of it.
    For them, legalizing doping would just create more openness/honesty

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:47PM (#24590779) Journal

    No one is holding a gun to these athletes' heads, (not in this country anyway) telling them to do these things to themselves. If a grown man of consentual age wants to put himself in harm's way, I see no need to intervene.

    If society has to pick up the pieces after these "grown" men fall apart, doesn't society deserve to have a say in what is or isn't good for the public health?

    That's why Congress is always threatening to intervene legislatively whenever there is a perceived problem with the NFL/MLB/NHL/etc.

    Just because you see no need to intervene doesn't mean we (as a society, as a government) don't have the power to intervene, haven't already intervened, and won't intervene as necessary. It just happens to be easier to pressure the League to do what we want without passing a law.

  • Re:Garbage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @05:53PM (#24590853)

    Which is why the Olympics are SUPPOSED to be an amateur (i.e. your paycheck does not depend on it) competition.

    They should enforce that rule. Near the olympics they keep playing commercials about the poor athletes, we should donate to help them, such and such a company is really good because it gives money to olympians...

    Amateur athletes should have to work to support themselves, and train for their sport in their spare time. That's what makes them amateur athletes.

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by phoomp (1098855) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @06:02PM (#24590961)
    As long as we're banning performance enhancing drugs, we should also be banning performance enhancing technologies. No ultra-low-resistance suits for swimmers, no special shoes for basketball players, no compound bows for archers, no ultra-light bikes for cyclists ...
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @06:19PM (#24591197)
    Why not have a Drugged/Whatever-it-takes Olympics? Separate from the Summer Olympics proper. We have separate olympic events for paraplegics, quadraplegics etc. Why not have a separate Games where athletes are able to do whatever it takes to be the best.

    If they want to remove their legs just below the knees so they can supplant them with carbon fibre fins, they can.
    If they want to get juiced up on steroids 'til they're a quivering mass of muscle, they can.
    If they want to have implants in their feet that act as flippers, they can.

    That way, the purists can keep the Olympics free of "cheats" and the rest of the world can see what humans are truly capable of, when mankind chooses something different, chooses the impossible. When athletes are not bound by petty morality. When the great are not constrained by the small...
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @06:40PM (#24591445) Homepage

    No normal person can even hope to compete with people who live to train.

    But they aren't "freaks" — Phelps, for example, is a perfectly normal 23-year old [nbcolympics.com]. The beach volleyball babes are quite attractive, and so on. They are normal, and the "living to train" is a choice a person can make — without also choosing to chemically alter their body.

  • by thedrx (1139811) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @06:56PM (#24591615)
    Or, we could abandon the nationalism altogether. Should it be about the athletes or the athletes' countries?

    I realize that your idea is a bit disconnected from the topic, so it's not a jab at you or anything, just something I wanted to express.
  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:20PM (#24591889) Journal
    But then the "natural" athletes will bitch and whine about how no one wants to watch or sponsor their league. The doping league will be so much faster, stronger, and injury prone that they will get all the TV ratings. The world doesn't want to watch the second best games. Look at it like this: How many people watch the Para-Olympics on TV? The stories and athletes are just as inspiring or more so, but they aren't quiet as good as the regular Olympics so they get no love.
  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Corwn of Amber (802933) <corwinofamber@sk[ ]t.be ['yne' in gap]> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:20PM (#24591891) Journal

    Their healthy lives depends on them not doing that much sports, too. Gymnasts beginning from infancy so that they're pros at 14, before their childish elasticity ends, have totally broken bodies by the time they're 20.

    Let them destroy their bodies in whatever way they want to. They're *all* doped anyway.

  • by philspear (1142299) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @07:32PM (#24592043)

    We don't need to give people another excuse to be concerned about my health, which is a private matter. The government is already too concerned with my health. It would be nice to have big brother as a gym coach, except for the fact that they're much dumber than I am, especially when it comes to my health. Also it's MY health, if I want to ruin it, I will.

    We already have LA banning fast food resturaunts due to obesity problems. I don't smoke, but every time another city goes smokeless, I'm tempted to start chewing tobacco and spitting it on the steps of city hall. Motorcycle helmet laws also. Yes yes yes, they save lives. But not wearing a helmet doesn't risk other people's lives. If I want to ride around and feel the wind in my hair, and I'm willing to risk brain damage and death to do so, it's not the smartest decision in the world, but it should be my decision. If I do and I were to crash and become brain damaged, I'd be the first to say I was asking for it (assuming I was capable of that.) It's not like it would kill other people. The department of transportation being proud of fewer fatalities is a stupid reason to take away freedoms, even if they are freedoms no one should want.

    That kind of went off topic a little. Anyway, no, the government does not need more motivation to stick it's nose up my ass, we already have too many "don't poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick" laws.

  • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:13PM (#24592505)

    Yet you feel that this isn't the case already?

    No, frankly it is not the case already.

    People around here (and this is somewhat unique to this site) can be both absolutist and incredibly defeatist when it comes to issues like this.

    But this logic can be used to justify anything. "People murder other people anyway, why not just let them do it?" Well, for one thing, such an argument displays a complete lack of morality and ethics. Ethics is not about the results of an action, it's about the reasoning behind an action. So by taking such a stand, you are throwing out any sense of ethical rule-making - and you are telling everybody else that ethics and morality don't matter. What, then, are you left with? Why not throw out every rule, regulation and law?

    This is important because not only do you legalize what was previously illegal, you also legitimize it. You're saying one of two things: a) this was a bad rule/law, and what it forbade should not have been forbade, or b) ethical conduct doesn't matter, so do what you want.

    You're essentially actively encouraging what you were previously forbidding. It's not a neutral act, repealing a rule or law.

    Second, while it's true that *some* "people murder other people anyway", it's certainly *not* true that *most* people do or that laws against it have no effect. There most certainly is both a factor of deterrence and a natural lowering of the incidence of crime due to incarceration of the offenders who are caught.

    The same is true of doping. It is simply untrue to say doping tests are "ineffective". The only way you could say that is if nobody had been caught. Well, plenty of people have been caught - not just athletes, but suppliers as well. Investigators don't only go after the athletes anymore, they go to the source, and it's very hard to even get banned substances anymore. And they don't rely only on tests - they follow the paper trail, like any other investigative body.

    They also store blood and urine for 8 years. So if you think that just because there's no test for a particular substance today, there probably will be before those samples expire. Athletes know this too - it's a cat and mouse game, but the athletes are forever on the wrong end of it.

    Several US athletes including Michael Phelps have volunteered this time around to be "super-tested" - from what I remember, they get blood and urine tests every single day, and they get followed around all over the place by USOC officials. These are gold medal athletes who have volunteered for this.

    *All* of the other athletes are tested regularly. And anyone suspected of doping literally has their trash gone through, their phone records checked, their bank accounts examined. It's just not worth it for most athletes.

    Does that mean there's no doping? No. But it's like any other rule - the fact that a few people break it doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater. The rules work, for the most part.

  • Re:Won't work. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:23PM (#24592595)

    You're right. And the alternative is to give up basic civil liberties and be treated like a criminal by the anti-doping crusade in order to participate.

  • by jeremymiles (725644) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:26PM (#24592633) Homepage Journal
    But if you crashed and became brain damaged, you would be very expensive to look after, and I (and a whole bunch of other people) are going to pay for that with our insurance premiums and taxes.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @08:46PM (#24592829)

    Our laws are not supposed to be a profit-maximization tool for insurance companies.

  • by Stephen Ma (163056) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:21PM (#24593151)
    The current zero-tolerance policy at least keeps the doping levels somewhat low: athletes fear to take too much, lest they be detected.

    If doping were legalized, the sky would be the limit. Athletes would dope themselves to levels just short of death in their pursuit of glory. There would be no choice: every aspiring gold medalist would be forced to risk their health if they want a chance to win.

    I would hate forcing people to risk their lives for my entertainment. So the current anti-doping regime, as imperfect as it is, is still vastly preferable to laissez-faire.

    (I am somewhat more open to legalizing recreational drugs for the general population. Normal people have no incentive to overdose themselves, and most would be sensible.)

  • by Bugbear1973 (930850) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:43PM (#24593355)
    But then why should my tax dollars be spent keeping you alive in the event of an illness or accident that comes as a result of your life choices?
    If you wish to take risks with your life, that's your call, but then it's also your call to accept the consequences.
  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @09:45PM (#24593371) Journal

    For which athletes? I'm pretty sure the Greeks used to train and prepare for their games.

    quote: The athletes ... had to prove that they had been in training for ten months before the Games. They also had to spend 30 days training at Olympia before the Games began under the supervision of judges who made the choice of the athletes who would compete in the Games.

    http://www.library.uq.edu.au/olympics/milns.html [uq.edu.au]

    Anyway, you are still going to have to draw a line somewhere: doping, cybernetics, gene mods etc. So not allowing doping is a valid practical line. And so is "allowing full body swimsuits but only those with a buoyancy between X and Y".

    Car analogy: it's just like Formula 1 racing, there is really no "formula unlimited", because at the end of the day people have to decide "What is an acceptable car?" and "What is an acceptable way of winning?", so they might as well decide "What is an acceptable F1 car".

    After all with future tech, there could be cybernetics, or genetically modified humans, or biomodified humans. And then you also start asking "what's human".

    While the rules do restrict, the rules also help provide _shape_ to the event. Are we sure we are ready for a games with mods and doping? It could be a slippery slope to quite a lot of nastiness - even _in_ spectators.

    On a vaguely related note - this is why to me, exploration in some areas of science should be discouraged till humans are ready (in terms of tech, medical, culture, society, religion - religion isn't going away any time soon whether you want it or not) for the implications. It's like the "Civ" game, where you do some stuff first, then only other stuff.

    For instance say some genius suddenly creates a gene mod that makes us super fit, AND also makes it contagious. I don't think all of us want it automatically - no matter how good it seems.

  • Your OBVIOUSLY wrong about smoking laws. Smoking does EXACTLY what you mention later - it kills other people.

    These laws don't prevent YOU from smoking and killing yourself, they only prevent you from doing so IN (generally enclosed) public places and forcing (unfiltered!) carcinogens on everyone ELSE. Whether you think that's 'fair' or not, smoking in a public place isn't a 'private' matter unless you're so antiscience you don't believe in second hand smoke. You're not normally allowed to walk around spraying other known toxins into the air in great quantities. Most of these laws don't prohibit chew, because it's not about you killing you - it's about keeping you from killing me. And I've heard that modern US cigarettes are actually quite a bit worse than just rolling up a bunch of old natural tobacco was, including things like Polonium.

    Everything ELSE you've just said is fine with me, honestly - as long as then you die. Because every single one of the above doesn't just improve statistics, it costs the government, and therefore us, the taxpayer, a bunch of money.

    So I think you SHOULD be allowed to not wear a helmet - if you've signed a waiver saying that under no circumstances will my taxes pick up any part of the astronomical bill for your long term brain damaged life - or if you're going to off yourself if that happens. Since we're not presently at peace as a society with just letting you publicly rot in an acute way, the only way this currently works that I can see is if you pick up a sufficiently large long term insurance policy from a sufficiently well rated insurer. If you just die, that's not usually an excessive cost, relatively speaking.

    Do you have even the slightest conception what kind of costs are involved in long term care for cancer or a debilitating brain injury? Sure, depending on where you are, on the thinly stretched public dime you might end up in some crazy terrible place with substandard care - but even THAT will be costing the taxpayers a very pretty penny, while being a fraction of the cost to give you top-flight care.

    And I'm absolutely not making a point to be fanciful - I think motorcycle companies should sell helmet vs no helmet insurance, and I think if you have an appropriate long-term-care coverage you should be free to ride helmetless. I'm not even sure that would make motorcycle insurance that much MORE expensive. Maybe I'm wrong and the cost difference would be trivial, even.

    Lest I come across wrong to the Slashdot masses - I decidedly think helmet laws are your strongest point... because the people who die without them have some balancing effect on the people who live with more debilitating injuries with them. Everything else is much more reliably costly.

    And if you don't think obesity increases health costs, and that many of these health costs are in the poor, and that this dramatically increases the unreimbursed expenditures of emergency rooms, you're sorely misguided.

    As an amusing note, last time I checked in Alaska you could legally ride without a helmet - but if you have a passenger without a helmet, YOU get a ticket.

  • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tukkayoot (528280) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @10:29PM (#24593783) Homepage

    On a vaguely related note - this is why to me, exploration in some areas of science should be discouraged till humans are ready (in terms of tech, medical, culture, society, religion - religion isn't going away any time soon whether you want it or not) for the implications. It's like the "Civ" game, where you do some stuff first, then only other stuff.

    What is why we should discourage exploration in some areas of science? You haven't really offered a reason, just a vaguely articulated fear.

  • by Zolapuss (1203422) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:00PM (#24594065)

    We don't need to give people another excuse to be concerned about my health, which is a private matter. The government is already too concerned with my health. It would be nice to have big brother as a gym coach, except for the fact that they're much dumber than I am, especially when it comes to my health. Also it's MY health, if I want to ruin it, I will.

    We already have LA banning fast food resturaunts due to obesity problems. I don't smoke, but every time another city goes smokeless, I'm tempted to start chewing tobacco and spitting it on the steps of city hall. Motorcycle helmet laws also. Yes yes yes, they save lives. But not wearing a helmet doesn't risk other people's lives. If I want to ride around and feel the wind in my hair, and I'm willing to risk brain damage and death to do so, it's not the smartest decision in the world, but it should be my decision. If I do and I were to crash and become brain damaged, I'd be the first to say I was asking for it (assuming I was capable of that.) It's not like it would kill other people. The department of transportation being proud of fewer fatalities is a stupid reason to take away freedoms, even if they are freedoms no one should want.

    That kind of went off topic a little. Anyway, no, the government does not need more motivation to stick it's nose up my ass, we already have too many "don't poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick" laws.

    this is the dumb and dumber argument. if people want to take stupid decisions, then we should let them do it - right? but the problem is that when they cannot speak for themselves we have to make decisions on what is best for them. the fact that Joe Stupid is not wearing a helmet cannot mean that they are ready for death. it means they are stupid - nothing more and nothing less and that stupid people need intelligent people to make decisions for them.

  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:01PM (#24594073)

    More likely they signed the pact because it let them get the sponsorship. US Cycling teams have had horrible problems getting sponsored in recent years because of all the doping they've been involved in.

    It would be nice if they did it for more altruistic reasons, and I hope they did; but I rather suspect they didn't.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @01:10AM (#24595033) Journal
    Maybe exploration is the wrong word. I'm more like saying some things should not be done yet, and other stuff given higher priority. Right now stuff seems quite haphazard.

    Perhaps one day the equivalent of a "Big Red Kill Everyone Button" will be cheap and fairly available, will everyone have the discipline or desire to not push it?

    Already the cost of making custom viruses is getting lower and lower.

    Oh well, maybe it's just too late anyway and all we can do is hope for the best :).
  • A better idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @01:22AM (#24595109)

    Sport is healthy, we hear, which is true in moderation. Take running as an example: running up to a few miles every day is healthy, it strengthens your body; but running a marathon is never healthy. The reason is simply: exercise causes a lot of minute 'damages' in your tissues, and the body responds by not only repairing the damage, but also improving things in anticipation of future exercise. But a marathon causes more damage than the body can repair, to put it simply.

    So, the Olympic games are definitely not about promoting health in the first place - they are about meeting in peaceful competition, and about making money. As far as I can see, the money involved is what makes it such a higly strung and overhyped event that the participants want to win no matter what the price is for their own health. Remove the business aspect and make it exclusively a forum for nations to meet in 'peaceful battle', which is a good way to avoid war; I think the doping problem will be a lot smaller.

    As it is now, when an athlete fails a doping test, it is regarded as their personal attempt at cheating; if the games were more of a meeting of nations, doping could be seen as the attempt of that nation to cheat; the whole country would be put to shame, and the athletes would be under much less pressure to cheat.

  • Re:Only a dope... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dr Dodgy (1063100) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @01:36AM (#24595203)

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

    And the Americans and the Russians, Japanese, Australians, French, Italians etcera infinitum.....

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oracle128 (899787) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @01:58AM (#24595317)
    I hate the "have a separate Olympics" argument. That's the first reason: if you have a separate "enhanced" Olympics, no one will watch the normals anymore, and it will die out. The second point is: what's going to stop enhanced athletes from entering the regular games, and cheating the system like they do now? It puts you right back at square one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @02:11AM (#24595379)

    Its all about cost.. do you have enough money saved up to look after you for the rest of your life if you get brain damage whilst not wearing a helmet?

    If not then you will become a big drain on your society.

    Unfortunately sometimes your freedoms (freedom to be an idiot) have an actual cost to other people in your society and may actually cost lives by taking money away from the health care of people who really need it and didn't take silly unnecessary risks with their health.

    Enforcing the use of Seat belts and helmets are good sensible ideas, but yes I would agree the restaurant thing is going a bit too far.

    Perhaps they should also offer a way to get out of these restrictions where the only effect on other people is cost, sign a 'no free health care ever' waiver and pay 1/2 your wages into mandated "stupidity" insurance and you don't have to obey these particular laws anymore?

  • by Bodrius (191265) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @02:17AM (#24595403) Homepage

    That could be a good argument for removing the bans too.

    If it becomes a matter of choice, "clean" athletes and teams get a market differentiator they can use to get better sponsorships and fans - while doped athletes would not risk the health hazards of an illegal practice.

    If that were to happen, I'd actually expect "clean" leagues to pop up, perhaps splitting the spectators more interested in sports than hyper-competitiveness.

    Of course, I'd also expect drug manufacturers to massively sponsor the doping and use it as a testing ground for new tech, much as equipment manufacturers do right now. This wouldn't benefit the athletes themselves - but it would provide a strong motivation for open-ness vs secrecy - and others would benefit from the research.

    There would be a lot of complications, but I can see why many think it would be better than the status quo.

  • by ndykman (659315) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:19AM (#24595681)

    Scanning through the highly moderated article, I didn't see this point raised, which seems critical. The doctors that would be required to do this research to provide doping and drugs are bound by a ethical code of conduct, and this definitely forbids giving people medications with very serious risks to somebody that is healthy.

    Some have expression the opinion of "let them be lab rats." Well, I doubt that any good doctors would touch that ethical quagmire with a ten foot pole. I mean, the notion of informed consent alone is a huge red flag. Can you say that somebody that is willing to risk their health and life to potentially (nothing is certain) perform a bit better is truly of a state of mind to consent? And what doctor would do such a thing. Would you want a doctor that doesn't care about your health, but just want they can get away with?

    And the ethics are there for a reason. Bioethics exists for a reason. Part of the Human Genome Project was funding to examine carefully and intensively the impacts of the project, how the data should be used, the impacts on society. In fact, there was discuss if the project should be allowed at all.

    Of course, things can improve in testing. What I think needs to happen (and has, in the NFL, for example), is that more athletes need to come out and say that they want to test their limits without risking their health. That at the end of the day, they don't want to dope. That they are not willing to do anything to win. They want to test themselves on their terms, not as some "mad scientist" experimental rat.

    And the sport fan needs to learn that the best part of sports is not winning or losing, it is the pursuit of excellence and being tested and retested time and time again.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @09:19AM (#24597991)

    Unfortunately, the slippery slope is actually a marble. You can slide off in a lot of different ways.

    Once you start banning substances, where do you stop. Can we ban steak, because some countries diets are low in protein, and all that fat is unhealthy to the athletes? (yes, it is an extreme example. To the point of being silly....or is it?)

  • by CoolHnd30 (89871) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:54AM (#24599383)
    "Clean Leagues" - nice thought but it would never work...

    The clean leagues would quickly become the most popular since it has "normal people" doing the best they can with what they've got (the very essence of athletics). Once the clean leagues were more popular, then all the athletes would want to be in them, since that is where the popularity was, therefore the athletes prone to doping would want to play there, too, hiding there doping. That would quickly become a situation as it is today.

    If, on the other hand, the doping league somehow increased it's popularity over the clean league, then all the players would want to play there, and the clean players would feel compelled to dope there.

    The fact is that doping is bad for a player's health and should not be allowed on that basis, since any allowance of an any sort allows doping to proliferate, and makes all players feel the need to do it to be competitive.

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