Chris Moerdyk

It's only fair to let athletes take dope

2012-10-29 07:31

Chris Moerdyk

If the world of professional cycling thinks it is going to become good and clean and fresh by making their one-time chief boy scout, Lance Armstrong, look like a complete dope, then frankly, they are bigger dopes than he is.

I do not believe for a minute that doping is ever going to be eradicated from sport, not only because it took the cycling bosses more than a decade to cotton on to Armstrong pulling the wool over their eyes but also because they keep adding so much to their list of banned substances that the only way any athlete is going to say cleans in future will be by not eating and drinking anything for two weeks before an event. And who the heck wants to watch a bunch of skeletal wretches on bicycles dying by the roadside halfway up the first hill?

I reckon the only way sporting federations are going to be able to maintain consumer interest and bring millions more to the games and watching on TV, is to legalise doping.

Seriously.

After all, why penalise sportsmen when so many others are making huge names for themselves and bundles of money by quite openly getting themselves doped to the eyeballs.

The entertainment industry is a classic case in point. Everyone knows that many legends of the music and the movies took drugs to keep themselves going. It's what got them through punishing concert tours; it's what got them through hours on stage leaping about and singing their hearts out. For many of them, if it wasn't for dope they would not be rich or famous. And did we care? I don't think so.

I reckon it is safe to say that the majority of the world's entertainment legends would probably not have become legends had they had a little chemical or liquid help.

It would also be naive to assume that cycling is the only sport riddled with a doping problem.

Even squeaky clean golf, where everyone is dressed neatly with conservative haircuts and bright, sparkly well-shaved faces, has its culprits who have to get a little help to relax. I was chatting recently to someone who has been on the pro-tour in the USA and he said that drugs were more the norm than the exception particularly among those battling to make a living out of the game.

The recent Olympic Games saw a number of athletes kicked out because they tested positive for banned substances. You have to ask yourself in all sincerity whether those were the only ones who were guilty. Especially now that we have found out how Lance Armstrong managed to get away with it so long in a sport that probably has the most rigid checks and balances when it comes to ferreting out doping.

And what about business? What about those really wealthy investment bankers, who work 24 hours a day in massively stressful circumstances? You mean to tell me they're just naturally tough?

Sure, they might just be talking the odd muscle relaxant, sleeping pill or a bit of prescription happy medication - but all of those things would get them into huge trouble if they were athletes.

So, I reckon that if the world is happy to go and watch pop stars and rocks bands who are all killing themselves by the age of 27, then what is the difference between that and watching a doped up athlete shaving three seconds off their world 100 metre record?

Whether it's about money or just honour, the playing fields are far from level. Rock stars can do it, film stars can do it, businessmen can do it, just about everyone on earth can do it but sportsmen can't. It's not fair.

It's double standards. So either ban everyone from taking dope in the quest for success, honour and money or let everyone do it if they wish.
       
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