Should performance enhancing drugs and techniques be permitted?

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Time and time again it has been shown that catching those who use performance enhancing drugs and techniques is more down to luck than judgement.
The recent Lance Armstrong case was only successful due to evidence provided by his team mates.
Over the years he has been subject to numerous accusations and tests yet nothing was ever proven.
Without the cooperation of his team mates with the authorities, he would have got away with it.

The drug users are usually one step ahead of those who are tasked with catching them as first a drug or technique must be known before an adequate test can be devised.

Having been involved with sport for most of my life, even rank amateurs are at it - I know of many individuals who routinely took steroids and other drugs.

We can only imagine how many current and former sports people have achieved their results via doping and other illegal methods.
Which more or less makes every record in every sport suspect.

So, should they just be permitted and considered to be another means to an end?

Of course the counter argument is that not everyone can afford drugs and blood replacement therapy. But then neither can everyone afford equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds, dedicated trainers and teams, trips abroad for months at a time to train at high altitude, etc.

In my opinion, drug taking and methods to improve performance are never going to stop; if anything they are going to get more sophisticated.
I read recently that the latest technique is hormone related, for which there is no test currently and it's doubtful there ever will be.
How many of the richest sportsmen are currently availing themselves of that technique, who will forever go undetected?
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
Along with the advances in genetic technology, it is likely to get a lot worse. It is in some ways similar to anti virus protection. You can only test for what you know, and if you dont know, you dont know that you dont know, so it is left to observations to lead to suspicions, and then to retrospectively try and understand what has been done, and how to check for it.

I am not sure what the solution is, other than taking drastic measures, such as genetic tagging, or some such technology which can track blood and tissue conditions etc I mean, it is not possible to homologate a human body, and then check against the blue prints.

The other side, if you allow doping, it becomes a technological arms race, I would extimate a significant order of magnitude higher than anything we see currently, not least because this would need to be in addition to all other aspects of training and equipment, which would seriously impact the competitiveness of some nations, or cause issues with them trying, some of the nations who can currently win medals without the level of financing that some other countries currently enjoy spring to mind.

For those reasons, and that it would be nice to feel that sport does on the whole look to be doping free, I believe that the current regimes should be enforced, although the addition of a confidential hot line "Dob in a Dope" or similar could really help.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
What would really concern me with the legalization of PHDs would be that it would, in all probablility lead to ever younger people taking them, and the effects on adolescents are unknown. There may be none, but there may be numerous, possibly deleterious side effects. To my mind, it is too great a gamble. Why risk people's health just to improve their performance in something as inconsequential (in the grand scheme of things) as sports?
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
A drug free-for-all would have disastrous effects on riders' long-term health and potentially lethal short-term ones.
At present the word "sophistication" in drug-taking is in great part derived from the effectiveness of masking agents in the rider-blood system after drug absortion but a free for all would open the way for far cruder but very effective performance-enhancing drugs, such as amphetamines. Far less sophisticated but very effective and a hell of a lot more dangerous. As Tour historians know only too well...
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
To my mind, it is too great a gamble. Why risk people's health just to improve their performance in something as inconsequential (in the grand scheme of things) as sports?
Those same words could be applied to training in general. All pro sportspeople will have many more ailments than someone who is moderately fit - tennis is a good example of this.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Indeed tooncheese.
Throughout my sporting life I have probably been injured (as a result of said sport) for 10-20% of it.

One person once remarked that he was obviously fitter and healthier than me as he never had any ripped or pulled muscles, inflamed tendons, ligament problems, etc.
The fact that he did no sport at all seemed to escape his thought process...
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
I think riders / sportsmen should be able to compete clean, not least for the sake of their future health. If everyone was allowed to take drugs, then everyone would have to take them to compete. The drugs are too good (man).

Problem is that they are experimental and may have long term side effects. Having to take them is not really fair on those who want to compete without the drugs. That's the main reason why they need to remain banned.

You have got to keep playing whack-a-mole and you have got to keep up the threat that one day we will develop a test for stuff that is undetectable today. I think they should be storing samples and re-testing them every time a new test is developed.
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
Why not do like they do in body building they have a two tier competition those that take drugs and those that are naturally trained If someone wants **** up their body by taking drugs to win a race let em and allow the clean athletes to get on with it....
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
As much as it would seem the easy option to legalize drugs, I shudder to think where it would end up and how many lives it would wreck.

The biggest problem as far as I see it is that the rewards for winning are so great these days it is what causes the bulk of drug taking. Of course people have almost certainly been using drugs for ages in sport but the huge rise in the last couple of decades must be linked to the rise in sponsorship and prize money. Dwain Chambers, to quote one example didn't campaign to have his BOC ban lifted because he was very sorry and wanted a second chance to represent his country. His case was based around the fact that his Olympic ban restricted his ability to make money.

Lance Armstrong won over two million dollers in prize money and has just lost a thirty million doller sponsorship deal with Nike. Now with those sort of numbers it's no wonder that someone can stand on a podium, lift a trophy and live with themselves. That much money has a way of helping to ease guilt.

The amature spirit of sport has long since left the building and there is no way to get it back. When Jessica Ennis won her Olympic gold this year, most of the press reports carried estimates about the ammount of money she would go on to make.

All that can be done is the universal backing of drug testing and regulation and the maximum penalties for those who are caught including financial and if required even custodial punishments. At least this way, the consequences of a failed test may make a few more people think again.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
What would really concern me with the legalization of PHDs would be that it would, in all probability lead to ever younger people taking them, and the effects on adolescents are unknown.
I got a perfectly legal PHD at the age of 23, although I started at 18.

There may be none, but there may be numerous, possibly deleterious side effects. To my mind, it is too great a gamble.
Well there was drinking heavily subsidised beverages, recreational drug use and casual sex.

Why risk people's health just to improve their performance in something as inconsequential (in the grand scheme of things) as sports?
Ohhhh sports, I get you now, ironically I did mine in organic chemistry ;)
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
Those same words could be applied to training in general.
I did a university module called the Philosophy of Sport that looked at this slippery slope of PHDs, blood storage, extreme training, the use of oxygen, "special foods", caffeine and so on. This was quite a few years ago (early 1990s), so my memory might be a bit hazy but it came down to the fact that there has to be a line, and a set of rules generally, for any sport to work.

The same as you are not allowed to ride a motorbike in the Tour de France, you aren't allowed to take EPO.

The rules are the rules but there is cheating (Suarez vs Ghana) and then there is cheating, systematic and premeditated like Armstrong. He might as well have been riding a motorbike...
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
Hey guys, you know all this stuff about drugs we've been telling you? Yeah? Well forget it, let's party! Now where's the heroin?

:thinking:
 
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