Monday, May 5, 2014

On Doping and Sport

Recently, Slowtwitch published an article called "The Cloud of a Doping Past." To summarize: There are several professional and amateur triathletes who are competing in races today that have been convicted of using performance enhancing drugs in other sports, namely cycling. For instance, at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, ex-cyclist and convicted doper Hector Guerra Garcia rode to a 2:00 bike split, which was 7 minutes faster than Tim Don, the eventual winner. Antonio Colom Mas, another convicted doper who raced with Astana out biked everyone at last year's Ironman 70.3 World Championship, as an age grouper. The article goes on to quote the opinions of several current pros, amongst Rinny Carfrae and Jordan Rapp, as well as several executives, most of who share the opinion that a ban for life is in order when someone is caught blood doping.

I have to agree. Out of sheer principle, I want the sports I love the most to be the cleanest sports out there. But I also have the nagging voice in the back of my head that says that sometimes people mess up. Look at Dave Zabriske. He was pressured and pressured until he gave in, all to live his dream as a rider in the Tour de France. Sometimes dreams can be exploited. They talk about how 99% of people like to win. The remaining 1% are the ones that hate to lose. That's where the real competitors come from. Olympians, World Champions, professionals. And in a sport where literally every second counts, if you hate to lose badly enough, wouldn't it be tempting?

And then there are the accidental ones. Michael Rogers, professional cyclist for Team Saxo-Tinkoff was recently exonerated after it was determined that the banned substance in his blood had indeed come from tainted meat that he had eaten while at a race, just as he said. Many people are simply ignorant of what is actually in their food.

I like how the article ended, and I agree with it. Dopers should be allowed back in, or not, based on several factors. What did they dope with? EPO, life ban. Clenbuterol? That could be from bad meat. How did they dope? Was it a system like the Postal Service team and Lance? Stuff like that needs to be exposed.

We can all make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life. But there is a fine line between an innocent mistake and knowing full well that what you're doing carries a risk. Doping has no place in sport, but maybe we can learn to forgive.

No comments:

Post a Comment