I must confess, doping in sport has no influence on my enjoyment of sports. I know people on all sides of the spectrum, from those who are very anti-doping to those who have tested positive. I know each side has their reasoning and I even know of contaminated products causing massive problems, but in the end, its all a grey area.
The guys taking sleeping tablets at night and the guys who buy an energy drink for a perceived performance benefit are just on the lighter side of grey than the guy who is on research peptides and the guy who has a TUE for HGH from his Endocrinologist. We each draw the line where we are comfortable and where we believe the line exists.
It’s the same in business. I know of MD’s who have racked up millions in personal expenses that are ridiculous, but they honestly believe that they deserve those perks, that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. It is the same thing in sports. We massage the line, and it moves. The guy who takes his kid along on company expense on overseas business trip is the same guy who believes taking sleeping tablets is ok, is the same guy who takes items not on the banned list but that clearly give a performance advantage.
Nowhere in sport is this more apparent than in women’s athletics where we have the hyperandrogenism issue. Read a full story HERE – basically you can clearly SEE the change something like testosterone limits makes, when they are initially limited (women were told to suppress their natural levels by taking something – how ironic is that) and now, its an open game again and you can see the physical change in a short period of time for someone like Caster. For someone like her, she would never need to dope as she has all the natural ability she will ever need.
So how pure are you, as the actual question here.
I take a natural sleep aid, called GABA from time to time. Deep sleep, beautiful dreams – but this is a performance aid, for sure. I take ibuprofen when I have niggles. I choose caffeine tablets and MCT powder for my water-bottles at big events to get more out of my body. Those are inside the ‘line’ though, right? So I am good to go, right? It’s easy to progress from there when you throw in the pressure of professional sports and earning a living when the culture is to win, not to be pure.
I partook in competitive sport because I liked to win. Sport is a show. Organisational bodies are there to promote the show, not create scandal. How people think the worlds leading bodies have an interest in having their athletes test positive is a laugh on its own. That is why it’s truly rare that the worlds leading athletes test positive, and why it’s happening less and less – the bodies have taken a direct interest in having them not test positive. Because sponsorship dollars, because the show must go on. It’s only the Anglo-Saxon part of the world that cares, anyway.
Last night, a guy I was chatting to thought it was amazing that athletes are now in their late 30’s dominating power sports. He thought boxing was clean, surfing was clean, tennis – clean. I wanted him to keep his view, because he loves the show of each of these sports. In the end, the Show will go on, purity is an idea, a grey area with a line you have chosen, based on your upbringing in your part of the world.
I am not saying don’t have your opinion. We should all have our own. I am saying be aware that it is your opinion and others’ might differ. Not knowing how other people think in other cultures and not being aware of the psychology that goes into these things, means your opinion is possibly based on the little media you read and the people you follow on social media.
Get stuck in, learn and form a detailed opinion of what purity means for you. Do you draw the line at paracetamol or at GW501516? Perhaps you think the show must go on and there is no line. Draft away at Ironman races, sharpen your toenails for waterpolo and go see a dodgy endocrinologist.
Are you crying foul for the harder drugs but at home you’re taking sleeping tablets and getting vitamin infusions? I am not saying you are expressly wrong, but you’re in murky waters for someone else and in crystal clarity for another.
The definition after all says: Free from adulteration and contamination.
That Marmite sarmie I just had definitely lies in the murky water.
As with so much, fatherhood has brought on interesting questions and thoughts on this topic, as to how I will teach my son to compete fairly, but to play the game nonetheless. Where will he draw the line and will I respect his choices, if they are not mine?
In closing, I want you to think about the performance-enhancing things you do, where they fall in the moral compass not for the UCI, WADA, the IOC or your sporting body, but for your loved ones, kids and families. This is part of an ongoing discussion here, as the next 15 years of my life will hugely determine my old age abilities. How do we hack the system, but remain inside the moral boundaries for our lives?