Tags: banned | enhancing | performance | substances

Legalize Banned Substances in Sports

Thursday, 18 Aug 2016 03:47 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One of the big stories at this year’s Olympics is doping, the practice where, contrary to the rules, athletes use performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

But why are PEDs banned substances? Perhaps more important, should they be?

If we’re being honest, there’s no doubt that many people don’t care if athletes use steroids, and, in fact, welcome the practice.

First, professional athletes are fully capable of making their own decisions about PEDs.

Are there long-term negative consequences? Quite possibly.

But in the same way that drivers should not be mandated to wear seatbelts, since the only harm inflicted is limited to oneself, athletes should be the ones making the choice as to how PEDs could affect them down the road.

And many, if not most, athletes, if allowed, would use some form of PED. Not only would their game be better, but the payoff would dramatically increase. To many competitors, securing their future far outweighs the potential health risks.

Second, spectators love watching the world’s elite compete at the ultimate level, and if using PEDs contributes to that, so be it. No one holds a gun to an athlete’s head to play a given sport. As modern gladiators, today’s athletes want to be the very best.

Many who criticize steroid use as cheating are hypocrites. The same self-righteous people knew, for example, that many MLB players were using steroids and that the league looked the other way. But they didn’t care.

Steroids simply allow muscles to recover faster, an often misunderstood point. They don’t do the work for athletes, who still must train just as hard. A baseball hitter on PEDs still has to hit the ball; Lance Armstrong still had to pedal. Olympic basketball players still need the magic touch to sink the three-pointer. And wrestlers need strategy and finesse to pin their opponent.

Steroids don’t make an athlete better just by taking them; they allow him to become bigger and stronger.

Legalizing PEDs would level the playing field; therefore, if all used them, no one would have the “advantage” of “cheating.

Professional athletes can make their own choices. But the same does not apply to younger people. We have legal minimums for driving, drinking and smoking, so there should be one for steroid use, and as well as zero tolerance for PEDs through high school. And the most rigorous testing methods should be employed to verify compliance.

Most inconsistent in the argument that PED use is “cheating” is how other aspects of sports have dramatically changed by using performance-enhancing methods, yet are deemed acceptable.

Poles for the pole vaults were made of hardwoods with virtually no flex, putting a ceiling on how high athletes could go. Later, the poles transitioned to the more flexible bamboo; then aluminum, fiberglass, and now, composite materials, which blow away all previous poles, and with them, past records.

So how can the purists possibly talk about “world records” when the differences within the same sport are night and day from even a generation ago?

What then constitutes “cheating” as opposed to acceptable advancements? Where do we draw the line?

The nutrition and weight training of today, assisted by computers and medical science, are light years ahead of the past regimens. So should “cupping,” which eliminates toxins and massages muscles for faster recovery — which produced those large red marks on Michael Phelps’ body — be considered an unfair advantage?

If an archer gets elective eye surgery to improve his visual acuity, is that cheating?

If an athlete has stem cells implanted into body parts that are aging or injured, rejuvenating him to such an extent that he can once again compete as an older, wiser athlete — but with the body of a “younger” player  — is that considered cheating?

There needs to be a rational conversation about how we play the game, what constitutes “cheating,” and how we can continue to push the limits of human capabilities. Doing so would be a Gold Medal for everyone.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.





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There needs to be a rational conversation about how we play the game, what constitutes cheating and how we can continue to push the limits of human capabilities. Doing so would be a Gold Medal for everyone.
banned, enhancing, performance, substances
Thursday, 18 Aug 2016 03:47 PM
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