Monday, October 27

The recent renewed interest in

The recent renewed interest in drug-enhanced athletes has me wondering whether drug-testing of athletes should just be dropped altogether. Afterall, the cheaters will always be ahead of testers, always using the newest and so-far-undetected drugs to enhance their performances. With the recent investigaions, it's now to the point where practically any athlete who excels, whether professional or amateur, is assumed to be cheating, even if tests imply innocence. The sad thinking now is that that individual just didn't get caught.

Obviously, athletes can't be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs carte blanche. "Have at it, girls, whatever it takes to be the fastest, strongest" would eventually turn into nothing more than a Hulking freak show. Not to mention the miriade of side effects such embibing would cause.

I wonder if artificial performance enhancing would eventually level out, though? Would there be a line in free-for-all open-knowledge drug-enhancement that athletes wouldn't be willing to cross? "I want to win, but I don't want seven toes". Of course, there'll always be someone else who will be willing to go that extra step to gain the slightest advantage. And if that person goes that far, then others will have to follow suit, repurcussions be damned, otherwise, they'll be left in the dust.

I think we all (even athletes) would like a sports world where athletes test the *natural limits* of the human body and mind. I don't think there's any way we can have that world. Drug-enhanced athletes are here to stay. So, what do we do?

If we allow athletes to use steroids and other enhancements, ask them to declare what they're on, without fear of reprisals or sanctions, how far would they take that freedom? How far would we, as spectators, allow athletes to take it before we say 'this is foolish' and stop caring? The problem is, once we reach that plateau, athletes will stop declaring the 'too foolish' enhancements, yet still take them, and then we're back to exactly the place we are now: a sports world where we're all suspicious of any feat of strength or speed or grace.

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