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Drugs – it’s one way or the other

No apologies here for posting another round in the Rust‘s reporting of sports cheating via the use of performance-enhancing drugs and yes, it concerns Russia and the 2016 Rio Olympics which begin about a week from now.

My subject today is not the fact that my old pal Vladimir Putin who – if it had not already been conclusively done by the Soviet Republic and Eastern bloc countries during the latter half of the 20th Century, could have proven that (all idealism aside) politics can never be separated from sport all on his own – this week attacked the IOC for attempted ‘discrimination’ against clean Russian athletes as he presided over a ‘farewell’ ceremony for Russian athletes about to depart for Rio.

Instead it is to draw the notice of regular Rust readers to an article by Olga Oksman on the potential long-term adverse effects of the use of anabolic steriods that appears today upon the website of The Guardian – see the link here  – THE GUARDIAN

It just goes to reinforce the points I was seeking to make in my recent post upon the IOC’s weak-kneed approach to dealing with Russia’s state-sponsored athlete-doping programme as was operating for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and presumably elsewhere as well.

Faced with what one can safely assume is an ongoing worldwide epidemic of performance-enhancing drugs in sport, there are only two alternative ways for world sporting and drugs-detecting authorities to proceed if sport is to retain any authenticity and integrity – the two attributes that I’d submit are essential if it is to retain any credibility in the eyes of its spectators.

The first is to put in place drug-detecting testing capable of catching all cheats (whatever the cost and/or extent of the measures required to achieve this) and instigate a total zero-tolerance approach to offenders.

The alternative – and though some might describe it as defeatist I’d argue, as I have repeatedly in the past, that it’s just pragmatic – would be to accept the probability that (whatever detecting measures were ever introduced) the cheats will somehow find ways around them – and simply announce that from this day forward world sport will no longer bother to go to the complications and expense of try to police or stamp out drug-misuse.

Instead it will simply accept that performance-enhancing drug-taking is the norm among professional athletes, on condition that every athlete who takes drugs must openly declare which ones (and what doses thereof) they have been using in advance of every event, competition, game or tournament so that these can be recorded in all results, team sheets and records and medal lists.

Furthermore (1) when each athlete subsequently dies, his or her age at death to be added in brackets after their names in the official records; and (2) an asterisk would be added to name of any any athlete that takes part in any sporting event, sport, game or tournament without taking drugs [it goes without saying that placing asterisks against the names of ‘clean’ athletes would be far easier and simpler than placing asterisks against their drug-using fellow participants, not least because the latter would outweigh the former by such a large margin].



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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts