Thursday, October 18, 2012

Drugs in Sport

Amid all of the current drama about Lance Armstrong, I just wanted to point to this post from the Sock Doc about Drugs in Sport....It is an interesting perspective.

The question you should ask yourself is just how natural you want to be. How clean do you want to be? And in turn – how healthy do you want to be? By no means am I saying that moderate caffeine, alcohol, or even sugar use is a problem (for most). But if you’re on a drug, for a medical condition or not, realize that you’re almost always altering some physiological function in your body that you shouldn’t be messing around with. If you’re better with it – what’s wrong so you can’t do without it? Why can’t you wake up, sleep, think, or perform in everyway without it?

I must admit to some confusion about the whole area of drugs in sport.  Sometimes I think that we should just hold up our hands and let the athletes do whatever they want.  The one that always gets me is altitude training.   Why is altitude training allowed yet blood doping / EPO isn't ?  It has the same effect.

None of this is about health; sport - especially at the top levels - is not about health.


Chuck said...

drugs or no drugs, preparing to and performing in the highest level athletic competition is hardly ever an activity that is good for one's health.

Andreas said...

Just to clarify:
EPO can easily improve your aerobic performance by 5-10% even if you are already in elite condition. Altitude training have an average effect of less than 1% compared to placebo. Even a high responder will only improve by ~2%. Blood doping have an effect somewhere in between.

FeelGoodEating said...

Even though most like to think about sports as this "fair" dual......
Since olden times sports has been about entertainment.
Now more so than ever.

As such, my opinion has changed over the years on how I feel about drugs in sport.

I say let them take whatever they like or not. To each his own.
These sports entertainers, train so hard, play so fucking hard, make many health sacrifices to get there"......why shouldn't they have access to the best of the best recovery methods so they can play another day for our entertainment.

I just don't see the difference between a race car with the latest technologies, a golfer with the newest club and ball, tennis player with engineered strings, etc, etc how's the body any different?

My two cents anyway.....


Steven Sashen said...

If you haven't seen "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" (documentary) yet... you must. It really explores this question well. And it's very entertaining.

primalliving said...

I think it's definitely a difficult question.

On the one hand, I'd agree with Chuck that sports aren't particularly good for your health anyway, but on the other, the use of certain drugs could have far more serious effects.

Who knows how many athletes there are out there that didn't want to take performance enhancing drugs, either as they felt it morally wrong, or didn't want to take the health risk, that might have been far more successful had the playing field been more even?

Or how about the athletes that have been pressurised into taking them, and suffered either physically or been caught and shamed, thus having their careers ended early or tarnished?

Personally, I think body building probably has it right by having natural and unnatural(?) competitions.

With regards to altitude training, I don't think you could really make it illegal, as that would mean certain area (i.e. places at high altitude) were out of bounds for athletes in training. What if you lived on a mountain ;-)

I'll also second that Bigger, Stronger, Faster is an excellent film - and that perhaps we should question the whole notion of sport, competition and the quest for glory, rather than just the methods used to get there...

js290 said...

Just like with motor racing where technological improvements made on the race track helps improve the road vehicles, doping in human powered sports should be used as an opportunity to better understand human metabolism and health. Figure out what works and why. Motor sports have tech inspection after the race. Drug tests in human powered sports should be used as such. Witch hunting Lance Armstrong doesn't improve the sport or our understanding of health. Figure out what he was using and why it was working so well for him and not others. And, see if there are similar effects for health improvements (or at least a better understanding of health) for the rest of us.