Drugs in sport

I've been very quiet about the subject, even though my sport of choice has been the one in the spotlight because of it for the last few years.

After reading this article I have a few things to say.

Even though cycling has been by far the worst looking as far as doping goes in the last few years, I'm of the opinion that it is also the sport code that is doing the most to get rid of the problem.  And unfortunately it is getting the bad publicity because it perceived to be getting more positive tests than any other code.  Of course if the other codes started doing as many tests as cycling does things would probably look different.  But, name one other code that goes as far as cycling.  Just looking at the Tour, 800 tests on 189 athletes in 20 days.  That is ridiculous, the riders must start to look like hardcore users with all those puncture marks.

Then you have a lot of the other codes, and to name a few, like cricket, baseball, american football, shall I go on?  They all seem to sweep the problem under the carpet and the athletes get away with a small fine or short ban, but they keep it quiet enough so that no-one really knows what is going on. 

As far as testing goes, I'm still convinced that it is done the wrong way around.  Don't look for things that shouldn't be there but is.  Rather look for things that should be there but isn't.  A lot of the masking agents out there actually remove proteins that should be there as well.  So if you find something that should be there and it isn't, you get an automatic positive test.

This way the athletes would be able to establish a baseline for themselves over a period of testing, and could therefore be easier to prove that they are clean.  On the flip-side, it is also easier to test for an unknown drug like mentioned in the article.

As far as guys stating categorically that they've never tested positive…I'm starting to think that you're hiding something with your choice of words.  Rather state that you've never used any performance enhancing product or method, to your knowledge.  That is more believable, and still clears you for the time that your doctor makes a mistake when giving you flu medication, which happens.

It is getting particularly difficult to go to the doctor these days, because I insist that he does not give me any medication with any type of banned substance, even if the cycling unions allow it with doctor's clearance.  So quite a few times I've walked out of his office with no medication, and just have to ride out the illness.  Obviously this is not a choice I would make for anything life threatening, it is quite an easy choice for flu or allergies, and I've found that medication actually makes those types of ailments take longer to heal.  I've asked my doctor what benefit I would get out of any of the medication he's not allowed to prescribe, and he stated that with the volumes involved, none.  But unfortunately, tests cannot tell what the maximum level was in your body, and can only tell what the level is at the time of testing.

With the money involved, I don't think the problem will ever go away, but we can only hope that our heroes are clean…and stay that way.

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