It is a never ending chore to ensure fairness and equality in sport.
In the multitude of sports that Shire Speed and Strength has involvement with, and the multitude of ways in which that involvement structured (coaching, playing, officiating, administrating), that chore is considered on all sides here.
Obviously the hot topic in Australia has been the Essendon and Cronulla supplement regime/doping scandals which is ongoing in its many spin offs. Players and Coaches banned and sacked, coaches suing insurance companies, players appealing bans in Switzerland, coaches having costs awarded against them vs ASADA: There is a variety of carnage in the wake just of that one scandal.
Internationally we have seen Al Jazeera air a report describing the use of PED’s by various American and Jamaican athletes in an undercover story that showed how doctors and pharmacists are recruited into world of PED use in sport.
The key identity of the report has since recanted some of his claims, particularly those regarding NFL legend Peyton Manning. Regardless, that there is a murky world of illegal doping frustrates, angers, intrigues and shocks us.
Elsewhere, Russia will not send a Track and Field team to the Rio Olympics. The IAAF voted 22-1 to ban them due to corruption from the Russian Anti Doping organization (RUSADA). An independent report commissioned by WADA found that the Moscow lab commissioned to perform tests did not do so and instead destroyed samples.
Just a few days ago the former head of the organization Nikita Kameyev died suddenly of a heart attack just 2 months after resigning.
BALCO, Shane Warne, Lance Armstrong, all the way back to Alex Watson, a pentathlete banned at the 1988 games for excessive caffeine use, later cleared and even later caffeine taken off the banned list; the calendar turns over PED cases like it does months. It taints sports, it casts doubt over legends, it topples others, it withholds due credit and career achievement from some of the very best.
Whilst shocking, murky and controversial, such a broad society also has a somewhat mature and resolved mindset about PED use. The well known documentary ‘Bigger Stronger Faster’ investigates the sporting, cosmetic and cultural touchstones of PED use.
The lesser addressed irritation and frustration of PED use and organized doping is the cover that it gives to inefficient training and athlete development practices.
I made the statement in this short article from 3 years ago that, ‘Teenagers who have been training for 11 months should not be stronger than veteran NRL players who outweigh them by 16kg‘. I would go on to extend that to include the words ‘more efficient‘, ‘better prepared generally‘, ‘smarter‘, ‘more coachable‘.
My conclusion to that article….. ‘there is one extra shocking detail; that player performances could be even better without PED’s if they improved their training practices.’ is as valid now as it was then.
It is now bordering on ad nauseam the evidence and claim from this website that the preparation of athletes is inefficient, for both professional and amateurs, begins at a youth level and continues to professional levels. That skills and genuine experience is trumped by psuedoscience and accreditation systems that swindle money out of unsuspecting keen individuals who want to do good.
Intrusion into private lives.
That we are left with an anti-doping system that intrudes enormously into the private lives of athletes is no simple fix. It shouldn’t be any wonder that strangers are hired to come and watch you use the bathroom and fill a cup. All it took was Richard Reid’s failed attempt to blow up a plane with explosives in his shoes for every airport to insist on all passengers taking their shoes off before boarding an international flight.
Doping regimes are real and the price that must be paid is that athletes must submit to testing and strict whereabouts disclosure.
As a libertarian, the ADAMS (Administration And Management System) is antithetical to my creed. Its classic ‘Government gettin all up in yo buziness‘. It simply doesn’t cut it as an argument that if you ‘haven’t done anything wrong then you have nothing to hide‘. I actually don’t like living in a world where an agency collects your blood, urine, and biological information and demands to know your whereabouts.It adds to the costs of competition.
It leaves us in the middle of being cheated our of sporting success and our privacy being invaded…… and those cheats don’t take it laying down.
BALCO owner Victor Conte details all the ways around the efforts of WADA with his long but I feel seminal talk with Joe Rogan here….
The biological passport is a real time solution and future attempt to hold back contemporary doping strategies as well as a future that may include genetic manipulation. There may be no end to all this. The cost of high level sport might always be the intrusion of privacy, it is no libertarian ideal. But what choice do we have?