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How Bad Is Doping, Really? | The New Yorker
Eyesight can be improved—in some cases dramatically—through laser surgery or implantable lenses. Should a promising young baseball player cursed with normal vision be allowed to get that kind of corrective surgery? In this instance, Major League Baseball says yes. Major League Baseball also permits pitchers to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of their throwing arm with a tendon taken from a cadaver or elsewhere in the athlete’s body. Tendon-replacement surgery is similar to laser surgery: it turns the athlete into an improved version of his natural self.

But when it comes to drugs Major League Baseball—like most sports—draws the line. An athlete cannot use a drug to become an improved version of his natural self, even if the drug is used in doses that are not harmful, and is something that—like testosterone—is no more than a copy of a naturally occurring hormone, available by prescription to anyone, virtually anywhere in the world.

Baseball is in the middle of one of its periodic doping scandals, centering on one of the game’s best players, Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez is among the most disliked players of his generation. He tried to recover from injury and extend his career through illicit means. (He has appealed his recent suspension, which was based on these allegations.) It is hard to think about Rodriguez, however, and not think about Tommy John, who, in 1974, was the first player to trade in his ulnar collateral ligament for an improved version. John used modern medicine to recover from injury and extend his career. He won a hundred and sixty-four games after his transformation, far more than he did before science intervened. He had one of the longest careers in baseball history, retiring at the age of forty-six. His bionic arm enabled him to win at least twenty games a season, the benchmark of pitching excellence. People loved Tommy John. Maybe Alex Rodriguez looks at Tommy John—and at the fact that at least a third of current major-league pitchers have had the same surgery—and is genuinely baffled about why baseball has drawn a bright moral line between the performance-enhancing products of modern endocrinology and those offered by orthopedics.

Doping meant that cyclists finally could train as hard as they wanted. It was the means by which pudgy underdogs could compete with natural wonders. “People think doping is for lazy people who want to avoid hard work,” Hamilton writes. For many riders, the opposite was true:

EPO granted the ability to suffer more; to push yourself farther and harder than you’d ever imagined, in both training and racing. It rewarded precisely what I was good at: having a great work ethic, pushing myself to the limit and past it. I began to see races differently. They weren’t rolls of the genetic dice, or who happened to be on form that day. They didn’t depend on who you were. They depended on what you did—how hard you worked, how attentive and professional you were in your preparation.

It is a vision of sports in which the object of competition is to use science, intelligence, and sheer will to conquer natural difference. Hamilton and Armstrong may simply be athletes who regard this kind of achievement as worthier than the gold medals of a man with the dumb luck to be born with a random genetic mutation.
doping  advocacy 
15 days ago by dandv
Whistleblowers Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov describe Russia's sports doping system - World - CBC News
The whistleblowers who exposed Russia's doping system in track and field tell their story to The National's Adrienne Arsenault.
Russia  olympics  doping 
8 weeks ago by schneid3306
Doping der DDR - mein Weg aus dieser Opferfalle -
„Doping in der DDR gab es doch nur bei Spitzensportlern!“ Das habe ich gedacht, als ich die Berichte in den 90er Jahren sah. Das betrifft mich doch nicht. Leider weiß ich heute, dass das nicht stimmt. Doping gab es auf allen Ebenen und auch ich wurde zum Opfer.
10 weeks ago by fwhamm
Chris Froome Just Killed Pro Cycling | Outside Online
We’re told that the sport has cleaned itself up and cheating is a thing of the past. Yet with the world’s top racer pushing the limits of fair play, it's sure hard to believe that.
ChrisFroome  cycling  doping  review  critique  OutsideOnline  2017 
december 2017 by inspiral
Russen außer Kontrolle - F.A.Z. PLUS
RT : Number of out-of-competition tests for majority of football squad between Jan and Oct: 0 #
doping  Russia  Fifa  from twitter
november 2017 by toco
Paula Radcliffe: Pressure to release blood data 'almost abuse' - BBC Sport
Paula Radcliffe says she "is clean" and will "not be forced" to release her data after being implicated in blood doping.
sports-data  sports  personal-data  quantified-self  doping 
october 2017 by jackhardinges

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