As pointed out in Tom Kirkendall's Weblog Houston's Clear Thinkers Mark Sisson, an athlete very much involved with the regulation of drug-testing in sports, has written a letter to Art DeVany on the subject. Sisson on Steroids .
Although the ideas are interesting to consider, there are a number of problems.
This is a difficult subject to discuss, not only because of the high emotional state it generates, but because of the ‘shadowy’ nature of the entire network of athletes, trainers, and drug dealers.
In other words it is difficult to regulate and test for banned substance. The author points out the minuscule amounts of drugs or the nature of the T/E ratio. Refers to anomalies and other exceptions to the testing ‘rules’.
Answer: Pharmacists and pharmacologists believe that testing is pretty good in terms of detecting substances. However it takes expertise to interpret the tests. These are the same tests with the same reliability we use in medicine every day, and we are expected to analyze the data and render a verdict (diagnosis).
I am not impressed with exceptions to the rule stated in the letter. Clearly some allowances can be made for one with a genetic anomaly that distorts the test. However, in the majority of cases I have to believe the tests are accurate and diagnostic. Because it is difficult to enforce a rule is no reason to retreat on an ethical issue.
I don’t quite understand the argument here.
The playing field is never quite equal. All athletes have varying genetic traits, and varying access to training resources. That is one of the challenges of sport – use of clever strategies to offset disadvantages.
3. Sisson: "The performance requirements set by the federations at the elite level of sport almost demand access to certain “banned substances” in order to assure the health and vitality of the athlete throughout his or her career and – more importantly – into his or her life after competition".
The demands of the sport ‘require’ the use of PED.
Nonetheless I understand the point. There are so many basketball games per season or so many football games these days, and the demands so high, that a tremendous toll is taken in the athlete’s body. Thus the author is saying that pharmacological means are demanding by the rigor of the sport.
I have any number of friends who are slowly destroying their bodies with work – pipe laying, carpentry, roofing etc. Thus, athletes whom seem to think they are particularly unique in this aspect appear sheltered. My pipe-laying friend isn’t getting 10 million a year to deteriorate his joints.
There will certainly be no way to restrict a compulsive athlete from over-training. However, if steroids are used to compensate the catabolic state, then this is cheating. The athletes must learn the signs of over-training, and when to avoid it, rather than expecting some illegal substances to help them recover from catabolic training.
Futhermore, if the problem is too many games, or too many demands, then the athletes and management must resolve the issue. All those games enhance revenue, as well as enhance the athlete's paycheck.
The author later goes to the ‘entertainment excuse’. Sports are now entertainment, and entertainment is often a freak show. So why not promote freaks? This line of reasoning leads us down the slippery slope to equating all sport with professional wrestling – an entertainment. How far from the ideals of sport promoted in Olympic and quasi-Olympic charters is the slick bloated entertainment of professional wrestling (with annabolic enhanced males and silicon enhanced females)?